Middle Eastern Pearl Barley Salad


It’s the hint of sweet spices, orange juice and currants that I love most in this Middle Eastern spiced pearl barley salad.  The flavours and the irresistible turmeric colouring infuse into the nutty pearl barley, making every mouthful layered with taste. A sprinkling of toasted almonds, garnished over the top, adds the perfect and necessary crunchy texture to this salad.

So it’s no surprise when people ask me to ‘bring a salad’ this is often the one I resort to.

If this post is looking different to how it usually appears I’ve been tweaking a new look for the site, a modernised look, one that displays better on smaller devices and smart phones. I’m compiling a favourites recipe index with direct links to popular recipes, which you’ll find in the menu bar at the top of the screen. You can still click on the categories, they are now found above each recipe title, and you can still hit the ‘follow me’ button now found below the comments feed.  Let me know what you think.

dsc_0058This salad doubles as a side dish, and it works served either cold or served warm. Try it with these barbecued lamb skewers, or even this delicious Moroccan roasted chicken .

It combines effortlessly with an arrangement of other salads, like with this roasted cauliflower salad, or this Kale and pickled carrot slaw.

Lets face it, dried grains, particularly pearl barley, are a very affordable way of feeding people. And unlike some of the other more robust pulses (chickpeas or black beans) pearl barley can be cooked straight from the packet, no pre soaking required. It makes it an excellent choice for those who forget to plan ahead – or for those who tend to leave cooking to the last minute.

Because of the filling nature of grain salads there are often left overs (I’m not complaining). Put them to good use. I sometimes fry up any remaining pearl barley and eat it rolled in a wrap the next day with some tahini, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and green salad leaves.  It’s perfect lunch time fare.


Middle Eastern Pearl Barley Salad


1 cup pearl barley

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, roughly chopped

1 stick celery, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp all spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp cumin

1/3 cup dried currants

1 orange

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/3 cup toasted slithered almonds

Place the pearl barley in a pot, cover with plenty of water, bring to the boil and cook for 35 – 40 minutes or till pearl barley is just cooked through. Drain and rinse briefly under hot water, set aside.

Meanwhile, place the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery in a food processor and blitz lightly to a small dice.

Warm 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan, add the vegetables, all the spices and a large pinch of salt, stir and cover with a lid, cook on a gentle heat for 5 minutes.

Zest half the orange, then juice the whole orange. Add the orange zest and juice to the saucepan along with the currants, cover with a lid again and cook a further five minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for flavours to infuse for 10 minutes.

Place the spiced vegetables and currants in a medium bowl, add the cooked pearl barley and chopped parsley, stir well to combine. Check the seasoning, and drizzle with a little more extra virgin oil if needed.

Serve on a platter or in a large bowl and scatter with the toasted almonds.

Any left overs store in the fridge for 2-3 days.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Love the spices and orange in it. Looks delicious! 🙂

  2. Hi Michelle, the new format looks great! I haven’t checked it out on a mobile device, but I expect that the posts arranged in boxes simply line themselves up as you scroll down the page. Nice to have a blog spring-clean 🙂

    1. It is nice to freshen things up a bit. Spring is in the air.

  3. Andrea says:

    Yum Michelle !!!!
    It’s on my list I’m going to make it.
    What are your cravings ?

    1. Hey Andrea, funnily enough I’ve been craving masses of fruit! Bananas, orange juice, blueberries, kiwi fruit… Of course there’s been an odd snickers bar or two, ha, that seems to hit the spot. We must grab that cuppa before baby’s arrival. xx

  4. ladyredspecs says:

    Delicious salad, I use similar flavours with millet and rice too.

  5. mawarre says:

    This looks really delicious – I might try it with farro. Great combination of textures and flavours. Thanks so much for sharing. margaret

    1. Yes absolutely, faro would be a lovely substitute to the pearl barley Margaret.

  6. Wow this looks gorgeous! Am always on the hunt for something different in the salad department 😊

  7. harrietday98 says:

    This is full of colors and sounds lush! I’ll be making this soon!!

  8. elliebleu says:

    This salad looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it out on my family. Thank you for the recipe.

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