Recipe: Barley Tomato Feta Salad

Barley, Salad

To celebrate her incredible new book; Veggie-licious, Australian nutritionist Caroline Trickey is back with this fresh, tasty and easy-to-whip-up Barley Salad!


Barley is my all-time favourite go-to grain for so many dishes, but especially as a base for tasting, filling salads like this one. It’s got a lovely gentle nutty flavour and a fabulous chewy texture. It’s incredibly low GI and full of wonderful fibres including soluble fibre which is great to feed the healthy bacteria in your gut and can lower LDL cholesterol. I like to make large batches of pesto in spring and summer when fresh basil is at its best and freeze it in ice-cube trays so I always have some on hand and can quickly whip up this salad. If you don’t have access to fresh pesto, just use roughly chopped fresh basil, but lots of it!

From “veggie-licious” – how to cook with lentils, chickpeas, beans, tofu and eat more plant-based foods by Caroline Trickey – Culinary Nutritionist & Dietitian

Barley is one of my favourite grains to use, especially in salads. It tastes great, is cheap, has a lovely nutty flavour and chewy texture. It can be used to make risottos, soups and salads, like this one, which is one of my favourite quick and easy salads. I love this salad’s simplicity, yet it has an amazing blend of textures and flavours.


Serves 6 • prep time 20 mins • cook time 40 mins • almost 1 serve of veg per serve



1 cup pearl barley

⅓ cup pine nuts

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved

250 grams punnet cherry tomatoes, cut in half if large (or grape or pear tomatoes)

100 grams rocket or baby spinach leaves

80 grams feta, crumbled


1 clove garlic, crushed

¼ cup lemon juice (juice of approx. 1 lemon) or apple cider vinegar

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup fresh pesto

fresh basil leaves, for garnish



1 Place barley in a saucepan with 1.5 L (6 cups) water, cover with lid and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for approximately 25–40 minutes or until just tender. Drain well.

2 Toast the pine nuts in a pan with a drizzle of oil for a few minutes until they become golden brown. Set aside.

3 To make the dressing, place garlic, lemon juice, oil and pesto in a screw-top jar and shake well.

4 Place the cooked barley in a large mixing bowl, pour over dressing and toss gently to combine.

5 Add olives, tomatoes, rocket and feta cheese. Sprinkle with pine nuts and fresh basil leaves just before serving.



• Use ½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil in place of pesto in the dressing

• Use bocconcini cheese in place of feta cheese

• Add avocado or roasted capsicum

• Use spelt berries or freekah in place of barley

• For a gluten free option, replace barley with a mixture of buckwheat and quinoa

• For a vegan version, replace feta with a vegan cheese or omit altogether and add extra pine nuts



● To cook barley in the pressure cooker, add 3 cups of water to 1 cup of barley and cook under pressure for 5 minutes.

● Given that olives and feta are quite salty, there is no need to add salt to this salad.

● Barley is full of soluble fibre, which can lower your cholesterol, and resistant starch, to lower your bowel cancer risk and feed the good bacteria in your gut.


Connect with Caroline:

Instagram: @carolinetrickeydietician

Twitter: @carolinetrickey