Barley Salad Recipe (A Delightful Fusion Of Taste)

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

This homemade Barley Salad Recipe is a refreshing and nutritious dish. It’s important to note that barley, rich in fiber, pairs with crisp, fresh vegetables. Be aware of the delightful tang of lemon vinaigrette, which enhances the flavors. This salad is one of the best options for a healthy, satisfying meal.

Have you ever felt stuck in a salad rut, repeating the same recipes? I was there until my journey through Middle-Eastern and European cuisines inspired a change. On a sunny afternoon in Greece, a quaint local restaurant served a revelation dish: Barley Salad Recipe

Barley Salad Recipe

The chewy grains and vibrant vegetables were a delightful contrast to my usual choices. It wasn’t just a meal but a journey in a bowl, reminiscent of the flavors and textures I’d experienced across continents. 

Back home, I recreated this barley salad, tweaking it to perfection. It’s a great option when you’re looking for something hearty yet light, satisfying the whole family. 

Even my kids, usually hesitant about new dishes, asked for seconds! This salad brings a piece of my travels to our dinner table, offering a nutritious, flavorful escape from the ordinary. 

Let me share how you can bring this culinary delight into your home, transforming your meals into a globetrotting experience.

What Is Barley Salad?

Barley Salad is a nutritious and flavorful dish, showcasing the versatility of barley, a wholesome grain. It combines cooked barley with a medley of fresh vegetables, herbs, and often includes a zesty dressing

The salad is known for its delightful mix of textures, with the chewy bite of barley contrasting with the crispness of veggies like cucumber, tomatoes, and bell peppers. 

It’s an excellent option for a filling yet light meal, ideal for health-conscious individuals. One of the best aspects of Barley Salad is its adaptability; it is easily customizable with your favorite ingredients and dressings.

What Is The Origin Of Barley Salad Recipe?

The origin of the Barley Salad recipe is rooted in ancient culinary traditions, with barley being one of the earliest grains cultivated by humans. 

This grain was a staple in various ancient civilizations, notably in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. 

Over time, these cultures developed dishes utilizing barley for its nutritional value and availability. 

Mixing barley with fresh ingredients likely evolved as a practical, wholesome way to prepare meals. 

Modern Barley Salad, as we know it, is a fusion of these ancient practices with contemporary culinary trends, embracing fresh produce and diverse flavors. 

This dish reflects a blend of historical nourishment and modern taste preferences, making it a timeless meal choice.

Barley Salad Recipe

Ingredients List

Pearl barley1 cup
Water3 cups
Salt½ teaspoon
Grape tomatoes1 cup (halved)
Cucumber1 cup (diced)
Bell pepper1 (diced, any color)
Red onion¼ cup (diced)
Kalamata olives or black olives⅓ cup
Feta cheese¼ cup
Greek salad dressing or Italian dressing1 cup
Fresh parsleyFor garnish

What Are The Variations Suitable For The Barley Salad Recipe?

Explore different variations to enhance your Barley Salad recipe:

Protein Additions

Grilled chicken, tofu, or chickpeas offer a protein boost, making the salad a more filling meal.

Different Grains

Quinoa or brown rice can be great alternatives to barley for a different texture or to cater to gluten-free needs.

Cheese Varieties

Swap feta for goat cheese or shaved parmesan for a change in flavor.

Nutty Crunch

Adding toasted almonds or walnuts provides a delightful crunch.


Experiment with lemon vinaigrette or a balsamic glaze instead of Greek or Italian dressing.

Herb Refresh

Mint or basil can offer a fresh, aromatic twist.

What Are The Tips For The Barley Salad Recipe? 

  • Cooking Barley: Ensure the barley is well-cooked but still chewy. Overcooking can make it too soft.
  • Cooling Barley: Before mixing with other ingredients, cool the barley to maintain texture and avoid wilting the vegetables.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh, high-quality vegetables for crispness and flavor.
  • Dressing Application: Dress the salad just before serving to keep it vibrant and fresh.
  • Balance Flavors: Taste as you go, adjusting seasonings to balance the tangy, salty, and fresh flavors.
  • Herb Usage: Fresh herbs like parsley add color and flavor.
  • Storage: If storing, keep the dressing separate to maintain freshness.
  • Customization: Don’t hesitate to tweak ingredients based on personal preference or dietary needs.

