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The weather has been so spring-like up here that I decided to make a cold barley salad with dinner, served up with some yummy falafel and pomegranate glazed squash and onions.  Also, every now and then I like to have something that tastes bright and fresh when it’s a little brisk outside.


You could use any starchy thing you like for this salad: white rice, brown rice, small pastas like orzo or dilatini, cous cous, or tabouleh.  You could also switch out any of the herbs too, it’s so basic and versatile, you can tailor it to any sort of meal you’re making.  It practically begs you to make it your own.  But, however easy and unassuming this recipe is, it’s a great one to have in your back pocket for potlucks or when you need a quick and simple side dish.

So fresh and so green!

So fresh and so green!

Chilled Barley and Herb Salad – served with falafel and pomegranate glazed vegetables

(Need a good falafel recipe?  I’ve got one!:  https://fullbellyfullwallet.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/spiced-falafel-with-yogurt-herb-sauce-herb-overload-part-deux/)

Serves 4-6 – cost approx $.55 per serving


  • 2 cups pearl barley ($.75)
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro ($.25)
  • 1/2 bunch parsley ($.17)
  • salt and black pepper – to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, zest and juice ($.25)
  • 1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil – since you’re not cooking with it, this is a good time to use a nicer olive oil. ($.59)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and small dice ($.50)

Boil the barley in salted water until it’s fully cooked but not mushy.  How long it needs to cook may depend on the type of barley you have as some are more processed than others.  Start to check it after 10-15 minutes.  Drain and cool your barley.

When the barley is cooled, mix in all the other ingredients and adjust the seasonings.  This dish can sit happily in the fridge for a day or so, if you prepare it ahead of time, it may be good to give it another drizzle of olive oil and fluff it up with a fork a bit when you’re ready to serve.  It’s as simple as it is pretty!