Summer barley salad

A friend and reader recently asked me if I had a barley salad recipe for her barley-loving young daughter. I didn't. In fact, I had never even cooked with barley before. The request stuck with me though, so when I came across a bag of barley at the grocery store a couple days ago I decided to throw it in my shopping cart and have a go at coming up with a barley salad recipe. So, this is for little Lucy.

This salad brings together the flavours of summer with nutty barley, roasted grape tomatoes, chopped fresh mint, and peas, in a simple orange ginger vinaigrette.

Here's how I made the salad:

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch pepper
1 cup dry pot barley
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup peas, lightly cooked and cooled
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

While the oven preheated to 400 degrees (F), I tossed the tomato halves with the olive oil and pepper in a glass pie plate. I roasted them in the oven for 40 minutes, then allowed them to cool on the counter.

Meanwhile, I brought the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. The barley and salt were added to the pot, and I allowed it to simmer over low heat, covered, for 40 minutes. When it was done, I poured cold water into the pot then drained the barley using a fine mesh sieve.

In a large salad bowl, I combined the barley with the cooled tomatoes, peas, and mint and set it aside.

Here's how I made the vinaigrette:

1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of half a navel orange (approx. 1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp ground ginger

I combined the ingredients in a jar and shook it up. Easy!

To finish, I poured the vinaigrette over the salad and gave the whole thing a good toss to coat. 

I was really pleased with how this tasted. It's fresh and fruity, which (I hope) makes it kid-friendly. Plus, it's super duper healthy.

Now, just like Lucy, I'm suddenly a fan of barley!

Is barley in your pantry? What do you make with it? Which other grains regularly appear on your dinner table?


  1. Oh yum, I'm definitely going to have to try this one! I love barley and aside from in soups or stews, I love making a "risotto" with it.

  2. Thanks Amy - I'm going to try this! Lucy will love these flavours.

  3. Amy, your blog is quickly becoming my new favorite blog. I'm such a foodie and I just love reading about what you come up with in your kitchen!

    I love barley and I use it mostly in Hamburger Soup :)

  4. Risotto? Hamburger Soup? You ladies are killing me! Sounds yummy. Thanks for reading my blog :)