Helen’s vegan salad with pepitas and sunflower seeds

Google: “Barley is a very healthy grain and an excellent source of dietary fiber. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals and other beneficial plant compounds. It’s also high in fiber, which is responsible for most of its health benefits, ranging from a better digestion to reduced hunger, weight loss and helping people avoid problems such as constipation.””.

“A 2010 analysis of clinical trials found that barley may reduce the level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the blood. While the results varied depending on the participant’s overall health and the doses and quality of barley used, the author’s concluded that eating or drinking barley products can be considered part of a plan to reduce total and LDL cholesterol”.

Quinoa, rich in fiber, minerals, antioxidants and all nine essential amino acids is one of the healthiest and most nutritious foods on the planet. It may improve your blood sugar and cholesterol levels and even aid weight loss”.

Sunflower seeds are high in protein and rich in healthy fats, as well as antioxidants that can lower your risk of developing serious conditions. It’s also an excellent source of: Vitamin E. The healthy fats in sunflower seeds are good for you, but they may still increase your waistline if you overindulge”.

I am neither vegetarian nor vegan. Today, I have explored and create my own vegan version with barley, coriander, quinoa, homegrown mint leaves and use canned lentil with sundried capsicum and medley tomatoes.

The taste is flavourful, with texture from pepitas and sunflower seeds that you can crunch and munch good exercise for your jaw and delicious. Let’s cook!!!


110 g pearl barley
35 g quinoa, rinsed
210 g can lentils, rinsed, drained
30g pepitas
30 g sunflower seeds
1/2 bunch chopped fresh coriander, plus extra leaves, to serve
1/2 bunch chopped fresh mint, plus extra leaves, to serve
120 g sundried capsicums
100 g medley tomatoes
100 g rocket or arugula


80 ml virgin olive oil
30 ml lemon juice
2 Tbs sugar cane molasses or dark brown sugar
2 Tsp chili flakes
1 Tsp coriander powder
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 Tsp ginger powder
1/2 Tsp cumin powder
20 g craisins
black pepper


Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add pearl barley and cook for 20 minutes. Then quinoa and cook for a further 15 minutes or until both barley and quinoa are tender. Drain and rinse under cold running water. Transfer to a bowl. Next microwave lentils for 1 minutes and stir to combine.

Meanwhile, make the dressing, beat together oil, lemon juice, molasses, chili flakes, coriander and cumin in a jug. Season well with salt and pepper. Stir in craisins and set aside to infuse the flavours.

Toss sunflower seeds in a small frying pan on medium heat till lightly brown about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add sunflower seeds and dressing to the barley mixture. Toss to combine. Taste seasoning is ok. Add the coriander, mint, rocket and mix well. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle with some oil from sundried capsicums and extra coriander and mint leaves. Serve it as main meal with a glass of white wine. Enjoy my vegan salad!!!

Note: You can use couscous, chickpeas, white beans, black beans and any salad. You can use parsley or spring onion or sage.




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