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Barley Butternut Squash Salad

This barley butternut squash salad is filled with pomegranate, dried cranberries and rosemary. It’s tossed with a tangy cranberry vinaigrette dressing and perfect for your holiday table.

I’m having an internal debate as I sit here in 80 something degree weather with Caribbean blue skies and water, palm trees swaying and a slew of fun frozen drinks at my disposal.

Do I really care that I’m missing Thanksgiving this year?

Half of me says “Girl, are you crazy? THIS is the life you were meant to live. You’re sitting outside in the sand getting tan while your husband is at home feeding a wood stove and putting on a down jacket, hat and gloves just to go outside.”

The other (nostalgic) half of me is saying “Of course you do. Ain’t no pina colada (even if it’s made with nutmeg and tastes like an amazing frozen eggnog slushie) gonna make up for missing mom’s stuffing!”

Barley butternut squash salad

And then there’s this salad that I’ve partnered with the Grain Foods Foundation on.

It’s a hearty combination of cooked barley, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar roasted butternut squash.

There’s a bright refreshing pomegranate dressing that gets drizzled and tossed into the squash salad making for one heck of a Thanksgiving side dish.

Barley butternut squash salad with pomegranate and cranberries

Our holidays are never complete without butternut squash somehow incorporated in the menu but when it comes to Thanksgiving, another mashed squash or potato is just kind of boring.

Pairing the butternut with the healthy, hearty barley is a fun twist on a grain salad and could even be used in place of stuffing if you’re looking for an easy (but just as delicious) way out.

In fact, it reminds me a lot of the stuffing in this stuffed delicata squash recipe just without the meat!

Check out my guide to winter squash or, this post on how to cook buttercup squash for other squash options you could use as substitutes in this butternut barley salad.

Barley butternut salad with cranberry vinaigrette

I’m not sure it beats Grenadian weather, but I might miss this too.


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Delicata Squash Flatbread with Pecans, Cherries and Ricotta
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Barley Butternut Squash Salad

This barley butternut squash salad is filled with pomegranate, dried cranberries and rosemary. It’s tossed with a tangy cranberry vinaigrette dressing and perfect for your holiday table.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 3/4 cup uncooked barley
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 cups chopped butternut squash about 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • cranberry vinaigrette for dressing


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine barley and water in a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to a simmer. Cook until all water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, toss butternut squash with olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet.
  • Roast squash in oven for about 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally until starting to caramelize on the edges.
  • Combine the barley, butternut squash, cranberries and pomegranate in a large bowl.
  • Season to taste with more salt, pepper and rosemary if desired.
  • Drizzle cranberry vinaigrette on top, toss again to coat and transfer to a serving bowl.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1SERVING | Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 136mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 18g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Cuisine American
Course Side Dishes
Keyword barley butternut squash salad, butternut squash salad with barley

*This post is sponsored by the Grain Foods Foundation through Collectively. All opinions, content and photography are my own. 

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

Recipe Rating

Kari@Loaves n Dishes

Wednesday 3rd of December 2014

Butternut squash & grains is waaay better than mushy squash! Hope your trip rocked!

The Buzz Around the Web #14 - Budget and the Bees

Friday 28th of November 2014

[…] so this isn’t out of character for me. Anyway, Running to the Kitchen posted this colorful barley and butternut squash salad that’s perfect for getting back on track after holiday indulgence. I bought cranberries for […]

Regan @ The Healthy Aperture Blog

Tuesday 25th of November 2014

If it makes you feel any better, I would trade places with you in a heart beat. Seriously... there will be so many Thanksgivings to spend feeding the fire, bundling up and eating Turkey... you are making a unique Thanksgiving memory. Enjoy!


Tuesday 25th of November 2014

Of COURSE you are going to feel a little nostalgic missing Thanksgiving. But enjoy where you are!

Patricia @ Grab a Plate

Monday 24th of November 2014

This is perfect, all the way around! I'm sure this tastes amazing (and the vinaigrette? yum!), and it's just so pretty, too!