Barley, Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

Mr. O helped plan our dinners this week, and he found this recipe on BuffChickpea, which is the basis for our salad.  We made a few changes to the recipe we found, which was itself adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe. The result: tasty, filling, and (dare we say it), healthy. Bonus: our 22-month-old ate a few spoonfuls of barley and a “leaf” (a piece of basil).

Barley, Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

Barley, Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

Barley, Tomato, Basil, and Feta Salad

  • 1 1/2 cups barley (we used organic pearl barley from Wegmans, and it was excellent)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes 
  • 1/3 cup packed basil leaves
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 oz block feta, crumbled into chunks
  • salt, pepper, and dried oregano, to taste


  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Soaking time: 1 hr // Active prep: 15 minutes, followed by 10 minutes of cooling time.

The Nitty-Gritty:

Rinse barley and soak for an hour or so in cold water while you go about your business (we took our son to the playground).

Back? Ok.

Bring 4 1/2 cups of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Add the barley, reduce the heat, and cover. Cook about twenty minutes. While it’s cooking, halve the tomatoes, snip the green onions (white and light green bits) into small chunks, crumble the feta, and chiffonade the basil.  Shake up the vinaigrette in a jar, or whisk it, if that’s how you roll.

Drain the barley and allow to cool. We just let the barley rest in thin layer on wide plates while we folded a load of laundry, but feel free to toss it around a while if you’re in a rush.  We ate this salad at slightly-higher-than-room temperature, and I think that’s best.

Toss the barley with the vinaigrette, green onions, and feta. Spoon onto plates and top with basil and tomato (I like leaving the basil and tomato unmixed so that they retain their structural integrity, but go ahead and mix it all together if you like). Season with salt, pepper, and dried oregano to your taste.


  • the original recipe calls for cooking the barley in vegetable broth. I’m sure that’s delicious, but we didn’t have any at home this week, and the salad was (we thought) perfectly seasoned with the vinaigrette.
  • The oregano wasn’t in the recipe we found, but we liked it so much in a tomato sauce last night that we had to have it again. 
  • The original recipe calls for grape tomatoes. I don’t like them (too sweet) but you might. 
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