This barley chicken salad is more like salad for dinner because it’s so hearty! Tossed in a simple herb vinaigrette, the flavours really shine in this light and easy summer salad. Serve it cold or warm because this is also perfect for meal prep.
This post happened after multiple scoops of ice cream. Roasted Almond. How I love the flavor. Nutty, woody and that sweet sweet ice cream. I still can’t get over it. Or this Barley Chicken Salad with Herb Vinaigrette.
The guilt of eating too much ice cream took over and I decided to whip this up. I recently bought some Pearl Barley after I saw a few recipes on Pinterest. I had only heard of Barley water till now, which is fed to people with an upset stomach. In fact that’s the first thing my mom mentioned when she saw me cooking Barley but you can make this salad with any whole grain. It’s also a great way to use leftover brown rice.
Barley as a grain is a powerhouse. We’ve used Pearl Barley in the recipe which cooks in approx 25 minutes. Just bring barley, water and salt to a boil. Once it boils, reduce it to a simmer and cover and cook for approx 25-30 minutes till the barley is tender. Drain if necessary and its ready. You will need 3 cups water for 1 cup pearl barley.
I love this herb vinaigrette. I used basil and coriander (cilantro) in the vinaigrette but you can use basil and mint, or coriander and mint or basil, coriander and mint. Its bright, fresh and has a lovely colour that stays green for some time.
By the way, it took me multiple tries to get the spelling right. Just between you and me, if you ask me now, I still won’t be able to tell. But this vinaigrette is oh so delicious. I can literally have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I kinda did too but I can’t be blamed and you will have to try it for yourself to agree!
Cooking the Chicken
I like using Chicken Breasts in salad. I’ve seasoned this lightly with salt, chilli powder (cayenne) and pepper. For a medium sized chicken, I like cooking it for 4 minutes on each side or till the internal temperature reaches 165F. Then I let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Finally Assembling the Salad
I like to start by tossing cooked barley and chopped veggies with two tablespoons of the vinaigrette first. Then adding the chicken, a little more vinaigrette and giving it another toss.
Vegetarians: If you are vegetarian, don’t worry, you can easily toss some paneer (cottage cheese), roasted potatoes, grilled portobello mushrooms or cauliflower steaks to make this a vegetarian salad meal.
And you can store the dressing for a couple of days in the fridge. Though it may not last. I even dunked some toast into it and drizzled it on eggs this morning. Bah. I can keep talking about it but you don’t have to listen. Go make this salad. Now. I insist.
Watch Barley Chicken Salad Recipe Video
This post was originally published on March 13, 2015 and has been updated on 5 May 2020 with new pictures, video and improved recipe and writing for better success with the recipe.Print
This barley salad with herb vinaigrette is a great way to use up left over veggies and grains. Add some meat and it becomes a great lunch or dinner option.
For the Chicken:
- 1 Chicken Breast
- 1/2 teaspoon Chilli Powder (Cayenne Pepper)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Pepper Powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Olive Oil
For the Vinaigrette
- 1 packed cup Fresh Herbs (3/4 cup basil + 1/4 cup Coriander)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 1 tablespoon White Vinegar
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
- 1 cup cooked Pearl Barley (or brown rice, white rice, wild rice, quinoa)
- 3/4 cup chopped Vegetables (sweet corn, bell peppers, cucumber, onions)
- 1 cup chopped Lettuce
- Rub chilli powder, pepper and salt on both sides of the chicken breast and let it sit for 10 minutes. Heat olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken breast on medium high heat for 4 minutes on each side or till the internal temperature registers 165F. Once cooked, let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- For the vinaigrette, pulse all the ingredients together in a food processor or mixer grinder till almost smooth. You should be able to see small speckles of the green goodness.
- Toss the barley, chopped vegetables and lettuce with two tablespoons vinaigrette. Then add the sliced chicken and pour more vinaigrette on top. You may be left with some vinaigrette which can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Serve cold or warm.
- Cooking Barley: To cook Barley, combine water and barley in a 3:1 ratio in a pot. Season with salt. Bring this to a boil and then reduce the flame. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes approx. Add more water in between if necessary. Drain any excess water once its cooked.
- Make this vegetarian: To make this salad vegetarian, swap out the chicken for paneer, roasted potatoes, portobello mushrooms, cauliflower steaks or tofu.