Quinoa and Barley Salad and Chicken Piccata

IMG_4835I love to try new recipes and for dinner I was feeling adventurous.  I wasn’t feeling like regular rice, so I found a recipe for Barley and Quinoa salad on the Canadian Living website.  There were a few adjustments because of what we had in the fridge at the time.  The salad would be delicious with a few cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini and onion.  Jonathan also mentioned that it would be good as a warm salad with roasted vegetables.  To go with this summer salad I made chicken piccata with the recipe from Giada DeLaurentiis.  The lemony chicken with capers was the perfect pairing for a summer meal.

If you are wondering why the quinoa looks slightly darker, it’s because it’s black quinoa that my sister Laura bought for me.  At the bridal shower part of the gift was to share a favourite recipe and bring an ingredient that goes into making the recipe.  So, Laura, knowing that I love new ingredients found black quinoa.  It was delicious!  If it is possible – it seemed healthier than regular quinoa.  I would definitely make this recipe again for a barbecue.  It is an alternative to one of my weaknesses – pasta salad!  Jonathan teases me about my love for pasta, but he also allows it to go on the menu quite frequently!

Quinoa and Barley Salad with Chicken Piccata and peas

Quinoa and Barley Summer Salad


  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) barley
  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) each finely diced carrot and sweet red pepper (could add zucchini, cucumber, and celery)
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) each fresh mint (3-4 leaves, torn)
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried thyme (or fresh if you have it)


  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garlic chili sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper


In saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) water and half of the salt to boil; add barley. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about
40 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, in separate saucepan, bring 1 cup (250 mL) water and remaining salt to boil; add quinoa. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes; let cool.

Meanwhile, chop carrots, red pepper and other veggies you might like to add.

VINAIGRETTE: In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic sauce, mustard, salt and pepper; set aside.

In large bowl, combine barley, quinoa, vegetable mixture, mint and thyme; pour dressing over top and toss to coat. Refrigerate to cool and allow flavours to be enhanced.  Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Chicken Piccata


2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, cut in half

Sea salt and black pepper

All-Purpose Flour for dredging

6 tablespoons butter

5 tablespoons olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

½ cup chicken stock

¼ cup brined capers, rinsed


  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour and shake off the excess.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter and 3 tbsp olive oil.  When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes.  When chicken is nicely golden, flip and cook on the other side for 3 minutes.  Remove chicken from skillet and place on a plate.  Cook the rest of the chicken in the same way.
  3. Add lemon juice, chicken stock and capers to the pan.  Stir well and put pan back on element.  Put the chicken in the mixture and cook for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Add extra sauce over chicken when serving.