This easy Barley salad is loaded with colorful fresh vegetables and tossed in a tangy dijon mustard maple vinaigrette. It works great as a side dish or as a complete meal.
Barley has a delightfully chewy texture and mild nutty flavor. I love cooking with barley as a satisfying wholesome grain. This one pot barley soup made in Instant Pot is one such wonderous meal.
Vegan Barley Salad
This bountiful salad is filling and healthy. And the best part ? it uses easily available fresh produce.
As with any salad, there are millions of ways to make it your liking. I am listing what I typically use. Feel free to make it to your choice.
Exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here’s a quick overview.
Cooked Barley – adds a wholesome depth of texture and body to the salad. It also makes the salad a satisfying meal. I am using bulk cooked pearled barley
Veggies – cucumber, tomato, radishes and red onion. You can use your favorite veggies.
Capers – add wonderful salty, briny and pungent bite and a whole lot of tangy flavor.
Walnuts – Adding walnuts makes it further satisfying. It adds a nice bite and heart healthy fats.
Dejon mustard vinaigrette – Bright and tangy, it ties the whole salad together!
How to Make Vinaigrette Dressing
The key to a delicious salad recipe is nailing the dressing. This maple Dijon vinaigrette is my staple dressing.
You could buy bottled dressing for convenience, however, it only takes 4 ingredients and a few minutes to whisk together a more flavorful and balanced vinaigrette.
I use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, grainy Dijon mustard, pungent red wine vinegar and pure maple syrup to balance the acidity. Dusting of salt and pepper. Done and DONE !
The key to emulsify the dressing perfectly is to slowly add olive oil while whisking. So mix all other ingredients well. Then slowly pour olive oil while you are still whisking.
Let us know in the comments how you like this simple yet ultra flavorful salad dressing / vinaigrette with clean ingredients.
Few ideas to change up the dinner salad game.
Switch the grain – instead of barley, use couscous, quinoa, wild rice or orzo type small pasta.
Dressing change – Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing or Creamy Ranch will work great.
Vegetables – add more greens, artichokes, broccoli florets or grilled zucchini, mushrooms.
Add cheese – I am keeping it on the light side but you can add parmesan, mozzarella chunk, crumble of feta or goat cheese.
How to make barley salad
Healthy, delicious barley salad is super easy to make!
Cook quick pearl barley in salted water according to the instructions below.
Chop vegetables. Whisk the dressing.
Drain and let the barley cool completely.
Place chopped vegetables, capers and walnuts in a large bowl, add barley and dressing.
Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Different Options to Cook Barley
Before you toss this salad together, you need to cook the barley. I am using quick cooking pearled barley. You can cook it on stove top or in an electric pressure cooker like Instant Pot.
How to cook barley on stove top
Bring 3 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil. Add 1 cup barley. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes or until the barley is tender. Drain any liquid and cool completely.
How to cook barley in Instant Pot
Put 1 cup of barley, 2 cups water , 1 teaspoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a stackable container ( separate from main insert) Put 1 cup of water in the main steel insert and put the trivet. Put the barley container on the trivet and close the lid with valve sealed.
Cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. After it is done cooking, wait for 5 minutes and release the pressure. Open the lid. Fluff the barley with the fork. If you notice too much liquid, drain it out using colander. Cooked barley is ready !
This salad keeps well if you prep it ahead of time, so make it for a healthy lunch or dinner.
I like to rotate the grains often. Barley is my favorite ancient grain. I also often make this Vegetable Barley Soup in Instant Pot.
It stays well without a refrigerator for a few hours, so it is perfect for passing at potlucks, picnics, road trips, BBQ and summer cookouts.
Our favorite salad recipes
- Harvest Kale Salad
- Fig Arugula Salad with maple vinaigrette
- Creamy Potato Salad
- Tomato Peach Caprese
- Beet Arugula Salad
- Green Tomato Salad
- Thai Zucchini Noodles
Pro Tips to make Best Barley Salad
- Let the barley cool down completely before adding in the salad.
- If you want to meal prep, keep the dressing separate and add before serving.
- If you are using regular tomatoes and cucumbers, discard the seeds and water as much as possible.
Is this salad vegan?
Yes. This recipe as written is vegan and diary free
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Barley is highly nutritious wholesome grain. One cup of cooked pearled barley (about 157g) has 193 calories, 3.6g of protein, 44.3g of carbohydrates, 6g of fiber. Read all the healthy benefits of eating Barley here. For this recipe I am using Quick Pearled Barley.
No. Barley is not a gluten free grain. SO this salad is not suitable if you are following a gluten free diet.
Barley freezes well. SO you can make a big batch and use it multiple times or in meal preps. Let it cool down. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or zip-lock and freeze it. That way, you have it handy for quick meals.
Barley Salad with Vegetables
- Cook barley in salted water according to the instructions below.
- Chop vegetables. Whisk the dressing.
- Drain and let the barley cool completely.
- Place chopped vegetables, capers and walnuts in a large bowl, add barley and dressing.
- Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.