Broccoli and pearl barley salad

Pearl barley, with its nutty flavour and firm texture, makes an interesting change from rice in grain–based salads, and it blends beautifully with this mixture of vegetables, dried apricots and pepitas. Serve this as a satisfying lunch dish, adding some crumbled fetta cheese for additional protein.

Broccoli and pearl barley salad


  • ⅔ cup (140 g) pearl barley
  • 200 g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 3 zucchini, thickly sliced
  • 100 g sugar snap peas, halved
  • ¼ cup (45 g) dried apricots, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup (30 g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Spicy tomato dressing
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumindash of Tabasco sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander or flat–leaf parsley (optional)


  1. Rinse the barley in one or two changes of water – do this in a bowl, swirling the grains with your fingers and pouring off the cloudy water.
  2. Drain the barley in a sieve, then place it in a saucepan and pour in 3 cups (750 ml) cold water.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.
  4. Simmer the barley very gently for about 30 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender but still firm.
  5. Drain the barley well.
  6. While the barley is cooking, bring a second pan of water to the boil.
  7. Add the broccoli florets, zucchini and sugar snap peas and bring back to the boil.
  8. Reduce the heat and simmer the vegetables for 3–4 minutes or until they are just tender but still crisp, then drain well and rinse briefly with cold water to refresh and stop the cooking.
  9. Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a large bowl.
  10. Stir in the apricots.
  11. Add the barley and vegetables as soon as they are cooked, and mix well to coat with the dressing.
  12. Check the seasoning, then cover and allow to cool until just warm.
  13. Add the pepitas to the salad just before serving, warm or cold.

Serves 4
Preparation: 15 minutes, plus cooling
Cooking: about 35 minutes


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