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Barley Salad with Vegetables

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.

We also love bright, bold and stunning salads a whole lot in my house. Quick Orzo Pasta Salad, Wild Rice Pilaf Salad or Black Beans and Corn Salad are our family favorites.

An image with text overlay for vegan barley salad with vegetables tossed with homemade maple dijon vinaigreete

Is barley good for you ?

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.

Filling Vegan 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.

A close up image showing wholegrain barley and colorful veggies tossed with salad dressing.

Ingredients :

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!

Ingredients used in making this delicious grain salad.

How to make the 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.

Four ingredients used in homemade maple Dijon vinaigrette.

Salad Variations

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 changeAvocado Cilantro Lime Dressing or Creamy Ranch will work great.

Veggie change – 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

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.

Process shot showing all the salad ingredients together before the dressing is added.

Cooking 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.

Cooking 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.

Cooking 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 !

A hand pouring the salad dressing over the barley vegetable salad.

Should I Bulk cook barley

Cooked barley freezes well and keeps it texture well while defrosting.

So make a big batch. Let it cool down. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or ziplock and freeze it. That way, you have it handy for quick meals.

Serving Suggestions

This salad keeps well if you prep it ahead of time, so make it for a healthy lunch or dinner.

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 Hearty Salads

Best Barley Salad Recipe tips

  • 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.

Two salad bowls filled with grain based barley salad with vegetables. Maple Dijon Mustard salad dressing is on the side.

Is this Barley Salad vegan?

Yes. This recipe as written is vegan.

Is this Barley Salad with vegetables gluten-free ?

No. Barley is not a gluten free grain. SO this salad is not suitable if you are following a gluten free diet.

A close up image showing wholegrain barley and colorful veggies tossed with salad dressing.

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Two salad bowls filled with grain based barley salad with vegetables. Maple Dijon Mustard salad dressing is on the side.

Barley Salad with Vegetables

Yield: 6 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Learn to make Vegan Barley Salad with this easy recipe. A delicious grain based barley salad is made with colorful healthy vegetables, capers and walnuts. Homemade dijon maple vinaigrette makes it super flavorful.

Ingredients

to make Dijon Maple Vinaigrette

Instructions

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.

Notes

Cooking Pearled 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.

Making Pearled Barley In Instant Pot

Put 1 cup of pearled 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 !

Homemade Salad Dressing :

I use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil, grainy Dijon mustard, pungent red wine vinegar and pure maple syrup to balance the acidity. Add a dusting of salt and pepper.

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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 128Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 463mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 3g

Nutritional values are provided as a courtesy and the values are approximate. The values will change depending on the exact ingredients, measurements and brands used. As always, for specific health issues and dietary requirements please consult medical professional.

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