Loaded with all kinds of super nutritious and wholesome ingredients, this sturdy Veggie Barley Salad is a veritable explosion of flavors and textures! Perfect for potlucks, picnics or no-fuss lunch at the office.
Man, I love barley! Really I don’t understand why it is that it’s so unpopular, this grain. It has the coolest texture, so much flavor, and is so crazy uncomplicated, too!
Unlike rice, barley is super easy to cook… you just can’t mess it up! And unlike rice, it’s equally delicious hot or cold, making it a perfect contender for cold salads. Why people still use cold rice in salads is beyond me. I mean, the thing gets totally unpalatable after it’s been in the fridge for a while. It becomes hard and dry and totally tasteless. But barley? Barley stays supple, crunchy and chewy and has the coolest of textures, even when cold. Not to mention the fact that it remains super tasty, too!
Granted, it may take a little bit longer to cook than rice, but it’s so much worth the extra time. Plus, you can totally make a bigger batch and reheat it later, or use the leftovers to make all kinds of dishes, like this very salad, for instance. Me, I even like to throw some in my morning cereal; it gives it tons of texture, and much nutritional benefits, too!
Why not go ahead and cook a batch now, and then whip up this super delicious and nutritious salad?
If you’re not sold on it yet, give it a try. I’m sure that you too, will totally adopt it.
Unless you happen to already have about 4 cups of leftover cooked barley in your fridge, the first thing you’re gonna want to do is cook some barley.
Feel free to use whatever kind you prefer, hulled or pearl (I used hulled, cuz you know, it’s better for you!). Cook your barley in salted boiling water until it is tender, according to the direction on the package (or your own personal favorite method). Account for approximately 45 minutes of cooking time for pearl barley, 90 minutes for hulled.
When your barley is cooked to your liking, drain it (if necessary) and then rinse it under cold running water until completely cooled.
Erm… yes, you can totally use a bigger sieve, if you have one!
While the barley is cooking, prep the other ingredients, starting with the shelled edamame. In a small saucepan, bring half a cup of salted water to the boil; add the frozen edamame and cook for about 30 seconds, or until just heated through,
Drain the edamame and rinse it under cold running water until completely cooled. Set aside.
Next, in a medium pan set over medium heat, toast the slivered almonds until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir them often so they don’t burn. Set those aside, too.
When done toasting the almonds, you should remove them promptly from the pan as the residual heat could eventually burn the delicate nuts.
Now prep your veggies: seed your cucumber, then cut it into quarter slices, cut your carrot and green apple into small little cubes and slice 3 green onions. Then, grab a small glass measuring cup and in it, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk vigorously until well combined and slightly emulsified.
Once the barley is cooked, cooled and drained, place it in a large mixing bowl, along with the cucumber, carrot, apple, green onion…
Give your salad a delicate toss, until all the ingredients are well combined and evenly distributed. You can serve your Barley Salad immediately, or place it in the fridge for a couple of hours to allow the flavors to meld.
This salad can even be made up to a day ahead of time and leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to a few days.
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Veggie Barley Salad
- 2 cups dry hulled or pearl barley or about 4 cups leftover cooked barley
- 2 cups frozen shelled edamame
- 1 cup slivered almonds
- 1 large English cucumber peel on, seeded and cut into quarter slices
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into small dice
- 1 granny smith apple peel on, cored and diced
- 3 green onions sliced
For the vinaigrette
Cook the barley:
- Cook the barley in salted boiling water until tender, according to the direction on the package, about 45 minutes for pearl barley, 90 minutes for hulled. When cooked to your liking, drain (if necessary) and rinse the barley under cold running water until completely cooled.
While the barley is cooking, prep the other ingredients:
- In a small saucepan, bring half a cup of salted water to the boil; add the frozen edamame and cook for about 30 seconds, or until just heated through, then drain and rinse under cold running water until completely cooled. Set aside.
- In a medium pan set over medium heat, toast the slivered almonds until golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stir them often so they don't burn. Set aside.
- Prep your cucumber, carrot, apple and green onions and reserve.
- In a small glass measuring cup, combine all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and whisk vigorously until well combined and slightly emulsified.
Put the salad together:
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the barley, cucumber, carrot, apple, green onion, edamame, slivered almonds and vinaigrette; toss delicately until well combined.
- Serve immediately or place the salad in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the flavors to meld.
- This salad can be made up to a day ahead of time and leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to a few days.