27 May 2011

Cold Barley Salad

Hurray! It's grilling and picnic season. Here in the States, summertime's official kick-off is the Memorial Day weekend. This is the time for the first of the family backyard barbeques, packed coolers headed for the lake or seaside, cold salads and grilled meats making a big splash at parties. Yup ... winter is conquered for another year!

I made salad for dinner this evening - a cold barley salad that has a light mustard vinaigrette and a tossing of fresh peppers, corn, onion, and herbs. It's easy, it's higher in fiber than a regular pasta salad, and it's a light side to a plate of kebabs or grilled chicken or steaks. Very versatile little dish ... a perfect healthy side for your backyard party! Enjoy!

Cold Barley Salad - printer friendly

Cold Barley Salad


1 c. pearl barley
15 oz. vegetable or chicken broth
1 ⅓ water
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c. combined red and green pepper, tiny dice
½ c. red onion, tiny dice
½ c. steamed corn, drained and cooled
¼ c. chopped dill
¼ c. chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper, to taste

Making the Dish:

1. Combine the barley, broth, and water in a heavy saucepan. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Tilt the top of the pan to allow steam to escape and simmer until the barley is smooth, slippery, and al dente. Stir now and then to keep the barley from sticking to the pot. Not all the fluid will be absorbed.

2. Using a hand blender, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

3. Chop the remaining ingredients and toss them in the vinaigrette.

4. When the barley tastes right, take it off the heat, pour cold water into the pan and stir the barley around. Drain and rinse with cold water to chill it and stop all cooking. Toss the barley in a sieve or colander to get any excess water out of it.

5. Toss the barley with the veggies and dressing until well-incorporated.

6. Turn into a pretty bowl and garnish with whatever you have on hand.

7. Cover and chill thoroughly before serving.


  1. Mmm, this looks delicious, and I think I have all of the ingredients! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  2. Susan, I've never eaten barley. Seriously. How lame is that? It looks incredibly healthy, I'd have to serve a burger with it for my husband to eat it, lol! Enjoy your long weekend!!

  3. I have only had barley cooked in soups but boy does this cold salad looks delicious. We do a lot of orzo salad in the summer and this is definitely healthier.

  4. Lovely recipe, that sounds delicious and perfect for a picnic :) We have a bank holiday coming up, so I think it's sort of the equivalent. Have a good weekend!

  5. What an incredible recipe and that too with helthful barley that for a moment reminded me of Israeli couscous. Fantastic colors Susan and lovely flavors :)

    I wish you could send over a vase of lilacs for me as well :) Mom-in-law arrives tommorrow and that would really impress her!!!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  6. It looks like a perfect side dish to any summer meal. So healthy yet so flavorful and colorful. Yum.

  7. Love how colorful this is. Looks great for summer :)


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