Are There Any Unusual Or Exotic Ingredients That Work Well With Barley Salad Recipe?

  • Dried Fruit: Consider adding dried apricots or cranberries for a sweet, chewy contrast.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds can add an exotic crunch.
  • International Cheeses: Try using halloumi or manchego instead of feta for a different cheese profile.
  • Ancient Grains: Mix in some farro or freekeh with the barley for a diverse grain texture.
  • Exotic Spices: A pinch of sumac or za’atar can introduce a Middle-Eastern twist.
  • Pickled Vegetables: Adding pickled radish or capers can lend a tangy flavor.
  • Edible Flowers: Garnish with edible flowers like nasturtiums for a visually striking and subtly flavorful addition.
  • Seafood: Consider topping with grilled octopus or shrimp for a Mediterranean feel.
Bowl and Spoon

Recipe Directions

  • Boil Water: Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot.
  • Cook Barley: Add the barley, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes or until the barley is tender. After cooking, drain any remaining liquid and allow the barley to cool completely.
  • Prepare Vegetables: While the barley is cooking, chop the vegetables – cucumber, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion – and place them in a large bowl.
  • Combine Ingredients: Add the cooled barley to the bowl with the chopped vegetables. Pour the Greek or Italian dressing over the mixture.
  • Toss Salad: Toss the salad well to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle feta cheese and fresh parsley over the salad for garnish.
  • Chill: Refrigerate the salad for 1 hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Balancing taste and nutrition is the key to creating a perfect barley salad recipe.

What Herbs And Spices Work Well In Barley Salad Recipe?

  • Parsley: Fresh parsley offers a bright, clean taste.
  • Mint: Adds a refreshing, cool flavor, great in summer salads.
  • Basil: Sweet and slightly peppery, basil pairs well with Mediterranean ingredients.
  • Dill: Its feathery fronds contribute a delicate, grassy note.
  • Cilantro: For a more zesty, citrusy undertone.
  • Chives: Mild onion-like flavor that compliments other ingredients.
  • Sumac: Adds a tangy, lemony touch, typical in Middle Eastern cuisine.
  • Cumin: A pinch can introduce a warm, earthy essence.
  • Crushed Red Pepper: For a hint of heat.
  • Thyme: Offers a subtle, slightly minty flavor.

Nutritional Values

The Barley Salad is a nutritional powerhouse. Thanks to the barley, it’s rich in fiber, aiding digestion and heart health. 

Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers contribute essential vitamins and antioxidants, promoting overall wellness. 

Feta cheese adds calcium and protein, while the olive-based dressing offers healthy fats. This balanced salad provides a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and various micronutrients.

What Are The Total Calories In The Salad?

The total calorie count in the Barley Salad can vary based on specific ingredients and portion sizes. 

However, a typical serving, considering the ingredients listed (pearl barley, vegetables, feta cheese, and dressing), is estimated to contain approximately 200-300 calories. 

This calculation factors in the energy provided by the grains, the vegetables’ lightness, the cheese’s density, and the type of dressing used. It’s a nutritious option, offering a balanced blend of calories from various food groups.

Health Benefits Of The Barley Salad

Barley Salad offers several health benefits:


Packed with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and iron.


High fiber content promotes digestive health and aids in weight management.

Low Fat

Minimal saturated fat, supporting heart health.

Complex Carbs

Provides sustained energy due to its complex carbohydrates.


Contains plant-based protein for muscle maintenance and growth.


Rich in antioxidants, reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Blood Sugar Control

The fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels.


Its filling nature can curb overeating and support weight loss.


Adaptable to various dietary preferences and tastes.

Nutrition Table

Nutrition Table

 What Dressings Are Best Served With Barley Salad Recipe?

  • Greek Vinaigrette: A classic choice, combining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano for a Mediterranean flair.
  • Italian Dressing: Offers a balance of tangy and herby flavors, perfect for complementing the salad’s ingredients.
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette: Adds a sweet and tangy twist, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Lemon Tahini Dressing: For a creamy, nutty flavor that pairs well with barley’s texture.
  • Honey Mustard Dressing: A mix of sweet and sharp notes, ideal for a more robust flavor profile.
  • Herb Infused Olive Oil: Simple yet flavorful, especially with fresh herbs like basil or thyme.
  • Yogurt Dill Dressing: Offers a creamy, tangy taste with a hint of freshness from dill.
Barley Salad Recipe

Make your mealtime delicious and nutritious with a tasty barley salad recipe.

