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Quick and Healthy Lunch Options: Barley salad with BBQ Cottage Cheese

Pearl Barley salad with BBQ spiced cottage cheese

With so many meals being cooked at home in the last two years of quarantine, it can be pretty challenging to keep coming up with exciting meal ideas. I mean, how many ways can you cook rice? Healthy meal options that are not too heavy on the tummy can be difficult to plan when you don’t have access to exotic ingredients.

This last year, I’ve been adding more variety to the things we eat. Barley has been an excellent substitute for our regular rice and wheat grains. It is light on the stomach, nutrient-packed, and is versatile. 

Try out this healthy lunch option with pearl barley. It uses readily available ingredients, or you can make them ahead and store them.


Makes 2 servings

  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ¼ cup chopped carrots
  • 1 small chopped tomato
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • Small bunch of chopped coriander
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts
  • 400 gm Cottage cheese (paneer) cut in strips
  • 2 tbsp BBQ spice rub  
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste


  1. Soak the barley in water for an hour, then cook till soft. Drain the water.
  2. Add a little oil and water (about half a tablespoon each). This will help it cover the paneer pieces evenly. 
  3. Coat the paneer pieces with the BBQ spice rub. 
  4. On a hot pan, add some oil. Once it’s hot, cook the paneer slices on all sides.
  5. Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the cooked barley. Add salt to taste.
  6. Top with the cooked paneer slices and serve.
  7. You can replace the paneer with any other protein of your choice. You can also use any other spice rub, like a simple salt and turmeric, for seasoning your protein.

*Make your own BBQ Spice Rub

Try this spice rub from Tasty. Mix all ingredients and store this BBQ spice rub in an air-tight container. Use as desired.

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chilli powder 
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Note: Some links are part of an affiliate program, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I might receive a percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you. 


  1. Pingback: Easy Healthy Lunch Ideas: Millet with Veggies and Cheese | Love, Life, & Beyond

  2. Pingback: Easy Healthy Meal Ideas: Vegan Mushrooms with Amaranth | Love, Life, & Beyond

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