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Close-up overhead shot of barley salad in circular white dish.

Mediterranean Barley Salad

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5 from 8 reviews

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x


Our easy Mediterranean Barley Salad is made with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives and basil with a fresh lemon and garlic dressing. Serve it as a vegan side dish for a potluck, picnic or barbecue or as a healthy make-ahead side dish for a weeknight meal.


  • 1 1/2 cups dry pearled barley
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, grated with a microplane grater
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 finely diced yellow bell pepper
  • 1 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted black Italian or Greek olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil


  1. Place barley in a large saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and set over high heat. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Drain through a fine mesh sieve.
  2. Whisk oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. 
  3. Add barley and stir to coat. Let the barley cool in the dressing mixture, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  4. Stir in bell pepper, tomatoes, olives and basil and stir to combine. Serve immediately or chill.


  • Ingredient Note: you can substitute hulled barley for pearled barley, but it will take a little longer to cook. Simmer it for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, adding more water if necessary to keep the barley submerged. 
  • Make Ahead: This salad keeps well for 3 days. Keep covered and refrigerated. Stir well before serving. If the dressing gets clumpy, allow the salad to come up to room temperature before serving.
  • Tip: The barley can be cooked in an instant pot instead of simmering to shave overall time from this recipe.
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 263
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Carbohydrates: 30 g
  • Fiber: 7 g
  • Protein: 4 g
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