Pearl Barley Salad with Wild Garlic Pesto

© 2021 |

© 2021 |

This storecupboard grain with its nutty flavour and chewy texture makes a great alternative to rice or couscous in this filling and delicious salad teamed with red onion, sweet juicy orange, ripe grape tomatoe and a wild garlic pesto. This salad make a great side dish for some roasted chicken or even main meal salad.
Barley comes in two basic forms: hulled and pearl. They are both nutritious, rich in calcium, minerals, iron and potassium and contains lots of soluble and insoluble fiber that supposedly helps with digestion.
Hulled barley has had the tough, inedible outermost hull removed but still retains its bran and endosperm layer. It's brown in colour and nuttier and chewier. The outer bran of pearl barley is removed and the grain polished to a pale, creamy-coloured grain, making it more tender to the bite and faster to cook than the hulled variety.

Wild Garlic Pesto
  • 250 g Pearly barley
  • 750 ml Water
  • 1 Red onion, diced
  • 1 Orange, peeled and diced
  • 120 g Grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp Wild garlic, chopped
  • 100 g Wild garlic leaves
  • 30 g Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 Lemon, zested and juiced
  • 30 g Pine nuts , toasted
  • 80 ml Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
  1. Rinse and roughly chop the wild garlic leaves. Blitz the wild garlic leaves, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, lemon zest and pine nuts to a rough paste in a food processor. Season, and with the motor running slowly, add in olive oil. Taste, season and add in lemon juice. Transfer the pesto to a clean jar and top with the extra olive oil. Will keep in the fridge for two weeks.
  2. Place the pearl barley in a bowl and add enough water to cover the grain by 1 to 2 inches. Rub it with your fingers, drain the water, and repeat a few times. Transfer the grain into a mesh strainer and rinse under running water. Drain.
  3. Place barley in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the barley is al dente. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Drain again.
  4. Place them in a large bowl. Add in red onion, orange, wild garlic and the pesto. Toss gently to combine.

© 2021 |


DEZMOND 11/5/21 09:55

We can sometimes find wild garlic here as well at the green markets, but not often. I usually don't know what I'd do with it LOL And it looks so precariously similar to lily of the valley which is very poisonous.

Nancy Chan 11/5/21 10:10

How interesting! I didn't know we can use pearl barley in salad. Hope to try this recipe. Wild garlic/leaves is new to me.

Martyna 11/5/21 11:08

Very interesting food;)

Tom 11/5/21 12:31

...bright, cheery and yummy!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine 11/5/21 14:03

this looks absolutely yummy and I have pearl barley on hand will give this a try !

[Reply] 11/5/21 15:28

I've never had pearl barley or heard of wild garlic...sounds like an amazing salad full of contrasting flavors!

Martha 11/5/21 17:27

This looks really good, my kind of eats! :)

Pam 11/5/21 18:31

Great combination of flavors & textures.

Brian 11/5/21 19:27

That looks really good and is so pretty too!

Gustyanita Pratiwi 11/5/21 19:37

wow i can imagine how sweet that orange mixed with any othe fruit in that bowl...thank for your great recipe...i want try this my orange too...:)

savorthebest 11/5/21 20:05

That looks so good, I love barley. This is a salad that will keep well too.

Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary 12/5/21 00:27

I'm always on the hunt for new and exciting salads - bonus points if it includes healthy carbs! Needless to say, this recipe looks delicious and it has me drooling! I can't wait to try it!!

J.P. Alexander 12/5/21 02:43

Se ve genial y muy sana . Te mando un beso

Ben | Havocinthekitchen 12/5/21 02:52

I love to add healthy grains into my salads, and nutty barley always is a good choice! This salads looks beautiful; wonderful combination of flavours!

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews 12/5/21 07:16

I have never tried pearl barley before, but I have to say that it does look delicious. I would definitely also never have thought about combining oranges with a garlic pesto, but that combination of flavours sounds really intriguing!

A dish I think I need to try making for myself, and it looks so colourful! :)

New Classic r 12/5/21 12:37

I just pulled out of the freezer some pesto this morning, I'll see if I can find the pearled barley and give this recipe a try.

Kitchen Riffs 12/5/21 14:24

I haven't used pearl barley in a long time. Love its texture and flavor, and it works quite nicely in salads. This is a perfect main dish for us -- loaded with flavor, and very satisfying. Thanks!

Eva Taylor 12/5/21 14:34

I just made a pearl barley “risotto” for dinner last night, I just love the texture of barley. Would love this salad!

Tanza Erlambang 12/5/21 17:30

I never tasted pearl barley... look good.

Thank you for sharing your recipe

foodtravelandwine 12/5/21 18:30

It looks so yummy!....I will need to try it one day!.......Abrazotes, Marcela

tigerfish 13/5/21 00:27

Yes, I do enjoy barley for its chewy texture. This barley looks almost like israeli couscous ;p

Pedro 13/5/21 00:38

Delicious and healthy salad. Original wild garlic pesto. Great combination of flavors.

bread&salt 13/5/21 03:30

Looks healthy and tasty. I think this salad becomes a good lunch.

Easyfoodsmith 13/5/21 19:13

I already love any dish that says garlic :D

Marissa 14/5/21 17:47

I love barley in soups, but haven't used it for salad. Love this idea, Angie!

Julie 14/5/21 17:56

filling and protein packed meal,loved it!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen 14/5/21 18:44

A colorful and delicious salad! I'm so impressed with the wild garlic leaves. Are they also called ramps?


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