This Pearl Barley Salad is hearty enough to have for dinner, packed full of abundant summer squash, with the lemon and dill adding a bright, fresh note. This is another salad that will travel well to your summer picnic, BBQ, or potluck and is perfect for weekday lunches.
The best salads are the ones that are packed with flavour and texture, and this pearl barley salad with summer squash is no exception.
It features pearl barley, a delicious and hearty grain, paired with crispy patty pan squash, zucchini, and fresh herbs, tossed in a simple lemon olive oil dressing to add some zing.
Table of contents
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pearl Barley - used as the base for this salad, pearl barley has twice the calcium and fibre and about 30 per cent fewer calories than brown rice. It can be swapped for any other grain, such as quinoa, farro, brown rice, millet or buckwheat. If you want to use white rice, then try either basmati, jasmine or parboiled variety; otherwise, the salad will be too gluggy.
- Patty Pan Squash - these mini flying saucer veggies are also known as scallopini, sunburst and button squash. Swap for any zucchini/squash variety you find - yellow, Lebanese, zebra, etc.
- Dark Green Zucchini - any dark green variety will work just as well here.
- Red Capsicum/Bell Pepper - for a pop of colour and some sweetness, use any colour bell pepper you prefer, or for some added heat, why not use some chillies instead?
- Red Onion - I love the wonderful caramelisation that comes with roasting onions; you can leave them out if you are not an onion lover.
- Fresh Herbs - we have used dill and parsley here as they hold up well in salads without turning brown. Swap for any herbs that you have on hand such as basil, mint, coriander/cilantro or even tarragon; just keep in mind that they will not stay fresh for long.
- Fennel Seeds - added for their delicate licorice flavour, cumin or even caraway seeds would be a great substitute here.
- Dressing - we have kept it super simple here to allow the vegetables to shine and used a simple lemon olive oil dressing which really brightens it up.
You Will Need...
How To Make It (step-by-step)
Step 1 - Cook pearl barley
Step 2- Prepare your veg
Step 3- Assemble the Salad
While this Pearl Barley Salad is substantial enough to have as a meal, you may also serve this salad with a variety of roasted or barbecued meats (it makes a perfect side at barbecues or potlucks as it travels really well).
Try it with…
People Also Ask...
Pearl barley is whole grain barley with the outer husk and bran layers removed and then polished. This makes it faster to cook and less chewy than other forms of barley.
It is a great wheat-free substitute for rice or pasta in a salad; while wheat-free it is not gluten-free, it does contain a different type of gluten.
This salad can be made a day in advance as there are no delicate herbs that brown easily. In fact. It truly just becomes tastier if you allow the flavours to develop.
You can also boil your barley a week ahead and keep it covered in your fridge until you are ready to assemble it. Just bring it to room temperature beforehand.
Make pearl barley salad and divide it into containers; you can also add some additional protein, such as crumbled feta, grilled halloumi, grilled chicken, flaked salmon or meatballs.
Any leftover Pearly Barley Salad can be kept it in an air-tight container in the fridge, and it should last approximately 4-5 days, but take it out about half an hour ahead of time to come to room temperature.
A satisfying salad that would suit vegan, vegetarian, dairy and nut-free eaters.
More Dinner Salad Recipes...
- 200 grams patty pan squash (approximatel 4-5, 7 ounces)
- 200 grams zucchini (courgette) (approximately 2 medium, 7 ounces)
- ½ medium red capsicum (bell pepper)
- ½ mediuam red onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoons fennel seeds
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 1½ cups pearl barley
- 2 tbsps dill leaves
- 2 tbsps parsley leaves
- 1 tbsps olive oil
- 3 tbsps lemon juice
- 2 tbsps mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, poppy, linseeds)
- Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F) and line a baking tray.
- Rinse your pearl barley in a colander under cold running water to remove any grit.
- Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to boil then add your pearl barley and cook until al dente (approximately 30 minutes). If scum forms in the water while the pearl barley is cooking remove with a slotted spoon.
- Once the barley is cooked rinse well under cold running water.
- Wash and trim all your vegetables, then chop them into small dice.
- Put all your chopped vegetables on your baking tray, sprinkle with the fennel seeds on top, drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix until the vegetables are well coated with the oil.
- Place in the middle section of your oven and roast until golden brown turning half way through (approximately 20 minutes). Add a squeeze of lemon juice when they are done and still hot.
- Wash the parsley and dill leaves, shake to remove excess water, then roughly chop.
- Put everything in a large mixing bowl - pearl barley, vegetables, herbs, oil and lemon juice, season and toss until well combined
- Arrange your salad in a bowl, scatter the seeds on top then chill until you are ready to serve. The longer it stands the tastier it is!
- It is important you take the time to rinse your barley to remove any dust, dirt and debris.
- Make sure that you boil your pearl barley in plenty of water, as it will double in size.
- Pearl barley releases starch into its cooking water, so you must rinse it before adding the rest of your salad ingredients.
- It is important to add a squeeze of lemon juice while your vegetables are hot, as they will absorb it quickly and add a delightful tang to this salad.