Grains are our friends! Science says that eating whole grains can help us live longer, and they certainly are a big part of a plant-based diet. That’s why I want to share my pearl barley salad recipe with you today! It’s a nutritional powerhouse that you can add to your favorite recipes.
Healthy Barley Salad Recipe
I enjoy a wholesome salad for lunch on most days! I’m constantly looking for plant-based recipes to fill me up without slowing down. There’s nothing much worse than that 2 o’clock feeling you get after eating a heavy meal. You won’t have to worry about that with my healthy barley salad recipe!
Not only does this recipe have cauliflower, but also fresh kale, making it one of the SUPER super salads! Making cauliflower into “rice” is very easy. All you have to do is put the raw cauliflower into a food processor and process it for a few seconds until you get the “rice.”
Barley seems to be underrated compared to rice and quinoa, the star grains of the last few years. I think that barley is a great alternative! I like to use pearl barley as it adds a bit of chewiness to this salad. It’s chockfull of fiber, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, and more.
One of the cool things I did was make this salad with leftover barley from a stuffed pepper recipe I’d made the day before. Making extra of any grains you’re cooking is a great time-saving strategy and gets you out of the kitchen faster. Maybe it’s barley in your soup one day and this salad the next!
Other Key Ingredients for Pearl Barley Salad
The addition of Kalamata olives gives my pearl barley salad a saltiness that you often get from some cheeses. If you are on a low-salt diet, you’ll want to use these judiciously.
The nuts are optional, as well, but more research data is showing that some nuts and seeds are quite healthy in moderation. It all depends on where you are in your health journey. As with all the recipes on this site, please adjust to your particular dietary needs.
How to Make This Pearl Barley Salad
Don’t miss the detailed instructions that include quantities on the recipe card below! Here’s what you can expect when making this healthy barley salad recipe at home:
Step One: Cook the Barley
Cook the barley according to the instructions on the package. Allow it to cool in a large bowl before assembling your barley salad.
Step Two: Make the Cauliflower Rice
Place 3-4 cauliflower florets in a food processor and process until it breaks down into the size of rice grains.
Step Three: Assemble the Healthy Barley Salad
Add the cauliflower rice, beans, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, red onions, olives, and nuts (or seeds) to the bowl with the cooled barley. Stir to combine.
Step Four: Make the Dressing and Toss
Whisk the fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar, and maple syrup together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, then pour the salad dressing over your pearl barley salad. Toss to combine and serve on its own or over a bed of lettuce!
What’s the Best Way to Eat Barley?
There are several ways to enjoy barley! As I mentioned, I love to use it in soups and salads like this healthy barley salad recipe. You can also use it as a side dish to replace rice or use it instead of oats in your oatmeal for breakfast. It’s packed with nutrients, so it’s worth squeezing in anywhere!
How do You Cook Dried Pearl Barley?
If you purchase your dried pearl barley at the supermarket, there will be instructions for how to cook it on the package. Barley cooks much like rice — you’ll have to allow it to cook in boiling water for several minutes. Depending on the quantity, it shouldn’t take much longer than 30 minutes.
Is Pearl Barley Better for You than Rice?
Pearl barley boasts many vitamins and minerals that you won’t find in rice. While I love to use rice as a side dish, when I’m looking for something a little more nutritious, I typically go with barley. I find that it’s also lighter than rice, making it the perfect addition to recipes like this healthy barley salad.
Enjoy barley in more of your plant-based meals:
- Stuffed Peppers
- Moroccan Chickpea Vegetable Tagine
- Green Goddess Grain Bowl
- Pineapple Fried Rice
- Asian Vegetable Barley Soup
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for this Barley Bean Salad with Cauliflower Rice! If you have a photo, post it on my Instagram page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking
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This recipe is Certified Plantricious because it meets the following guidelines.
The Trusted Seal for
- Must be whole food plant-based, contains no animal products
- May be minimally processed
- No added oil
- No added sugars
- No artificial additives or preservatives
- Sodium (mg) to Calories ratio, 1 ≤ 1
- Total Fiber to Calories, 2g ≥ 100 calories
Barley Salad Recipe
- 1 cups uncooked barley cooked according to package
- 1/2 cup pinto beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup cauliflower riced (see instructions below)
- 2 cups kale chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion diced
- 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes soaked in water to rehydrate
- 1/2 cup Kalamata olives seeded and cut in half
- 1/2 cup pistachios shelled or use your favorite nut or seed
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbl rice vinegar (white wine or champagne vinegar)
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- Add cooled barley to a large bowl.
- To rice the cauliflower, put 3-4 cauliflower florets into a food processor and pulse a few times until it's the size of rice.
- Add the cauliflower rice, beans, kale, sun-dried tomatoes, red onion, olives, nuts or seeds to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. Add salt & pepper to taste. Toss all and serve on a bed of lettuce.
Great recipe! Flavorful, clean, and packed with nutrition. Made this at the beginning of the work week and found myself snacking on this dish in-between lunch and dinner every day.
Thanks, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. I love it when there’s a healthy snack around the house!
I am always confused as to whether the amount of barley is total after its cooked or before.
I had to think which it was myself… so you’re right, it’s confusing. I updated the recipe to make it clearer and actually reduced the amount of barley to 1 cup uncooked because it makes about 3 cups when cooked which seems like plenty. I hope to make this recipe again soon so recheck my measurments.
Do you have total. Nutritional including potassium. I want to make this❤️