Barley Kale and Cherry Salad

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

Barley kale and cherry salad

I’m trying to detox my body from the insane amount of wine and food from our trip because 1. it makes me feel better but also 2. I have the second installment of a wine & 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 & 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.

Barley kale and cherry salad

Barley Kale and Cherry Salad

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

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


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


Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen

 If you missed yesterday afternoon’s recap of our wine country trip, check it out here!

filed in: Salads
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  1. Cara

    Yeah, why is it that every time I want to “detox” I can’t shake that sweet craving either? Who are these people that can go without dessert? I hate them ;)

    I have yet to see fresh cherries anywhere – I hope we get some up here soon!

  2. Margarita

    I love fruit in salads! That’s the only way I make my salads. For some reason shoving in just greens just doesn’t work for me. Ummm, if I had those almonds in the pantry, they won’t last long. PS that picture of you smelling the rosemary from wine country is beautiful. And that picture of you at the French Laundry shows your buff arms. Jealous!

  3. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers

    Oh yummy! I am addicted to cherries right now! This is my favorite time of the year. I really need to get my butt in gear and pick some cherries, I probably have about one weekend left to do so!! So I am going to enjoy every cherry I can get right now!! Your salad sounds fantastic!!

  4. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    What a vibrant looking salad. I’ve never added cherries, well fresh ones at least, to a salad so I’m super excited to give this a try. I also have to grab one of those chocolate covered almonds at TJ’s. I forgot they had those!

  5. Kat

    I need your grocery stores because cherries havent even appeared in mine and even if they did, there is no way they’d be under $5.99/lb which is insane. ps- chocolate covered almonds are AMAZING. As are chocolate covered coffee beans.

  6. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    I know what you mean about detoxing before the next ‘toxing. I have an all-day pig pickin’ and beer drinkin’ event scheduled for this weekend. I’m looking forward to spending time with my buddies, but I’m going to need veggies next week! Lots of veggies.

  7. Cinnamon @ eatpraytri

    That bowl is pretty awesome. Score on that purchase! I think fruit and nuts are some of my favorite things in salads and I didn’t’ realize this until like maybe 5 years ago. All that time wasted…Cherries and walnuts… that’s a combo I haven’t tried before. Do your lips hurt when they swell up? That is an odd allergic reaction!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      They don’t really hurt, it’s more like a fat lip. I think it has something to do with pectin? Apples and peaches sometimes give me funny reactions too, although not fat lips but more of an itchy throat. I just make sure to have water nearby as that seems to lessen the effects and I still eat them all :)

      1. Cinnamon @ eatpraytri

        Interesting. I guess as long as they don’t hurt! I bet some movie start wish they had that issue. All that money they pay to get their lips fattened up…all they need to do is eat some cherries! HA!

  8. katie @KatieDid

    hah I’m totally on an alcohol detox right now too. I think I drank 12 out of the 14 final days of college. Not a single sip do I regret though. But ahhh water and being sober has never felt so good ;)

  9. Julie @ Table for Two

    as i was looking at your pics, when I came upon the barley pic, I was wondering — how long did it take you to clean up? i tried doing the same thing with a measuring cup of quinoa the other day and was cursing cleaning it up from my table lol…i love the gorgeous, vibrant colors of this dish. great way to detox with kale!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      haha, you’re not the first person to say that. The barley wasn’t too bad actually but I can imagine how much of a pain quinoa would’ve been! It’s so much smaller and bounces way more than barley!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      I’ve heard of this freezing Chobani thing a few times, I need to try it out!

  10. Gigi

    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!

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