Barley Salad Recipe

By Marcus Samuelsson |

I often want a one-bowl meal that’s healthy and filling.  This barley salad combines whole grains with vegetables and flavorful spices. The variety of colors and textures make this salad exciting.  This salad is great served warm or at room temperature, and tastes great the next day.

Prep Details

Servings: 6-8

Prep time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour 15 mins

Total time: 1 hour 30 mins


1/2 cup pearl barley

1.2 cup black barley

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno chili

2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon za'atar

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 cup scallions, chopped, white and light green parts

Juice of 2 limes

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 cup feta cheese, diced

1 cup cucumber, finely diced

1 red onion, diced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons pitted kalamata olives,chopped

2 tablespoons mint, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Photo: Paul Brissman (

1. Rinse the pearl barley and black barley in two separate strainers under cold running water for 5 minutes. Pat dry and keep separate. Fill two separate pots with 1 quart salted water. Add the black barley to one and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Add the pear barley to the other and cook for 45 minutes, or according to directions on the package. Strain each and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, pine nuts, and jalapeno and saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and za'atar and cook until the spinach has wilted, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Combine the remaining olive oil, the pearl barley, black barley, spinach mixture, tomatoes, scallions, lime juice, parsley, feta, cucumber, onion, vinegar, olives, and mint in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.