Are There Any Unique Toppings That Can Elevate The Crunch Factor OF Barley Salad?

  • Toasted Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts, lightly toasted, add a delightful nutty crunch.
  • Seeds: Pumpkin, sunflower, or sesame seeds provide a subtle crunch and nutritional boost.
  • Croutons: Homemade or store-bought, they add a classic, crispy texture.
  • Pomegranate Seeds: Offer a juicy crunch and a burst of tartness.
  • Fried Shallots or Onions: These bring a savory crunch and a hint of sweetness.
  • Roasted Chickpeas: Spiced and roasted chickpeas add a crunchy, protein-packed twist.
  • Snap Peas: Thinly sliced for a fresh, snappy addition.
  • Radishes: Sliced or diced, they contribute a peppery crunch.
Barley Salad Recipe

What Is The Difference Between Homemade And Store-Bought Barley Salad Recipe?

  • Freshness: Homemade salads typically feature fresher ingredients, particularly vegetables and herbs, compared to store-bought versions.
  • Customization: When making it at home, you can tailor the ingredients, dressings, and seasonings to your taste.
  • Nutritional Control: Homemade salads allow you to control the amount of salt, sugar, and fats, making it a healthier option.
  • Flavor Depth: The flavors in homemade salads are often more vibrant and can be adjusted as you prepare the dish.
  • No Preservatives: Store-bought salads may contain preservatives and additives to extend shelf life, which are absent in homemade versions.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Preparing the salad at home is typically more cost-effective than buying a pre-made one.
  • Portion Sizes: Homemade preparation allows you to make the exact amount you need, reducing waste.
  • Texture: The texture of homemade salads is usually better, as they don’t suffer from the sogginess that can occur in packaged salads.

How Can You Store Or Preserve The Barley Salad Recipe Leftovers?

  • Airtight Container: Store in an airtight container to keep the salad fresh and prevent drying out.
  • Refrigeration: Refrigerate immediately; it typically lasts 3-5 days in the fridge.
  • Separate Dressing: Store the dressing separately and add it just before serving to avoid sogginess.
  • Avoid Freezing: Freezing is not recommended as it can significantly alter the texture of the ingredients.
  • Keep Herbs Fresh: Store any fresh herbs separately or add them fresh when ready to serve again.
  • Check Before Eating: Always check for freshness before consuming leftovers, especially if stored for a few days.
 Salad Recipe

Special Tools & Equipment List

  • Large Pot: For cooking the barley, preferably with a lid to simmer.
  • Strainer: To drain the barley after cooking.
  • Mixing Bowls: Large bowls for combining the barley with other ingredients.
  • Chopping Board: Essential for prepping the vegetables.
  • Sharp Knives: To chop or dice vegetables and herbs neatly.
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons: For precise ingredient measurements.
  • Salad Spinner: Useful for drying the washed vegetables and herbs.
  • Serving Bowl: To present the salad attractively.
  • Whisk or Fork: For mixing the dressing thoroughly.
  • Vegetable Peeler: If any vegetables require peeling.
  • Tongs or Salad Servers: For mixing and serving the salad.
  • Lemon Juicer: If using fresh lemon juice in the dressing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Different Type Of Barley For This Salad?

Yes, you can use different types of barley, such as hulled barley, pearl barley, or quick-cooking barley. Pearl barley is most commonly used due to its quicker cooking time and softer texture.

While more nutritious, Hulled barley takes longer to cook and has a chewier texture. Quick-cooking barley is an excellent option for saving time.

Is Barley Salad Suitable For A Gluten-Free Diet?

No, barley contains gluten, so it’s not suitable for those on a gluten-free diet. However, you can substitute barley with gluten-free grains like quinoa or brown rice to make a similar salad.

How Can I Make This Salad Vegan?

To make the Barley Salad vegan, simply omit the feta cheese or replace it with a vegan cheese alternative. Also, ensure the dressing you choose is vegan. Many store-bought dressings are vegan, but it’s always best to check the label.

