Also known as "bring to a new mama" salad. Or "drop someone a hint to make for you because you're the new mama" salad.
I don't know about you, but the only time I've heard the word tryptophan it's been surrounding turkey and passing out after Thanksgiving dinner. As I was looking into the lactogenic properties of barley though, I found one of the reasons for its milk-boosting reputation is tryptophan. It turns out tryptophan is an amino acid which helps suppress dopamine and protect prolactin levels in our bodies. This, in turn, helps with breast milk production.
On a side note, I also found this study about how tryptophan levels in breast milk help babies to better regulate their sleep cycles! Pretty cool, huh?
The other amazing qualities of this salad? 1. Comes together super fast. 2. Can make ahead of time. 3. Endlessly adaptable (sub sunflower seeds for pine nuts. Sub swiss chard for kale. Sub corn for roasted red peppers... you get the idea). 4. Ridiculously delish.
If I haven't convinced you to try this salad yet, you're probably just really sleepy, which means you better eat your tryptophan. ;)
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks, Heather's Quinoa
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
3 cups cooked barley*
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cup kale, finely chopped
1/3 cup pesto
1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup roasted cherry tomatoes**
1/2 cup queso fresco (optional)
1.) Heat olive oil in large skillet and add shallot. Cook a few minutes until soft.
2.) Add barley, kale, corn and pesto. Mix to evenly distribute pesto and warm ingredients together.
3.) Transfer to a serving dish and top with pine nuts, roasted tomatoes, and queso fresco (optional). Enjoy immediately or store in fridge for a cold salad later.
*Bring 1 cup barley and 2 1/2 cups water or broth to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Makes 3-3 1/2 cups. Freeze the extra 1/2 cup for baby food! :)
**Start with about 1/2 cup raw cherry tomatoes because they'll shrink when roasted. Toss tomatoes in a splash of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking dish and cook on 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes until tomatoes are soft and collapsed.