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.
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!
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.
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).
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?
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.
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.
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