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.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Barley Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, satisfying vegetarian barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style. Tons of flavor from fresh herbs, spices and a simple zesty dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Recipe from TheMediterraneandish.com #barley #barleysalad #roastedvegetables #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanfood

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.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Barley Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, satisfying vegetarian barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style. Tons of flavor from fresh herbs, spices and a simple zesty dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Recipe from TheMediterraneandish.com #barley #barleysalad #roastedvegetables #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanfood

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.

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Barley Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, satisfying vegetarian barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style. Tons of flavor from fresh herbs, spices and a simple zesty dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Recipe from TheMediterraneandish.com #barley #barleysalad #roastedvegetables #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanfood

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:

Mushroom Barley Soup

Sicilian-Style Fish Stew Recipe

Mediterranean Bean Soup

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Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Barley Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, satisfying vegetarian barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style. Tons of flavor from fresh herbs, spices and a simple zesty dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Recipe from TheMediterraneandish.com #barley #barleysalad #roastedvegetables #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanfood

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables Barley Recipe


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4.9 from 53 reviews

Description

Easy roasted vegetable barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style with fresh herbs, spices, citrus and extra virgin olive oil.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 cup/163 g dry pearl barley, washed
  • water
  • 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)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. When barley is ready, drain any excess water. Season with salt, pepper, ½ teaspoon harissa spice and ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika. Toss to combine.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold! Enjoy.

Notes

  • 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

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Barley Recipe | The Mediterranean Dish. Easy, satisfying vegetarian barley recipe, prepared Mediterranean style. Tons of flavor from fresh herbs, spices and a simple zesty dressing. Perfect for meal prep. Recipe from TheMediterraneandish.com #barley #barleysalad #roastedvegetables #mediterraneandiet #mediterraneanfood

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Jessica says:

    Barley is such an under appreciated grain in this country. Great side dish. I’ve been experimenting with lots of recipes on the site and only now have gotten around to reviewing some of the ones I’ve tried. Excellent site.






    1. TMD Team says:

      You are very sweet, Jessica! Thanks for taking a few moments to review what you've tried. Very helpful to us and other readers!

  2. Belinda Adkins says:

    Very tasty and easy to make! I was going to do some cod fillets but got lazy and decided to just go vegetarian. Thank you for such delicious recipes, Suzy!






  3. Sandi says:

    I made this wonderful recipe tonight. I didn’t have harissa powder so I called a friend who also did not have it however she had the paste. This gave it some delicious heat. Since I was doubling the recipe I played it safe and did not double the paste. I’m sure it will be a hit tomorrow at lunch.






    1. TMD Team says:

      Thanks for sharing, Sandi!

  4. Una says:

    Simple easy recipe packed with flavour. I teamed it up with the lemon garlic baked cod but happily ate the leftovers as a main.






  5. Phillip Minyard says:

    How much salt and black pepper as a starting point? To taste is too vague. Thanks.

    1. TMD Team says:

      I'm sorry, Phillip. It's just not something we measured for here because everyone has such a different preference. You can maybe start with a pinch or two (1/8 - 1/4 tsp). It really just depends what you like.

  6. Diane says:

    I admit I tweaked it before trying as is- but we enjoyed our final result. Oatislly toasted the barley then cooked it in chicken broth instead of water, added a bit of salt and a clive of garlic. (Did not add the garlic later). Sauteed a bunch of mushrooms with some of the onion. Roasted the veggies but added broccolli and carrots. Definetly add the toasted pine nuts and feta. Plenty of leftovers!






    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Diane!

      1. Diane says:

        forgive the typos above. I'm munching on some room temp. leftovers for lunch right now. Yum!!!! An (unnecessary) idea, but I'm thinking that if we wanted to obsess, a bit of chopped kalamata could be yummy in the room temp leftovers. Also, I hadnt worked with Harissa much at all previous to this - but I was a bit more generous with it (some went into the cooking barley, some into the sauteed 'shrooms, and tossed with the roasted veggies). It gave some heat but not overwhelming (might be my brand of Harissa).
        Thank you again for a delicious and satisfying recipe!

      2. Suzy says:

        So glad you enjoyed it, Diane!

  7. Usha says:

    Hello Susy
    I just made this and came out very nice, I did not use feta cheese, instead of pine nuts I added roasted crushed peanuts, thanks for sharing this recipe.

    1. Suzy says:

      That sounds delicious, Usha! Thank you for sharing!

  8. Nicolette Williams says:

    This sounds delicious and I'm really looking forward to trying it. I tend to batch cook and freeze to save time....do you think it woud freeze okay, Suzy? Thanks

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Nicolette. I may, but it's not something we've tested with this particular recipe.

  9. Janet Ramirez says:

    Third week in a row that I made this recipe, and this time I doubled the recipe because my sons liked it too! Really great healthy substitute for rice. Oh, and I also tried your Easy Mediterranean Lemon Chicken. Absolutely delicious and the barley salad was a wonderful side dish to it. I marinated several batches of the chicken thighs and it has made dinner quite an easy task! Thanks for this great recipes. I look forward to trying your other recipes!

    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Janet!

  10. Melissa says:

    This is my second time making this dish and I love it! I definitely start the barley per the recipe's instructions as it takes longer than the roasted veggies. This time, I had some leftover mushrooms and cut them up and added them fresh in the bowl when stirring everything at the end! Love this dish and am so happy you shared. Love a good 'go-to' that's simple, healthy, and delicious! Thanks!! I'll continue to spread the love!






    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks so much, Melissa!

  11. Katy says:

    Hi Suzy,
    Just a quick question. My husband is on a low sodium diet. I've noticed that for the majority of your recipes, you don't specify the amount of salt to use, but they have sodium values in the nutritional facts. What is the sodium content based on? Does it assume no added salt or a specific amount not specified in the recipe?
    Thanks!

    1. Suzy says:

      Hi, Katy. We often leave the amount the salt up to the reader because everyone's needs are different. The calculation of most of our recipes assumes a teaspoon of kosher salt, although don't forget that other foods in the recipe may also contain some sodium.

  12. chelsea Wallis says:

    this was a great dish. We enjoyed it. Don't skimp on the feta cheese and pine nuts. those make the dish very tasty






  13. Jenny says:

    I am sorry but this dish is not good at all, missing flavors. You can only taste the parsley and the extra spicyness from the harissa.






    1. Asta says:

      Salt and season to *your* taste. More oil, more acid, whatever you, as a curious cook, think would enhance it to your palate. When you think you have reached the end product, share and let others try your tweaks and they may provide feedback- and be gracious about that feedback. It's how people grown and learn. Dumping a negative and unhelpful comment without even trouble-shooting to improve your end result is like yelling into the wind.

      Cooking is, after all, progressive experimentation.

  14. Dyanarra says:

    Second time making this deliciousness! Thank you for the recipe! Made me use barley for the first time as well 😄






  15. Kim says:

    Very good and so healthy!






    1. Suzy says:

      Thanks, Kim!

  16. Stefani says:

    One of my favorite recipes so far this year! I like to double the harissa and found this as a great recipe to add some preserved lemons to as well. Also great with a bit of arugula mixed in!






    1. Suzy says:

      Wonderful! Thanks for sharing your ideas, Stefani!