arugula and barley bowl with avocados, almonds and lemon tahini dressing

Arugula and Barley Bowl with Avocados, Almonds and Lemon Tahini Dressing

Arugula and Barley Bowl with Avocado, Almonds and Lemon Tahini Dressing ~vegan option~

The holidays are over, which is bittersweet for me.  While the past month was a whirlwind of excitement with moving into our new house (yay!), breaking our baby news and having a two year old filled with the wonderment of Christmas, I’m ready to move into the new year!

While they were all delicious, there were too many heavy meals including boat loads of sugar and unhealthy fats.  Now we are paying the consequences!  Time to clean house and get back to nutrient rich, antioxidant abundant, fresh meals!

I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, 101 cookbooks.  This website never fails to provide the most amazing and wholesome recipes!  I changed the dressing ingredients for a dairy free alternative.  If you want to forgo the gluten, simple substitute brown rice or quinoa for the barley.

I hope you like it :)

Arugula and Barley Bowl with Avocado, Almonds and Lemon Tahini Dressing ~vegan option~

arugula and barley bowl
makes 4 servings
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Vegan
  • For the barley:
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked barley
  • For the dressing:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 4-6 cups arugula
  • 1 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ¼ cup grated romano cheese (optional)
  1. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add barley, cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed and barley is tender. Remove from heat, transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool. If in a rush to cool barley, spread evenly on a cookie sheet and place in the refrigerator.
  2. For the dressing:
  3. Whisk together evoo, water, tahini, maple syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice and minced shallot. You can whisk together by hand or in a blender. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble salads with a scoop of cooled cooked barley, arugula, toasted almonds and avocado. Add cheese if desired. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy!

 Arugula and Barley Bowl with Avocado, Almonds and Lemon Tahini Dressing ~vegan option~

Kid-Friendly Tip:  I’m a big proponent of not cooking two meals at night, one for the kids and one for the parents.  Being a short order cook and preparing whatever your kids want may lead to poor food choices, and takes up too much time!  Noah isn’t into salads (yet!), but he does love avocados and barley.  So for this meal I made him a bowl with the barley drizzled with olive oil and sea salt and a side of sliced avocados.  Then, I steamed a batch of edamame for protein, which we all shared!

pineapple guacamole

We found perfectly ripe organic avocados at our local fruit and veggie stand today, which called for making guacamole!  Adding pineapple gave this guacamole a tropical twist!

pineapple guacamole ~vegan, gluten free, raw~

Pineapple guacamole

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup crushed pineapple

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons red onion, diced

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

salt and pepper

-Mash avocados or pulse in a food processor until smooth yet lumpy!

-Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Serve with tortilla chips, flax crackers, veggie sticks or use as an addition to sandwiches in place mayonnaise!

fat 101


In the ever-changing world of nutrition fads come and go.   To prevent disease we were once taught to fear fat and choose “low-fat” or “fat-free” foods.  We took pure foods and twisted them into chemically laden fake foods for the sake of lowering the fat content.  This horribly backfired on us and caused the rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes to climb even higher.

Our society is obsessed with losing fat that we fear eating fat.  Our bodies need fat, they CRAVE fat, give them fat!  Now, I’m not talking the fat you find in a quarter pounder and fries.  I’m talking about natural fats, mostly in the form of plants.



Healthy fats are essential to the function of life.  For starters, fats protect our organs, aids in the absorption of vitamins, helps with brain development, keep us happy and decreases the risk of heart disease.  We are told to eat more “good” fat and decrease “bad” fat but what does that mean?

Good Fats:

Monounsaturated:  Found in foods such as olive oil, avocados and nuts.  Helps lower cholesterol and keeps blood sugars in check.

Polyunsaturated:  Found in foods such as fish, flax, nuts and seeds.  Contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which decrease the risk of developing elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure.


Bad Fats:

Trans fat:  “Man Made” hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.  Used in processed foods due to its long shelf life.  Found in microwave popcorn, processed crackers and packaged baked goods.  Increases the BAD cholesterol (LDL) and decreases the GOOD cholesterol (HDL).  AVOID THESE FOODS

Saturated fat:  Naturally found in foods such as butter, cheese, meat and lard.  Keep these foods to a minimum to avoid elevated cholesterol and clogged arteries.

please do not continue reading if you are offended by swearing…

i couldn't say it better

i couldn’t say it better

You’ve never heard of someone becoming unhealthy or over weight from eating too many avocados or flax seeds, have you???

Here are a few options to increase healthy fats in your day!

Blend chia seeds into smoothies

Drizzle olive oil on salads or steamed veggies

Snack on trail mix

Top an apple with almond butter

Spread avocados on a sandwich

Add flax seeds and walnuts to your morning oatmeal


For any questions on this topic or other nutritional concerns contact me at