Sweet Barley Salad

One of my favorite indulgences is stopping by Whole Foods  for a quick lunch in between work and classes. I love it because I know their standards for quality whole foods ingredients, and it’s pretty darn easy to find some delicious vegan and vegetarian options. As it so happens our local WF is smack dab in the middle of my school campus and my new internship, so you can see how I’m easily swayed. But my wallet is having trouble keeping up with my cravings, so I decided to make some of the creative salad bar dishes back at home instead.

The other day I had a fabulous barley salad made with hulled barley, dried cranberries and nuts. I literally went nuts over this salad (no pun intended) ;) and knew I had to make my own version! I’ve cooked a lot with pearled barely but I had yet to venture towards the hulled barley in the bulk bin section. And shame on me because hulled barely is actually more of a whole grain than pearled barley. Barley does contain gluten, so if you are gluten sensitive I don’t recommend this one; but alas I indulge in gluten in moderation and this whole grain rocks my socks. It has an earthy, nutty and almost sweet flavor and the texture is sort of chewy. It’s seriously yummy stuff.

As with any bulk items, make sure you wash the grains really well before cooking! I found a few sneaky lil critters in my barley stash this morning. These little grain bugs, called weevils, are notorious for sneaking into bulk bins and feeding on the softer insides of the grains. If you buy organic grains, it is more likely you will find a weevil or two compared to grains that have been sprayed with chemicals. They are harmless insects and easily removed. Personally I’d rather pick out a few weevils then eat grains sprayed with pesticides, but that’s just my own ball game. ;) Tip: store grains in the freezer to keep them fresh and insect free!

Dried, hulled barley (weevil free!)

Hopefully I haven’t completely grossed you out by my bug talk, because I have a fabulous recipe to share!

Sweet Barley Salad 

1 c. dried hulled barley

1/2 c. grated carrots

1/2 c. grated beets

1/4 c. dried cherries (or cranberries)

2 tbs. almond slivers

1 tbs. sunflower seeds

1 tbs. agave nectar syrup

2 tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tbs. balsamic vinegar

*Print this recipe

1. Combine dried barley with 3 c. water and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for about 90 minutes or until grains are soft yet still chewy. ***Or you can use a rice cooker. Mine cooked for about an hour in my rice cooker and came out perfect.

2. Combine agave syrup, orange juice and balsamic vinegar in a small mixing bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

3. Combine cooked barley, grated carrots and beets in large mixing bowl. Pour in sauce and stir to combine.

4. Add nuts, sunflower seeds and dried fruit. Allow salad to marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours to fully combine flavors.

This salad is packed with vitamins and nutrients. Barley is extremely high in protein and fiber (1 c. of uncooked barley has 32 g. of dietary fiber 23 g of protein!) and also high in iron, calcium and B vitamins. The flavor is slightly sweet with a tang of citrus. It was delicious served over a giant plate of fresh spinach!

And to give you an idea of how the rest of my Saturday went… some of my tweets…


lovesveggees Lindsay

I passed up a bday dinner w/ family AND a social fundraiser w/ drinks and friends for a night of cuddling up w/ my law book #yesimcrazy

 Ughhh! School is kicking my butt! But in a good way :)
~ Peace, Love & Veggies xo  


  1. I think my mom would looovee this recipe because she loves beets and salads :)
    Wow! 32g of fiber and 23g of protein per cup of barley! those are awesome stats! :)

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! Im going to make it for my mom sometime :)
    Shannon recently posted..My Kitchen StaplesMy Profile

    • I know, around those amazing stats!? I discovered hulled barely has one of the highest fiber contents for whole grains. Score!! :) I made this recipe for my aunt over the weekend and she loved it!!

  2. i love the color of that!!!!!!! so pretty :D
    i love healthy and delish recipes–thanks for sharin girl!

  3. I am so happy I found your blog- this barley salad looks amazing. I also had a barley/spelt pesto salad (with courgette, spring onions, capers and sprouts) for lunch today. So delicious! And now that I know that barley has such amazing stats, I will have to make it more often! Maybe we can exchange some more barley recipes- stop by! :)
    Alexia @ NamasteYoga recently posted..Oily affairsMy Profile

    • Ohhh that sounds delicious! I just started experimenting with barley recently and I’m already so in love. Barley with pesto sounds amazing!!

  4. I can only imagine what my mouth would look like after eating that delicious looking salad!! Should probably not eat it for lunch with 1/2 a day of work left Bwahahaa!!! Num Num Num!!

    • hahaha too funny! Whenever my mom and I drink beet juice we joke that we have “beet mustaches” because the color really sticks on your lips! I think I had a bit of a red tongue after eating this ;)

  5. This looks amazing! I love barley, I feel like it’s way too underappreciated!
    Alexa @ Simple Eats recently posted..Signs of FallMy Profile

    • I concur! I just started playing around with barley recently and I love it. I have come across the pearled barley many a times in soup and casseroles but it wasn’t until my WF lunch the other day that I had the real hulled barley. SO good! It’s chewy and it kind of reminds me of chewy granola bars. hehe

  6. Yum! :) I’m gluten intolerant, but I’m pretty sure this salad would be great using rice instead! :)
    Sierra recently posted..Oh Snap!My Profile

    • Ohh I’m sure it would be! Or you could substitute a bean even, like lentils! The beats and carrots in this salad make it so sweet and flavorful. I’ve been eating it all week! ;)

  7. Okay now I have to try Barley.It’s on the list but, I haven’t got around to it YET.Now it’s at the top of the list.Thanks!!

    • You are going to LOVE barley! It’s my new favorite! Such a fabulous whole grain and so versatile! It absorbs flavors really well so you can make it sweet or savory. let me know what you some up with! ;)

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