Barley Salad RecipeThere’s nothing “plain” about barley. Check out this vibrant barley salad recipe. Photo courtesy




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July 2011

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Rice & Grains

Barley Salad Recipe

Delicious Whole Grains, Very High In Fiber




Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is one of the oldest domesticated crops. There is evidence of barley in the Nile Delta more than 18,000 years ago. It’s one of the major cereal crops in the world: In 2005, barley ranked fourth in amount cultivated (but consider that it is an ingredient in beer, a drink popular worldwide).

A small, spherical grain, barley is grown worldwide.

  • Barley has a slightly sweet, nutty, earthy flavor, chewy texture and high fiber content.
  • It was a staple cereal of ancient Egypt, where it was used to make bread and beer. Barley has been accorded special status as well: The Chinese believed it increased male sexuality; in Rome, barley was the special dish of the gladiators.
  • When it was first planted in America around 1600, barley was used to make beer.

But if you don’t seek out tasty barley recipes, you’re missing out. Thanks to Zabar’s for this barley salad recipe, which can be served year round.

The Health Benefits Of Barley

Barley is a low glycemic food that is not just good as part of a diabetic-friendly diet: It helps to fight diabetes. Its soluble fiber slows the absorption of sugar and reduces the risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. Animal studies show that barley lowers cholesterol.

While it does contain gluten, barley:

  • Is cholesterol free and naturally low in fat.
  • Is rich in vitamins and minerals, with high amounts of copper, iron, magnesium, niacin (Vitamin B3), , phosphorus, selenium, thiamine ( Vitamin B1) and zinc.
  • Contains phytochemicals, powerful antioxidants that may decrease the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
  • Has twice as much fiber per cup than oatmeal: 13.6 grams/cup compared to 3.97 grams for oatmeal.

For maximum nutrition, select whole or hull barley (with the bran intact) rather than the prettier pearled or hull-less barley, which has its outer bran and husk removed, leaving only a small white “pearl” of endosperm.

Learn more at

Barley Salad Recipe

Thanks to Alexandra Mansky and Zabar’s for this Pearled Barley Salad with Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette. It can be served at room temperature, chilled or warm. It can be a first course or a side, served with roasted chicken or a pan-seared fish. It’s also great to serve at a picnic or cookout.

Serves 2 as a light main, or 4 as a side dish.

Barley Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 cup barley, rinsed and drained

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon grey sea salt (also called grey salt, Celtic sea salt and sel gris;
    you can substitute fleur de sel or other sea salt)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1/2 medium preserved lemon, minced (can use more or less to taste;
    purchase at a Middle Eastern market or make this recipe)

  • ½ medium shallot, minced

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted (or substitute chopped pecans or walnuts)

  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

Barley Salad Recipe Preparation

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring water seasoned with salt and bay leaf to boil. Add barley and bring back to boil, then reduce to low heat and cover. Cook barley for approximately 35-45 minutes or until barley is tender and the water is absorbed. Rinse in a colander under cold water to stop cooking. Drain well and place in large bowl to cool.

  2. In another bowl add minced shallot to sherry vinegar and let sit 5 minutes. Add the preserved lemon, and slowly whisk in olive oil.

  3. Stir vinaigrette into the cooled barley. Add the cherries, pine nuts, julienned mint leaves and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then top with goat cheese.


Recipe courtesy Zabar’s. All other materials

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