Grilled Vegetable & Barley Salad

by Aug 31, 2015


Flying saucers.  The fun summer squash!  Use them as you would zucchini – knife-cut chunks or mandoline ribbons tossed with olive oil and grilled outside in a basket or on skewers, or sautéed on the stovetop.


Saveur magazine featured this colorful grilled veggie salad in an article about Suzanne Zeidy, an Egyptian restaurateur and author of Cairo Kitchen (July 2015).   It’s simple:  cook then season the barley, assemble the platter, and top with veggies when they come off the grill.  Let everyone appreciate how beautiful it looks, then toss and serve as a main dish or side salad.  The dressing is rich with olive oil and balanced with lemon, garlic, cumin and coriander.  This is a wonderful salad that can sit out at room temperature for awhile, so tote it along to your next potluck, bookclub, or get together.


Montana grown purple barley is the centerpiece of my version, thanks to Timeless Foods.  The only other change I made from the original was to sub roasted chickpeas for the pistachios, simply because I forgot to read my shopping list at the grocery.  (I’m still deciding which are better, oil-roasted or dry-roasted…and the winner is:  Crispy Garbanzos!)


Grilled Vegetable & Barley Salad

Yield: 8 servings


  • 16 oz. barley (Timeless Foods' Purple Prairie Barley is wonderful!)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • Veggies for the grill:
  • 2 flying saucer squash or zucchini, chopped into 1 - 2 inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, core and seeds removed, sliced into strips
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • a sprinkle of sea salt
  • Salad items:
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup Italian (flat-leafed) parsley leaves
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 oz. feta, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 hot chile pepper, sliced
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 garlic clove minced and mashed with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Soak the barley for an hour in fresh water; this reduces the cooking time considerably. Once soaked, cook the barley (add 1 teaspoon salt) in a rice cooker (or stovetop) with same ratio of barley to water as you would rice (2:1 for chewy texture, go 3:1 if you want it softer).
  2. Grill the veggies until tender and slightly charred (about 15 minutes).
  3. Mix together the dressing in a small glass measuring cup or jar. Pour over cooked barley and mound in center of serving dish.
  4. Arrange salad items around perimeter of barley. Add grilled veggies when they are done. When ready to serve, use salad tongs or two wooden spoons to gently combine everything on the platter.


Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips:

  • Cook the barley in advance and leave it in your rice cooker on  “warming” mode.  One hour or more helps soften the barley even more (especially helpful if you like barley with a bit of “chew” in its texture;  1:2 ratio instead of 1:3 (water))
  • Got eggplant?  Chop one up and grill with the other veggies
  • Got lentils?  Cook and add in place of some of the barley
  • Nuts or No Nuts.  Add what you like:  crispy-roasted garbanzo beans, pistachios, cashews, even those little green pepitas (pumpkin seeds) would be good!

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