Barley salad with herbs and lemon

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I used to think of barley as a winter staple, in warm stews with mushrooms and carrots, or as a nice sticky “risotto”… When it cools down, barley becomes a gluey mush and therefore it never occurred to me to use it in a salad.

Until I recently stumbled upon a recipe that called for cooking the barley in a lot of water like pasta in order to remove the sticky starch. I decided to give it a try and that was a revelation!

Here is my version of a delicious barley salad that is bright with lemon flavor and has a tender chewiness that will leave you craving for more.

Feel free to use whatever fresh herbs you have on hand. This is what I happened to have that day and it turned out perfect! Give it a try!

Barley salad with herbs and lemon

A hearty salad that combines the chewy earthiness of barley with a bright lemon flavor and a bit of crunch from carrots. Barley's health benefits extend beyond winter soups and stews… Fiber, potassium, folate, all in a bowl of fresh deliciousness!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer / Hors D’Oeuvre, Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: barley, carrot, herbs, lemon
Servings: 4
Author: Veronique Eichler



  • Place 6 quarts of water in a large pot, add barley and 1 tbsp salt. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce and cook for 25 to 45 minutes (follow instructions on barley package as cooking times can vary per brand).
  • While barley cooks, grate the zest of the lemon over a large bowl.
  • Add the juice of the lemon
  • Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and 3 tbsp olive oil. Whisk gently.
  • Add 1/4 cup chopped red onion and set aside.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Once barley is cooked, drain it thoroughly and spread it into the baking sheet to let it cool down.
  • Slice scallions, chop parsley, cilantro or any other herb you want to use.
  • Slice carrots very thin.
  • Add cooled barley to the dressing in the bowl, stir gently.
  • Add scallions, herbs and carrots, a pinch of salt and pepper and mix throughly.
  • Serve cold or at room temperature.



You can add a can of cooked beans to make this a complete meal (cannellini or chickpeas would work very well).
Will keep a few days in the refrigerator.


Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1720IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg
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