Barley Rice Salad

Barley Rice Salad

Barley Rice Salad

I love barley. In the winter, I’m always making stews that overflow with barley. Until now, however, I haven’t found something to use it in during the summer months. Here, I’ve used it in a salad with some rice and veggies. Cross that one off my list of grains to try saladifying!

I’m not sure why I love barley so much. It doesn’t have a big flavour, and isn’t as versatile as rice or quinoa. I like the little chew it gives to a dish. I guess it’s as simple as that.

It seems like I’m trying to find a way to make salad out of every grain in my cupboard. Grain salads are great for me, because they make great leftovers to bring to work. I’m always thinking of what to bring for lunch the next day. I do my best to limit the number of days I have to buy lunch, so that’s really important for me.

I’ve kept the dressing very simple lately. I just restocked my apple cider vinegar, which is fantastic for salad dressing. It’s tart and acidic and has more flavour than white vinegar, so you don’t need to add many other ingredients. One reason I kept things simple – fresh basil. Our rooftop garden is overflowing with delicious basil, and I’m happy to highlight it in the salad. Nothing compares to fresh basil.

Cooking tip: cook the barley in advance and freeze in portions. Do this on a day that isn’t too hot, so you’re ready to go when you need it. I didn’t do this with the rice, because rice is quicker to cook up when you need it.

Barley Rice Salad
Barley Rice Salad meets the Garlic Scape Monster

Barley Rice Salad

4-6 servings


  • 1 cup brown or mixed rice, dry (I used a fun one from Bulk Barn called Black Pearl)
  • 1 – 1.5 cups pearl barley, cooked
  • 1 cup corn kernels, cooked (can use canned, frozen, grilled)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped green garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic clove)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup sliced fennel
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered (and drained, if using a waterier variety)
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chiffonade or finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground yellow mustard seed
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • pinch of cayenne, or your favourite ground chile (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber


  1. Cook rice using your favourite method (stovetop, rice cooker, steamed, etc.). Remove from heat, transfer rice to a large nonreactive bowl, stir in barley and set aside to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare and mix together the garlic, fennel, tomatoes and basil. Stir into rice and barley mix and put in the refrigerator.
  3. In a small glass with a pour spout, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard powder, salt, pepper and cayenne until the mixture emulsifies (it will come together and thicken slightly). Pour dressing over salad, bit by bit, and gently toss until well coated. You may not need to use it all.
  4. Top with chopped cucumber and serve.