A simple whole grain salad or pilaf made with barley, tomatoes, bell peppers and feta cheese in a simple dressing. Omit the cheese to keep it vegan and dairy-free, or, replace the feta with a baked or seasoned tofu instead. If you don't have one of the ingredients on hand, such as the olive or the bell pepper, this salad will still be delicious.
Many Greek salad recipes call for artichoke hearts (yum!), cucumbers or green onions, so feel free to add those in too; I just didn't happen to have any on hand, but that doesn't mean they don't belong!
I don't often toot my own horn, but this vegetarian barley salad was much, much more delicious than I had anticipated, so if you're on the fence about trying this barley recipe, please do - you won't regret it!
See also: Tips for cooking with barley
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
- 1/4 cup onion (red, chopped)
- 2 medium tomatoes (or 1 large tomato, chopped)
- 1/2 bell pepper (red or yellow, chopped)
- 1/2 cup feta (crumbled cheese; omit for a vegan dish)
- Optional: 1/4 cup parsley (fresh, finely chopped, or mint)
- Optional: 1/4 cup olives (kalamata, pitted, chopped)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 pinch salt (sea or kosher salt, to taste)
Bring three cups of water to a boil and add a half teaspoon of salt. Add barley, cover, and allow to simmer over medium low heat for about 40 minutes, or until barley is cooked.
Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar and gently toss with the barley to coat well.
Allow the barley to cool slightly, then add in the red onion, tomato, bell pepper, feta cheese, kalamata olives and fresh parsley or mint, and oregano.
Season well with oregano and sea salt or kosher salt, and adjust seasonings to taste.
Serve your Greek-style barley salad either chilled or at room temperature. If you're using this for a nice luncheon, it might be nice to plate it on top of a few butter lettuce or romaine lettuce leaves. Enjoy!
This barley pilaf salad recipe makes 6 servings as a side dish or side salad, and 4 servings as a main dish.
Like this barley recipe? Here's more healthy whole grain salads you might like to try: