Barley, Beetroot & Feta Salad

barley, beetroot and feta salad


When I started my job a few months ago I decided that instead of having sandwiches everyday which can get a bit boring, I would start making interesting salads for myself a few days a week instead. As a PhD student I would work from home most of the time and eat whatever I felt like having at the time, this often involved cheese on toast and less often some kind of salad depending on what was in the fridge.

After making various different salads with lentils, beans or barley over the past couple of months to keep me going all afternoon, I decided that this barley salad was my favourite. There’s nothing fancy here and pearl barley is a very cheap ingredient (not just for stews), handy when I was in my first month of work and absolutely skint awaiting my first pay day. On days when I’ve not been very organised, and now that I am less skint, I have bought salads for lunch from the campus shop or the nearby M&S garage and have always found them to be either too salty or not very exciting. This is enough motivation for me to make sure that I keep on making my own lunchbox salads because they taste better and I know exactly what’s in them.


barley, beetroot and feta salad


Barley, Beetroot & Feta Salad
Prep time
Total time
Easy to prepare and perfect for office lunches or a lighter dinner.
Recipe type: Lunch
Serves: 3-4
  • 150g pearl barley dry weight, cooked according to packet instructions, drained and cooled
  • 4 large handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • 1 medium cucumber, diced
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 300g cooked beetroot, diced
  • 220g cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 200g feta cheese, cubed
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 tbsp cider vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  1. Place the salad leaves in a large serving dish or divide between tupperware boxes then top with the barley, spring onion, cucumber, beetroot, tomatoes and feta.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar and seasoning, drizzle the dressing over the salad then sprinkle over the chopped mint.
  3. If preparing this for lunchboxes pour the dressing into a small screw top pot and pour over the salad when you're ready to eat. This stops the leaves from going soggy and prevents lunchbox leakages in your bag.


For more lunchbox salad inspiration check out these recipes:

Chilli prawn pasta salad

Vegetable rice quinoa salad

Greek pasta salad

For more inspiration cooking with pearl barley try these ideas:

Squid and barley risotto

Mushroom spinach and barley bake

Pearl barley risotto

I’m linking up my salad with Jacquline’s Meat Free Mondays, No Croutons Required run by Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa’s Kitchen and Recipe of the Week.


logo recipe-of-the-week (1) meat free mondays logo (1)

  • Fareeha - faskitchen
    May 12, 2015 at 7:20 am

    I guess, there is never going to another dull and boring meal making such salads.. Looks yummy and delicious, Jen. I love the feta on the salad. Looks to pleasing to the eye
    Fareeha – faskitchen recently posted…Tawa Pulao Recipe-How to make Tawa PulaoMy Profile

  • Keep Calm and Fanny On
    May 12, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    I really need to make more salads for lunch, am guilty of picking things up on the hop! This looks ideal…
    Keep Calm and Fanny On recently posted…Blowing Hot and ColdMy Profile

  • Spring green quinoa salad by How to cook good food
    May 12, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    […] Barley, beetroot & Feta salad – Jen’s food […]

  • Helen
    May 12, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    That looks yum! I usually end up having last night’s leftovers for lunch, but I really should make more effort. Maybe salads are the way forward, especially as summer approaches. Mmmm.
    Helen recently posted…Easy ‘sideways’ potato gratinMy Profile

  • Camilla
    May 13, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Oh wow Jen you’ve really nailed photography and I love this salad which is like a Bulgur Wheat Salad but with barley – genius, must try it myself:-)
    Camilla recently posted…Win a VonShef Multifunctional Soup Maker from Domu rrp £99.99My Profile

  • Laura
    May 13, 2015 at 8:10 am

    This really does sound gorgeous. I’m one of those constantly hungry people so sales hardly ever appeal to me but this is one I’ll defintely be giving a try.
    Laura recently posted…New Method Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  • Sarah Maison Cupcake
    May 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

    There would be no sneaking to the fridge mid afternoon if you had this for lunch, looks very satisfying!
    Sarah Maison Cupcake recently posted…Uptown Burger Co and where else to eat burgers around WalthamstowMy Profile

  • Corina
    May 13, 2015 at 9:49 am

    I love pearl barley in a salad too. When I was working I used to try and make salads to take with me and always felt healthier than when I just ate a sandwich. Now I’m at home I also resort to cheese on toast far too often so really must try and motivate myself again.
    Corina recently posted…Lemon, Barley and Basil SaladMy Profile

  • sarah
    May 13, 2015 at 9:54 am

    I could definitely do with big bowl of this! Looks lovely. 🙂
    sarah recently posted…Quick Chicken, Sweet Potato and Chickpea CurryMy Profile

  • Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche
    May 13, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Love how colourful this looks! I need to make more salads!

  • Laura@howtocookgoodfood
    May 13, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I love salads for lunch too and adding a decent amount of veg plus some barley would definitely keep me going until tea time. I agree it will taste far superior to the shop bought salads and has no preservatives plus it’s cheaper so well done!

  • Elizabeth
    May 14, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Oooh I love the sound of this so much! This is just my kind of salad! Beautiful photograph too – it makes me want to jump right in and start scoffing!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Fruity Classic Yogi Tea Loaf {and a Yogi Tea Hamper Giveaway!}My Profile

  • Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs
    May 14, 2015 at 9:21 am

    What a fab way to use pearl barley! I’ve mainly been using the big bag lurking at the back of our cupboard to make risotto but this salad sounds delicious. I’ll have to convince the OH to give this a go!
    Emma @ Supper in the Suburbs recently posted…Profiterole Celebration CakeMy Profile

  • Joanne/WineLady Cooks
    May 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    I love this delicious, healthy and colorful salad. Definitely adding this to my ‘must make’ summer recipes.

  • Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla
    May 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I love beetroot and feta combo, we often make it with pasta but barley do sounds like a much healthier option! 🙂 Than you for sharing.
    Margot @ Coffee & Vanilla recently posted…Ultimate Beetroot Brownies with CoconutMy Profile

  • Lisa
    May 25, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Such a beautiful salad. I am really impressed that you included beets here along with the barley. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for sharing with NCR.
    Lisa recently posted…Chickpea, Olive and Feta Salad with Chat Masala DressingMy Profile

  • Emily Leary
    May 28, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    That looks delicious. A perfect summer salad in my book.