Can The Salad Be Made In Advance?

Yes, you can make Barley Salad in advance. It’s a great option for meal prep as the flavors meld and improve over time. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Add the dressing and herbs closer to serving time to maintain freshness if possible.

How Long Can I Store The Leftover Salad?

Leftover Barley Salad can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Keep it in an airtight container to maintain freshness. If it contains dairy products like feta cheese, ensure it’s not left out at room temperature for too long.

Barley Salad Recipe (A Delightful Fusion Of Taste)

Barley Salad Recipe (A Delightful Fusion Of Taste)

0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Lana Rivera Course: Salads

4 – 6

Prep time


Cooking time



200 – 300


This Barley Salad is a delightful fusion of chewy barley and crisp, fresh vegetables in a tangy vinaigrette. It’s a nutritious, colorful dish perfect for any occasion, whether as a light lunch, a side dish, or a healthy addition to your dinner table. The combination of flavors and textures makes this salad satisfying and enjoyable.


  • 1 Cup 1 Pearl Barley

  • 3 Cups 3 Water

  • ½ Teaspoon ½ Salt

  • 1 Cup 1 Grape Tomatoes

  • 1 Cup 1 Cucumber

  • Bell Pepper (Diced, Any Color)

  • ¼ Cup ¼ Red Onion

  • Cup Kalamata Olives Or Black Olives

  • ¼ Cup ¼ Feta Cheese

  • 1 Cup 1 Greek Salad Dressing Or Italian Dressing

  • Fresh Parsley (For garnish)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Boil Water: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Cook Barley: Once the water is boiling, add the barley. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Let the barley cook for about 25 minutes or until it’s tender to your liking.
  • Drain Barley: After the barley is cooked, drain any excess liquid. Spread the barley on a tray or large plate to cool it down completely. This step is crucial to prevent the salad from becoming soggy.
  • Chop Vegetables: While the barley is cooking and cooling, chop your vegetables — cucumbers, grape tomatoes, bell pepper, and red onion.
  • Combine Ingredients: Place the chopped vegetables in a large bowl. Once the barley has cooled, add it to the bowl with the vegetables.
  • Add Dressing: Pour your salad dressing over the barley and vegetable mixture. This could be Greek, Italian, or any dressing you prefer.
  • Toss Salad: Toss everything together thoroughly, ensuring the salad is well coated with the dressing.
  • Garnish: Sprinkle feta cheese and fresh parsley over the salad for garnish.
  • Chill Salad: Place the salad in the refrigerator and let it chill for about 1 hour. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • Serve: After chilling, give the salad one last quick toss, and it’s ready to be served.

Recipe Video


  • Barley Preparation: Rinse barley before cooking to remove any dust or debris.
  • Vegetable Choices: Feel free to substitute with your favorite vegetables or whatever is in season.
  • Make-Ahead: This salad can be made ahead of time, making it an excellent option for busy days or meal prep.
  • Dressing Options: Experiment with different dressings to find your preferred flavor profile.
  • Dietary Adjustments: Easily adaptable for vegan or gluten-free diets (use gluten-free grains instead of barley).
  • Serving Suggestion: Serve chilled for the best flavor experience.

Coronation Chicken Salad Recipe

Coronation Chicken Salad Recipe combines tender chicken with creamy curry sauce, sultanas, and almonds.

Coronation Chicken Salad Recipe

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad Recipe 

Did you know that Broccoli Cauliflower Salad Recipe is one of the simplest yet most delightful dishes? 

Broccoli Cauliflower Salad Recipe

Kardashian Salad Recipe

Indulge in the Kardashian Salad Recipe , a vibrant, health-packed delight.

Kardashian Salad Recipe

 Grinder Salad Recipe 

This unique Grinder Salad Recipe is an excellent option for a refreshing twist.

 Grinder Salad Recipe 

Leave a Comment

Author picture

soup chick!

You've entered a realm where each bowl isn't just a meal; it's an expedition to the core of comfort, well-being, and the sheer delight of feeding both body and soul. My name is Julia, and I'm here to navigate you through the flavorful worlds of Soup Chick. Together, we'll uncover the artistry behind each recipe, share stories that warm the heart, and celebrate the simple pleasures of making and enjoying soup.

More About Me