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This vegan barley salad with roasted vegetables is the perfect light but fulfilling dish to prep in advance for a healthy lunch or picnic in the park. The barley has a perfect bite and flavour that couples well with roasted vegetables. This salad is easy to make, healthy and tasty.
For other delicious vegan Italian appetizers or salads, check out our:
- Pasta salad with lemon vinaigrette
- Bruschetta with tomatoes
- Vegan Italian Rice Salad
- Panzanella salad (stale-bread Italian salad)
- Vegan potato salad
- Roasted vegetables
- Roasted bell peppers
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Barley: wholegrain barley is best for this vegan barley salad. Cook it al dente. It can be replaced with wholegrain rice, buckwheat, couscous, amaranth, wholegrain oats, and short pasta types like penne or farfalle.
Roasted vegetables: we used zucchini, aubergines, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, carrots. Here's the full recipe for roasted vegetables and roasted bell peppers.
- Fresh herbs: use rosemary to season the roasted vegetables. Parsley and basil to add into the barley salad towards the end.
- Extra virgin olive oil: it gives an Italian spin to the dish.
- Lemon: the juice of the lemon, without seeds.
- Salt & pepper.
Season the cooking water
When you cook grains like barley, oats, millet, buckwheat, rice, and also pasta, the rule of thumb is that you salt the boiling water with a small handful of coarse sea salt. This will add flavour to the grain and you'll need less dressing later on.
Cool down the barley quickly
Barley is best eaten al dente, with a nice bite and chew to it. To achieve this you want to cool down the barley as soon as you drain it. To do that, avoid putting it under cold running water. That will remove a lot of the flavour and texture.
Instead, place it in a very cold bowl that you previously refrigerated and add the cold juice of one lemon in it. Also, stir it often when in the bowl to allow the hot steam to escape.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Barley is a whole ancient grain cultivated for over 10000 years. Eating more whole grains and vegetables is the number one recommendation in the scientific community to live a longer and healthier life.
Barley will not only make you strong and fit, but thanks to its dietary fibre content it will help reduce inflammation in your body.
Being a whole grain, barley takes about 45 minutes to boil. To be sure, check the package instructions, and also taste the barley to make sure you won't overcook it.
Yes. You can make "orzotto" with barley. Orzo means barley in italian, and sometimes, though not often, the Italians make risotto with barley, resulting in a dish called orzotto. It will take longer to make orzotto as the barley requires more time to cook.
You can store your vegan Italian barley salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Barley salad is best eaten cold, so no need to reheat it when you take it out of the fridge.
To make the flavours come out again, take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before eating it.
Vegan barley salad
- 400 g (2.5 cups) barley uncooked
- 4 L (1 gal) water to cook the barley
- ½ tbsp coarse sea salt to salt the cooking water
- 2 zucchini
- 1 eggplant
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 200 g (7 oz) mushrooms
- 1 handfull flat-leaf parsley
- 10 leaves basil
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon the juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, season with 1 scant tbsp of coarse sea salt. Add barley, reduce heat to a low and let simmer. Stir occasionally until chewy and tender, as instructed on the package (about 45 minutes).
- While the barley cooks, roast the veggies in the oven. Cut the vegetables into slices, season them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake the for 30 minutes at 430°F (220°C). See our roasted veggie recipe for full instructions.
- When the barley is cooked al dente, drain it and place it in a cold bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto the barley (avoid lemon seeds).
- Add 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and stir with a spoon until well combined.
- When the vegetables are baked, cut them into dice.
- Then add them to the bowl with the barley
- Add the basil leaves. Then mix well, taste, and adjust for salt, pepper and lemon and serve.
Did you make this recipe at home? Let us know in the comments below, or take a picture and tag us on Instagram @italiaplantbased.