Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe

A white bowl filled with barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

This Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe creates a healthy, fresh tasting salad packed with delicious fiber and protein. It’s a satisfying salad containing flavourful mushrooms and herbs mixed with a zesty vinaigrette. 

Grain based salads, mixed with amazing flavours are my summer jam. Actually, they are great all year long! Add any grain, some fresh veggies, and a stellar vinaigrette and lunch is served! I love using unique grains such as wild rice (Wild Rice Asparagus Salad) or pastas (Smoked Corn Bacon Avocado Pasta Salad) as a base to a tasty salad.

A white bowl filled with barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

Mushroom Barley Salad

Nutritious cooked pearl barley makes a hearty and healthy salad when paired with mushrooms and herbs. The grains are cooked to that perfect chewy consistency, while the zesty vinaigrette adds so much flavour.

Think of this salad as an amped up cold barley risotto. It makes a great side dish or even a nutritious main. The best thing about this salad is as it sits, it only gets more flavourful!

A white bowl filled with barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

Varieties of Cooking Barley

Hulled Barley is barley that has the entire bran layer and has been slightly milled so that only the outer husk has been removed. It is still considered a ‘whole grain’.

Pot Barley (used in this Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe) is barley with the outer husk removed and most of the barley bran still attached. Though it takes longer to cook, it has a nuttier flavour and is much higher in fiber than Pearl Barley.

Pearl Barley is barley that has been put through a pearling machine. The outer husk and bran layer have been entirely removed and the grain is polished. Pearl barley has a shorter cooking time and softer texture than Pot Barley.

You can substitute Hulled Barley or Pearl Barley for this recipe if you like. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

A black spoon containing barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

The Health Benefits of Barley

Besides being incredibly tasty with a unique texture, Barley is also very good for you. It’s high in fiber (soluble and insoluble), and all three varieties contain a significant amount of beta-glucan which reduces cholesterol levels, keeping your heart healthy.

Barley has the lowest Glycemic Index of all grains, meaning it keeps you feeling full for longer. It’s also low in sugar and fat while providing a host of essential vitamin and minerals (such as B vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids).

Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe -A white bowl filled with barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

How to Cook Barley

The most common method for cooking barley is stove top. This is the way my mom always cooked it, so I was surprised to find out that you can also cook barley in a slow cooker, a rice cooker (just use the brown rice setting), an instant pot, and even in the oven.

For this recipe, I simmered the Pot Barley stove top in a saucepan full of water. It took about 45 minutes, however, depending on the type of barley and how long it’s been in you pantry; it could take 60 minutes or longer.

Let’s face it, most of us have had that bag of barley in the pantry for years. It’s still edible, just know that you’ll be in it for the long haul. Or hull. Get it?

Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe - A black spoon containing barley, fresh herbs, and porcini mushrooms.

How to Make this Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe

As the barley is simmering, whip up the vinaigrette, chop up the red onions, and sauté the sliced mushrooms. So easy.

Now, I’ve used Porcini mushrooms in this recipe, but feel free to use any mushroom you have on hand; Brown Baby Bellas, Shiitake, King Oysters, and Chanterelles would all be delicious.

Once the barley has reached soft, yet still chewy stage it’s finished cooking. Strain any remaining liquid out of the saucepan and allow to cool for ten minutes.

Add the vinaigrette and red onions. Then allow the salad to cool to room temperature before adding the mushrooms and fresh herbs.

Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe - Close up photo of barley, mushrooms, red onions, and fresh herbs.

How to Store Mushroom Barley Salad

Store Mushroom Barley Salad in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The flavour will deepen as it sits, so this salad is a great ‘make ahead’ option.

Pinterest image for Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe showing a white bowl filled with barley, fresh herbs, mushrooms, and red onions.
Yield: 8 servings

Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe

Close up of a barley salad with red onions, herbs, and mushrooms.

This Mushroom Barley Salad Recipe makes a healthy, fresh tasting salad packed with delicious fiber and protein. It's a satisfying salad containing flavourful mushrooms and herbs mixed with a zesty vinaigrette.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes


  • 1 cup pot barley
  • 1/4 red onion; very finely diced
  • 3 medium (porcini) mushrooms; cleaned and sliced *see note
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic; minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup chives; finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parsley; chopped


  1. Add pot barley to a saucepan and add water so that it is 2 inches above the barley.
  2. Simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the barley has softened but is still al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Mix up the vinaigrette (oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper) and pour over the cooling barley.
  4. Add the red onion and mix well.
  5. Sauté the mushrooms in a pan with melted butter until they soften. Add to the barley.
  6. Allow the salad to come to room temperature, then mix in the fresh herbs.


* Fresh porcini can be difficult to source. Use any mushroom you like in place of the porcinis.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:Calories: 133Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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  1. Eden

    The title of this recipe is enough to make me want to try it, we LOVE mushrooms here! It sounds absolutely delish!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Barley and Mushrooms are just the perfect combination…

  2. Terri

    This made me realize that I don’t make nearly enough grain salads, nor do I eat barley besides soup! What a great healthy summer salad idea, with the mushrooms and the vinaigrette – yum!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Right? Barley is actually pretty easy to add to your diet…but it has to become a habit.

  3. Cynthia Priest

    How long would you cook it for in the Instant Pot? We would love to try a salad with barley in it.


    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s an excellent question Cynthia. I’ll have to give it a try and report back.

  4. Loreto Nardelli

    This salad looks amazing! I live that you used porcini mushrooms. Such huge flavor that pairs so well with the barley. Add in a vinegrette and it a true winner! Great job!👍


    1. Bernice Hill

      As you know, it’s not easy to find fresh porcinis here! When I saw them, I knew I had to buy and use them in a delicious way.

  5. Moop Brown

    Love the combination of mushroom and barley in this healthy and flavorful recipe!


    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Moop! It’s a winner!

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