This barley kale and cherry salad is tossed with toasted walnuts for a hearty and healthy summer side dish.

Barley kale and cherry salad
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I’m trying to detox my body from the insane amount of wine and food from our Napa trip because 1. it makes me feel better but also 2. I have the second installment of a wine and cheese night with friends this Saturday. I’m hoping that by shoving greens and water down my throat I’ll at least be able to look at wine again in 6 days without wanting to gag a little.

Funny enough, even after all that rich food, it’s been hard to curb sweets. I got used to dessert after every meal and with no goat cheesecake, caramel popcorn or lemon shortbread and blueberries anywhere in sight, I feel like I’m going through withdrawal.

If this is what it feels like with food, I think I’ll refrain from the drugs.

Barley kale and cherry salad

Cherries caught my eye the other day when I was restocking the fridge (apparently Ulysses new found joy of cooking does not carry over to grocery shopping) and even though they make my lips swell up (some sort of random allergic reaction that happens to me occasionally), I have a hard time passing them up when they’re under $2 a pound. So in the cart they went destined for this salad.

Ok, not really. I had no intention of doing anything but eating handfuls of them at a time but then that sweet craving kicked in around lunchtime yesterday and this somehow materialized.

Kale and cherry salad with barley

Fruit in salad for some sweetness in an attempt to kick that sweet craving to the curb in a healthful way. Feta would’ve been awesome in here too but my little Greek man of a husband doesn’t allow that to sit around very long in our house. He goes through it like water and not the expensive $5.99/lb it is.

It’s light, slightly sweet and coated in a pesto type dressing. Also, kale is way more fun to eat when it’s been “ribbonized”.

Barley salad with cherries and kale

This worked for about 2 hours until I grabbed one of these. Almost a win.

Need another barley salad to try? This barley summer salad is a great light meal and this barley salad with mango is also a fun way to combine fruit and grains.

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Barley Kale and Cherry Salad

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Barley kale and cherry salad
This barley kale and cherry salad is tossed with toasted walnuts for a hearty and healthy summer side dish.


  • 3 cups cooked barley, from about 1 cup uncooked
  • 1 cup cherries, pitted & halved
  • 3 1/2 cups kale, sliced into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons basil, torn
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt & pepper


  • Combine barley, kale and cherries in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Combine remaining ingredients except walnuts in a food processor and process until it reaches a dressing like consistency (about 30 seconds).
  • Pour dressing over salad and season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Top with toasted walnuts.
  • Serve room temperature or chilled.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 387kcalCarbohydrates: 58gProtein: 7gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 14gSodium: 141mgFiber: 9gSugar: 16g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads
Cuisine: American


Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

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

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  1. Made this last night…loved it as a side to our grilled portobello burgers. Would probably make more dressing though…barley kinda swallowed it up and I wanted more pesto-y flavor!

  2. I love cherries this time of year! My detox ideas are always tougher than I expected, but fruit gets me through. I also like freezing Chobanis for a bedtime snack!

  3. Oh, I absolutely love barley and cherries. I will have to try this recipe. Thank you. I am your newest follower on twitter.

  4. This loks so good! I’ve been eating tons of salad recently, and this recipe looks completely delicious. Can’t wait to try it.

  5. Salads are a great way to detox! I love this salad and the addition of the cherries!!