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; a hearty combination of cooked barley, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar roasted butternut squash and bright refreshing pomegranate tossed together to make 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 meny 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.

Barley butternut salad with cranberry vinaigrette

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

Yield: 4-6 servings

Barley Butternut Squash Salad

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.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. Meanwhile, toss butternut squash with olive oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, rosemary, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast squash in oven for about 25-30 minutes, tossing occasionally until starting to caramelize on the edges.
  5. Combine the barley, butternut squash, cranberries and pomegranate in a large bowl.
  6. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and rosemary if desired.
  7. Drizzle cranberry vinaigrette on top, toss again to coat and transfer to a serving bowl.

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


  1. Aggie

    Ha ha I totally get it! Every year a part of me says…let’s just skip Thanksgiving and GO SOMEWHERE! But it never happens. We got close one year and my whole family stayed at a timeshare here near Disney so it felt like we were away and we really enjoyed it (had T-giving dinner in hotel room and it was fun to have a little more simple than usual). I would love to be on an island right now, enjoy it all! :) It will be a wonderful memory…

    And this salad. This salad is giving me major cravings! Looks so delicious and it’s beautiful!!

  2. Tina muir

    YES PLEASE! This sounds wonderful, and I love just about everything in it. This would be the perfect side for thanksgiving! I would love if you joined us for meatless monday on my blog, this would be a wonderful addition to our other thanksgiving sides :)

  3. Amy @Very Culinary

    I would trade Thanksgiving for the Caribbean in a heartbeat! I’d just make this salad when I get back! Jealous. Pinned!

  4. Natalie @ Budget and the Bees

    First, this salad looks fantastic! I’ve got most of the ingredients on hand and a new food processor arriving this week, so this will definitely make the menu. Second, you’re in Grenada!? I ran over to Facebook like I didn’t believe what I just read and needed to see more proof. Too cool! I left Grenada this summer after living there since 2011. It’s a small island and many people don’t even know it exists, so it’s always fun to find someone who has been there, too. Enjoy your time there! I can’t wait to read more about it.

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