Barley, Feta and Pear Salad

barley feta pear saladI finally carved out some time to try a new recipe. I have wanted to experiment with barely and when I saw a recipe for a barely, feta and pear salad I was sold!

Barely can be bland so I figured the strong flavors from the feta, walnuts and radicchio would go well. Barley is full of fiber so will keep you full longer and the richness from the feta and walnuts really satisfy.

I found the recipe on and it’s a recipe from Gourmet. I found a couple tips useful when preparing so I will put in some notes below :mrgreen:
Serves 2 – large portions – about 2 cups (I doubled so I would have enough for a lunch size portion for several days – so far I have eaten for 3 lunches and have about 2 servings left – so the double portion (for 4) makes quite a bit!)
  •  1/3 cup pearl barley

    Lunch today at my desk
  • 3 tablespoons walnuts
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves (I could not find flat leaf so used curly parsley)
  • 1 celery rib
  • 1/2 small head radicchio (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 firm-ripe pear (want to be slightly firm – I used a golden pear but can use any)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. – I used my toaster oven – a bit easier
  2. Fill 2-quart saucepan three fourths full with water – bring to boil – add barley and boil, partially covered, until tender, about 30 minutes. (The barley took about 35-40)
  3. While barley is cooking, in a baking pan toast walnuts in middle of oven until golden, about 7 minutes. (I used toaster oven and only needed about 5 minutes)
  4. Chop parsley. Cut celery and radicchio into 1/4-inch dice. Peel (optional) and core pear and cut into 1/4-inch dice. (I did not dice the radicchio quite as small and probably should have – a strong flavor and also I did not peel the pear – I rarely peel anything as there are typically nutrients in the skin) 
  5. Drain barley in a sieve and transfer to a bowl. Add feta to barley and add nuts, parsley, celery, radicchio, pear, lemon juice, oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss salad until combined.

(Gourmet, November 1998)

Calories: 380 per serving = 2 cups – so can have as meal or have less and serve as a side.

This recipe was super easy and start to finish took me 45 minutes. The unique combination of flavors was delightful and will be a great salad for summer. The citric acid from the lemon juice keeps the pears and salad fresh – I am on day 3 and still tastes great! Enjoy 🙂


  1. Sarah

    May 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Pearled barley is easier to find, but is hulled barley nutritionally superior? It takes longer to cook, but I've been using it, thinking it's better than pearl in the same way that brown rice is better than white. If there's no difference, I'll go back to pearl – it's much easier to find!

    1. franziska

      May 24, 2010 at 10:41 am

      You are correct that hulled barley (only outermost husk removed) is the most nutritious form of the grain. Pear barley has the hull removed and the bran (where lots of nutrients are) polished away so make a smoother, smaller and more tender kernal and is preferred for use in salads and soups. With that said pearl barley is quicker to cook and is still quite nutritious and a very good source of fiber (still 4 g per 1 oz vs 5 g per ounce of hulled barely).

  2. kathy

    May 20, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    This was easy, quick, delicious, and pretty — a four-forks combo! I have some leftover in the refrigerator now, and I have some doubts about its taste 1 day later (soggy feta?), but it's still a winner

  3. franziska

    May 20, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks for your feedback on the salad! I have noticed there can be a vareity in fetas with some being a bit drier or moister and some being less or more salty. I used President crumbled feta from Costco and it is on the drier side and nice and salty. You could also leave out and mix in later too.
    Have a great day!

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