Salmon and Barley Bento

Spicy cajun salmon, barley and a bounty of vegetables.

I am trying to keep this week’s lunch prep to a minimum.  I see the value in meal prep, but I get bored easily and don’t like to eat the same thing everyday.  I don’t mind some similarities day to day, but cannot imagine eating broccoli or salmon with every meal, despite how much I enjoy eating them.  The beauty of bento is variety.  You can add in noodles, rice, barley etc. for your carbs and pack the bowl full of veggies, and healthy fats like avocado.  since I wanted a little spice in my life today, I added cayenne pepper to my blackened salmon seasoning.  Usually I use chili powder because it has less spice (the family cannot handle spice).

Spicy Salmon seasoning:

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Savory Bean Dressing (make and store for future salads and bento bowls):

1 can garbanzo beans (drained)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup almond meal (ground almonds)

1 cup water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 -2 cloves roasted garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Greek yogurt is a great additive as well, but not necessary. Just adds a creamy texture to the dressing. It won’t store as long in the fridge though if you add yogurt.

Bento Bowl Contents:

1 cup romaine lettuce

3 lightly steamed broccolette stems

1 roma tomato

3 slices of avocado

4 oz salmon filet

1/4 cup cooked barley

a few dill pickled red onions for some flavor flare!

Dill Pickled Red Onions (make a few hours ahead and store in fridge)

1/2 red onion

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon oil

pinch of fresh dill


Let’s cook!

Mix all your spices together for the salmon and dip the salmon into it.  fully coat both sides.  For best flavor, squeeze  a little fresh lemon juice onto the salmon before seasoning.  pre-heat your pan and coat with oil.  I use avocado oil because it allows you to cook at a high heat without burning the oil.  Place the salmon into the pan and let sit while it cooks (don’t move it!).  Halfway through the cooking process, flip to cook the other side.  I use tongs to avoid disturbing the seasoning on the under side of the fish.  Place all the remaining bento ingredients into a bowl, top with your dressing and salmon.