A super-food kinda day over here! This roasted vegetable barley recipe is prepared Mediterranean-style...chockful of flavor, texture and goodness. Bonus, you can make this ahead as part of your meal-prep! Omit the feta for a vegan option. Learn more about this ancient grain called barley and check out all the options to serve this barley recipe below.
I love a versatile dish that you can serve as light dinner, lunch, side, or a satisfying salad to feed a crowd. Even better, if it works for meal-prep and can be divided and stored in the fridge for later. This Mediterranean roasted vegetables and barley recipe is all this and more!
More about this Vegetarian Barley Recipe
Barley is a great ancient grain that's been used in Mediterranean cooking for many years--in savory recipes like today's vegetable barley or Soupe Jo (Persian Chicken Barley Soup), and in sweet ones like this delicious burbara pudding.
It's not as popular as say quinoa or wild rice, but it has a lot of great health benefits. Barley provides a good range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. And because it's so fiber-rich, barley is a great ingredient to use if you're looking to looking to add volume to augment a meal.
In this recipe, cooked pearl barley amps up my roasted veggies, turning them into a gloriously rich and satisfying dish by adding lots of volume and texture.
My spices of choice for this recipe are all-natural harissa spice and smoked paprika. Both adding depth and playing up the sweetness of the roasted veggies and earthiness of the barley. If you're not familiar, Harissa is a fragrant spice blend of three different kinds of chili along with sumac, caraway, fennel, cumin, coriander, garlic and peppermint. It's very unique, really. And it does not make this recipe spicy, but it adds a welcomed kick and a sweet North African aroma.
What kind of barley to use in this vegetarian barley recipe?
So, this is a pearled barley recipe. If you prefer to use hulled barley, it is certainly a healthier choice, but will increase the cooking time quite a bit (I would budget another 30 ore more.)
Pearl barley is more readily available in stores. It has been polished, or “pearled” to remove some or all of the outer bran layer along with the hull; this is why it cooks faster. Technically, pearl barley is bit of a refined grain, but still healthy and very good for you.
What to serve along?
If like, add your favorite protein such as this lemon chicken or a simple pan-seared salmon or this baked salmon. I often serve this barley as the star dish next to other vegetarian items like roasted garlic hummus and falafel patties.
More recipes to try:
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Easy roasted vegetable barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style with fresh herbs, spices, citrus and extra virgin olive oil.
- 1 cup/163 g dry pearl barley, washed
- 2 whole zucchini squash, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, cored, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, diced
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons harissa spice or baharat, divided
- ¾ tsp/ 1.95 g smoked paprika, divided
- Early Harvest Greek extra virgin olive oil
- 2 scallions (green onions), trimmed and chopped (both whites and greens)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 oz / 56 g chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp/30 ml fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Feta cheese, to taste (optional)
- Toasted pine nuts, to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place pearl barley and 2 ½ cups water in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Cover and cook anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes or until the barley is cooked through (should be tender but maintains some chew.)
- While barley is cooking, place diced vegetables (zucchini, bell peppers, and red onion) on a large baking sheet. Season with salt, pepper, 1 ½ teaspoon harissa spice, and ½ teaspoon smoked paprika. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Toss to coat. Spread evenly in one layer on the baking sheet. Roast in heated oven for 25 minutes or so.
- When barley is ready, drain any excess water. Season with salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon harissa spice and ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika. Toss to combine.
- Transfer cooked barley to a large mixing bowl. Add roasted veggies. Add chopped scallions, garlic, and fresh parsley. Dress with lemon juice and a good drizzle of Early Harvest extra virgin olive oil. Toss. If you like, top with crumbled feta and toasted pine nuts.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold! Enjoy.
- Prepare ahead notes: If you don't plan to have this barley dish the same day you cook it, it's best if you don't dress it with the lemon juice and olive oil until a few minutes before you are ready to serve it. Also hold off on adding the feta and pine nuts until ready. It will keep well in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in a tight lid container.
- Recommended for this recipe: harissa spice blend and smoked paprika from our all-natural spice collections. SAVE! Create your own 6-pack or 3-pack of spices!
- Recommended for this recipe: for best taste, highly recommend Early Harvest or Private Reserve Greek extra virgin olive oil (from organically grown and processed Koroneiki olives.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Category: Salad
- Method: Roasted
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: barley recipe, barley salad, pearl barley, how to cook pearl barley