Toasted Barley and Black Bean Salad


Here’s another salad that you can make the way you like it: with the vegetables we’ve suggested, or your own favorites. We’ve toasted the barley to give it some nuttiness but if you don’t have the time or desire, simply skip the first step and proceed with the recipe.

kitchen gear

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife (adult needed)
  • Measuring cup
  • Medium-sized pot with lid
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large bowl
  • Measuring spoons



  • 1 cup hulled or pearled barley (not quick-cooking)
  • 2 1⁄2 cups water
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 scallions, greens and whites chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • 3⁄4 cup green beans, chopped
  • 1⁄2 bell pepper (any color is fine), stemmed, seeded and chopped



  • Put the barley in the dry pot. Put the pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off. Gradually, just a little bit at a time, add the water. Turn the heat back on to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes. Don’t peek.
  • Set aside until cooled, stirring occasionally.
  • Put the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper in the bowl. When the barley has cooled, add it and stir well.
  • Add the black beans, scallions, cucumber, green beans, and bell pepper and stir well. Now taste the salad. Does it need more lemon juice, mustard, or salt? If so, add it and taste again.
  • Serve right away or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days. 



Barley is a grain that is similar to rice, but it is nuttier and chewier. It’s mostly found in soups, but its firm texture makes it great for salads. It also makes a great stand-in for steel-cut oats as a new and different breakfast cereal. Hulled (or pearled) barley is barley that’s had it’s tough outer skin removed so that it cooks more quickly.

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