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Barley is a newer food to me. I think the only meal I had ever heard barley used in consistently was beef and barley stew (which I want to make once it cools down!). A few months ago, a pesto barley was served as a side to a salmon dish that I ordered and it turned out to be delicious, so I decided to do a little more research and there were quite a few things that won me over.

It is chock full of dietary fiber, more specifically beta glucan, which helps lower cholesterol. It keeps you full longer, meaning you won’t be starving and reaching for a Nutty Bar and hour later (ahem…not that anybody here would do that). It also helps to prevent gall stones, control blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and so much more.

The only downside to it is that it takes a little while to cook, but it just needs to simmer, so no need to stand over the stove the entire cooking time!

This salad is super easy to assemble. Get the barley cooking and gather, chop, and prep the other ingredients.

Southwestern Barley Salad : So Very Blessed

Once the barley is cooked, drained, and cooled, just stir it all together.

Southwestern Barley Salad : So Very Blessed

I served this alongside salmon, salsa verde chicken, chicken sausage, and on top of a spinach salad. It goes with just about everything!

Southwestern Barley Salad : So Very Blessed

I also made a batch and portioned them into individual servings as a quick lunch to grab in the mornings and take to work for the week. I love not having to think and throw things together last minute on weekday mornings.

Barley salad, for the win.

Southwestern Barley Salad : So Very Blessed

Southwestern Barley Salad : So Very Blessed

Southwestern Barley Salad Recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


  • 1 cup dry pearl barley
  • 2 1/2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 c. green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 c fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder


  1. Bring barley and water or broth to a boil.
  2. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 to 50 minutes. Drain and cool barley.
  3. Mix all ingredients. Serve chilled.


  • Serving Size: 1 cup