Skip to Content

Summer Barley Salad

A quick and delicious summer barley salad recipe with zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese to celebrate the end of summer.

I made this summer barley salad about a week ago and figured I better post about it soon before the title becomes a little obsolete!

If you’re anything like me, you still have a few zucchini on hand even though pumpkin and butternut squash are slowly taking over your thoughts day by day.

If so, I implore you to make this “salad.”

You won’t be disappointed.

A quick and delicious summer barley salad recipe with zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese to celebrate the end of summer.

Barley is one of my favorite “new” grains. I say “new” because prior to last year I had never cooked it myself.

It seemed intimidating and something I’d only find in soups and dishes at a restaurant. That couldn’t be further from the truth though.

You can cook barley the same way you do rice, 2:1 water to grain. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the liquid is absorbed.

Easy peasy.

It has a fun chewy texture that beats out brown rice any day in my opinion. In the fall, I love it paired with pumpkin and sausage as a creamy risotto-like meal and in warmer months, it also goes well with mango, avocado and sprouts for a lighter grain salad.

Shrimp Barley Salad

At first, I was going to make this as a side dish for dinner (I made it at lunch time) and then I tasted it once it was all combined and knew there was no way I was going to be able to hold out that long.

So I said peace out to the boring hummus sandwich I had planned on and instead sautéed up some frozen shrimp for added protein and called it lunch.

I seriously could not stop eating this barley salad.

The lemony dressing gives it a tangy taste but the feta keeps it salty. Somehow, that combination works wonderfully.

If you’re too impatient to let the barley completely cool before combining everything like me, the cheese will slightly melt making it even more delicious.

Ulysses had the rest for dinner when he came home that night and it was gone in no more than 6 hours.

I suggest at least doubling the recipe so the same tragedy doesn’t repeat itself.

Summer Barley Salad

What’s your favorite and/or go-to grain?

Barley Salad

A quick and delicious barley salad recipe with zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese to celebrate the end of summer.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2 servings


  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper


  • Cook barley on stove top. I cook it like rice with a 2:1 water to grain ratio.
  • While barley is cooking, chop zucchini & saute in pan with olive oil for about 3-4 minutes just to take the “rawness” out.
  • Slice tomatoes in half.
  • Prepare dressing in a small bowl by whisking together lemon juice, olive oil and salt & pepper. Combine zucchini, tomatoes and feta cheese in medium bowl.
  • Once barley is fully cooked, drain and let cool for a few minutes.
  • Once slightly cooled, add it to the bowl with the vegetables and feta.
  • Season liberally with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Pour dressing over the top and toss to combine.
  • Serve warm or cold.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1SERVING | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 456mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g

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 Salads
Keyword barley salad, summer barley salad


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


Sunday 9th of August 2020

this was very easy and nice

Kristi Rimkus

Sunday 1st of April 2012

I never know what to do with barley. This looks amazing and I have everything I need to put it on the table tonight. I love it when that happens!

Claudia Mooney

Saturday 10th of December 2011

Does Barley have a similar texture and chew to wheatberry?? Can’t wait to do a grocery shop! This looks wonderful as usual Gina, thank you! I’m usually a brown rice girl through and through – I definitely don’t give barely/quinoa and others enough love.

Running to the Kitchen

Saturday 10th of December 2011

It's similar. I think wheatberry has the most chew, then barley then brown rice. I love them all though and any would work in this!

Barley Salad Recipe | Lex and Learn

Tuesday 11th of October 2011

[...] week she shared a recipe for “End of Summer Barley Salad.” It looked delicious and easy. I also gravitated to it because Denver has been experiencing [...]

Alexis @ Lex & Learn

Wednesday 5th of October 2011

This looks so good. So good in fact that I shopped for the ingredients yesterday, just made it despite Mike being in class late tonight and me not feeling well, and am devouring it as I type! Thanks so much for the recipe. I am going to blog about it later this week and link back to you and the recipe!

Running to the Kitchen

Wednesday 5th of October 2011

So glad you enjoyed it :)