This barley salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley is a refreshing, healthy, and filling summer salad. It works great as a side dish or as a complete meal.
Especially for lunch. I love to have something already prepped and waiting for me in the fridge because lunch is always a little chaotic. It usually falls into one of four categories:
- Kids are whining and I’m just looking for something to eat as quickly as I can after I prep their lunches.
- I’m throwing lunch together at 8AM and packing it in a cooler because we’ll be out and about around lunch (usually play dates).
- I’m completely exhausted and I want to eat my arm. But I have two toddlers so my arms are a bit of a necessity. I think I’ll keep them.
- The kids are whining.
- The kids are whining.
Oh wait, that’s five. I swear, kids go from happy and cheerful to grumpy and whining in about .00003 seconds — right after I mention the “L” word — lunch. I mean…can they just give me two seconds to make it? I try to get them to understand that I’d be able to make it a lot faster if they weren’t hanging on my leg and standing right in front of the refrigerator. Same applies for dinner, kiddos. Breakfast too, for that matter!
About this barley salad:
Getting back to the point, this vegetarian salad is the perfect thing to grab out of the fridge once the kids are securely in their seats eating their lunch quietly and happily. At least happily. Quiet? Ha.
This salad is filling and healthy thanks to fiber-full barley. Barley also has about 4 grams of protein (at least that is what my internet research is telling me). As a main dish for lunch or dinner, you might want to add garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or feta cheese for an extra boost of protein. Either would be a perfect fit in this salad.
It has a great fresh Mediterranean flavor with cucumbers, tomatoes, and parsley, enhanced with a light and simple dressing made from lemon juice and olive oil. Barley salad will keep in the fridge for up to three days and is perfect for lunchboxes.
PS: This brand of barley is always a good bet.
PPS: This barley salad is vegan if you make it as written!
I’m also sharing the recipe for this barley salad over on Eat Your Heart Out.
Looking for more make-ahead salads?
Avoid the lunch crunch! Try making one of these filling salads which will keep a couple of days in the fridge:
- Bruschetta Orzo Pasta Salad
- Zucchini Noodle Salad with Beans, Feta, and Lemon
- Dill Chicken Salad (perfect on lettuce, or in a wrap)
- Broccoli Tabbouleh Bowl with Lentils
- Kale Sweet Potato Salad with Quinoa (with roasted sweet potatoes and chili lime dressing)
- Vegan Quinoa Salad with Brussels Sprouts & Pepitas
- Creamy Chickpea Salad
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley, cooked according to package directions and cooled
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeds removed, diced
- 1 English cucumber, diced
- ⅓ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon za’atar seasoning (optional)
- If necessary, use a fork to fluff up barley and separate pieces. Add tomatoes, cucumbers, and parsley to barley; mix together.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and stir lightly to coat the salad with the dressing. Sprinkle za'atar over salad, if desired.
- Serve immediately, or keep in fridge overnight prior to serving. If salad seems dry, feel free to add more dressing.
- Barley will soak up some of the dressing if you make this salad ahead. You can either mix the dressing in right before serving or add more dressing.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.