Creamy Summer Barley Salad // Vegan and Healthy

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Beat the heat with this cool and Creamy Summer Barley Salad. It’s a hearty plant-based addition to any summer BBQ or picnic. It’s packed with fiber, protein, and flavors of the Mediterranean!

If you’ve never tried barley or barley salad before, you’re in for a real treat! Barley is healthy and filling, and a great alternative to rice or quinoa! This often overlooked grain lends itself well to salads and stews and can be more cost-effective than those other grains! I like to use this one from Bob’s Red Mill.

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Barley Salad Pinterest pin

How do you cook barley?

Barley, like other grains, can be cooked on the stovetop, in an Instant Pot, or even a slow cooker. It’s basically a 1:2 barley to water ratio, with a pinch of salt added in. It cooks in about 25-30 minutes on the stovetop or about 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. Check the package directions for exact measurements and times.

How do you eat barley?

In this Creamy Summer Barley Salad of course!

Of course, there are a variety of ways that barley can be prepared and eaten. Serve it up alongside roasted veggies and a vegan protein like these easy and tasty Tofu Cutlets with Vegan Gravy. You can add dried seasonings, garlic, and a little oil or vegan butter while it’s cooking to make a delicious and hearty pilaf. Or serve this salad up in a pita pocket with marinated tofu, some fresh greens, and some extra dressing for an easy and satisfying meal-to-go.

Watch the video to see how to make the salad + a delicious pita sandwich!

If you try this recipe and loved it, please leave a comment below and share with a friend! You can also take a photo and tag me over on Instagram @Vegerarchy. See you there! 🙂

Creamy Summer Barley Salad

This delicious and Creamy Barley Salad is perfect for summer potlucks and picnics. It's great on a bed of greens or served up in a pita pocket. The dressing is a tangy vegan rendition of Greek tzatziki sauce.

Course Dinner, lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 340 kcal


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup bell pepper (any color), diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion,diced
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup vegan feta, cubed optional
  • lettuce leaves or baby spinach optional
  • Pita pockets optional


  • 5 oz plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt Kite Hill brand is great
  • 1/8 tsp salt or celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules or powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh dill weed chopped finely if fresh
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice + zest
  • black pepper to taste


  1. Rinse the uncooked barley and cook according to package directions.

    While the barley is cooking, prep the dressing and chop the bell peppers and red onion, and rinse your chickpeas.

  2. To make the dressing, combine the plain, unsweetened vegan yogurt to a small bowl along with all of the spices. Add some zest from a fresh organic lemon and the lemon juice.

    Stir or whisk to fully combine the ingredients.

    This dressing is great on a lot of things! Try dipping some fries or fresh veggies in it or use as topping on a baked potato!

  3. Once the barley is cooked, drain off any excess liquid and rinse with cool water.

    Place the drained and cooled barley into a large mixing bowl.

    Add the chickpeas, bell peppers, red onion, halved kalamata olives, and the dressing. You can also add the vegan feta, or save it to use as a topping. Mix well.

    Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  4. This salad is great served on a bed of greens or prepped green salad. Don't forget the feta!

    Another great way to serve it is in a pita pocket with lettuce leaves, cubes of vegan feta and plenty of extra dressing! If you like, you can marinate and air-fry or fry some slices of tofu to add to the pita. It makes for a very hearty and super tasty lunch to go!

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