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Barley Summer Salad

Photo of Barley Summer Salad
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Makes: 8 Cups
Nutrition Facts: View label


1 cup pearl barley, rinsed (see Notes)
3 cups water
¼ cup dried cranberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup chopped sweet snap peas
2 cups chopped apple (1 to 2 medium apples) or another fresh fruit or veggie, chopped 
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
½ cup chopped green onion
1 Tablespoon vinegar
3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup lemon juice or lime juice


  1. Wash hands with soap and water.
  2. Place barley and water in a 2 or 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover the pan and cook until barley is tender, about 45 to 60 minutes.
  3. Rinse cooked barley briefly in cold water. Drain.
  4. Add remaining ingredients. Toss well.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours.


  • Substitute different fruits and vegetables in season.
  • Add nuts or seeds for added protein.
  • Pearl barley is high in fiber but it is not a whole grain. If using whole grain barley (also called hulled barley), add 20 to 30 minutes to the cooking time.
  • If you have barley that is already cooked, measure about 3 1/2 cups into a large bowl and begin at step 4.


This was a big hit!  To make it festive for the 4th of July I used an extra cup of blueberries and took out the snappeas.  I also used jicama instead of apple.  That way the dish turns out red, white, and blue!  I would even diced up a whole red pepper and use the whole thing, instead of just 1/2 cup.

We made this for three classes of 4th graders and the results were mixed. One common comment I kept hearing is that it was too tart and the barley had no flavor. The students and some staff suggested adding either salt to the barley while cooking, or sugar once it's done as part of the dressing. I think orange juice would be a better replacement for the lemon juice to make it less tart and sweeten it up a bit. Seasoning is a definite! Adding salt to the barley while cooking is highly needed, as is a little pepper in the end. The kids all loved the fruit in it and the look of it, but the agreed that it needs more seasoning.

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