Affordable Lunches is a series that features nutritious and cost effective recipes to make at home. Want more? Check out the full list here.

At less than $2 per serving, this sweet and savory grain salad is a winner.

The stars of this salad are the lentils and barley, two budget-friendly ingredients that bring considerable nutritional value to the table.

Lentils are made up of 25 percent protein and are an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins, zinc, and potassium.

Like lentils, barley is also rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.

Meanwhile, pomegranate and apple not only add sweetness to this salad, but a punch of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory benefits.

You can also feel free to experiment with whatever grains you have on hand. Here are some of our favorites.

Lentil and Barley Salad with Pomegranate and Feta Recipe

Servings: 4

Cost per serving: $1.86

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry green lentils
  • 1/2 cup dry pearled barley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 cup shredded radicchio or red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Combine the lentils and barley with 5 cups of water, 2 cloves of garlic, and sea salt. Bring to a boil and then cover. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the lentils and barley are done (this takes about 25 minutes).
  2. Drain, discard garlic cloves, and set aside to cool.
  3. Make the dressing by combining the shallot, Dijon mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper (to taste) in a mason jar. Shake vigorously until emulsified and combined.
  4. Assemble the salad. Combine the cooled barley and lentils with the pomegranate, feta, radicchio, parsley, apple, and almonds.
  5. Dress with the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly to combine.
  6. Serve cold or at room temperature.
Pro tip Make this dish dairy-free and replace the feta with olives to keep that tangy flavor.

Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she’s not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.