Pearl Barley ‘Rainbow’ Salad With Lime & Ginger Dressing

I’ve been reading my favourite cookbook again, The Rodale Whole Foods Cookbook, and it gave me a few ideas for pulse and grains combinations for the summer. This week, I’ve chosen a grain I’ve been meaning to start using in salads again: pearl barley.

In the UK, it’s mostly cooked in stews and soups. In France, there was a fad for instant barley salads in the 80s. Cooking barley can be time consuming; 1 hour and 15 minutes, but if you have a pressure cooker you’re in for a great wholesome treat. The texture is fantastic in salads, and in this one, I’ve played with soft (butternut squash, lentils, barley) and crunchy (red pepper, spring onion, red cabbage). It’s also a ‘rainbow on a plate’ kind of dish packed with proteins, vitamins and antioxidants.

Because lentils and barley are a bit bland, I’ve made a zesty, tangy and spicy dressing – fresh ginger, garlic, lime and lemon juice – to go with it.

A very refreshing and healthy dish for summer.

serves 4 people

preparation: 1 hour


  • 200 gr. green lentils
  • 200 gr. pearl barley
  • 4 spring onions
  • 2 red peppers
  • half a butternut squash
  • 1/4 of a red cabbage


  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. mild chilli powder
  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 2 limes
  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar

Cook the green lentils. I use my pressure for stews but lentils tend to explode, so for salads I cook them traditionally, which takes 35-40 minutes.

Cook the pearl barley in a pressure cooker.

Dice and steam the butternut squash for 30 minutes.

Leave lentils, barley and squash to cool down in a big salad dish and put in the fridge.

Chop the spring onions. Grate the red cabbage. Dice the red pepper. Add to the barley-lentil-squash mix.
Prepare the dressing: in a small bowl, put salt, sugar and spices. Add grated fresh ginger and finely chopped -or grated- garlic. Add the juice of the lemon and limes. Finally add the olive oil little by little and stir well.


7 responses to “Pearl Barley ‘Rainbow’ Salad With Lime & Ginger Dressing

  1. Amazing, I do love pearl barley since my last Russia visit and the combination with green lentils and red cabbage sounds delish. Perfect summer recipe.

  2. Pingback: Organic On A Budget Grocery Haul « healthninja·

  3. I would rather have the pearl barley cooked the long 1h 15m traditional way – preserve as much nutrition as you can. Thanks for this tasty and nutritional recipe.

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