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Barley and Black Bean Salad With Pickled Vegetables

4 days ago 17

Democracy Dies in Darkness

By Ellie Krieger

This barley and black bean salad shows that the humble grain can shine in more than soup. Like other grains, it’s ideal cooked and chilled in salads, too — tender and mildly nutty, with a delightful chew. Along with black beans, it’s joined by crunchy red cabbage, juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and quick-pickled radishes and red onion. Topped with sliced avocado, the salad is a substantial meal that shows off barley’s immense versatility.

Make ahead: The barley needs to be cooked and completely cooled before making the salad, at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 days in advance.

Storage: Refrigerate the pickled vegetables for up to 1 week. Refrigerate the salad, minus the avocado, for up to 3 days.

From cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger.


measuring cup

Servings: 2-4 (makes about 6 cups)

  • 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 teaspoons honey, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (half-moons)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced radishes, halved if large
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked and chilled barley, any kind (from about 3/4 cup uncooked; see Notes)
  • One (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped red cabbage
  • 1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber, halved if large and peeled if desired
  • 1 medium ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and sliced


  1. Step 1

    In a medium bowl or a 2-cup jar, whisk together the vinegar, water, 2 teaspoons of the honey and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt until the honey dissolves. Add the onion and radishes and marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate the dressing until needed.

  2. Step 2

    In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, the remaining 1 teaspoon of honey, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and the pepper until emulsified.

  3. Step 3

    In a large bowl, combine the barley, beans, cabbage, tomatoes and cucumber. Drain the onions and radishes (keep the vinegar mixture in the refrigerator for another use, if you like), and transfer to the bowl with the barley. Add the dressing and gently toss to combine. Taste, and season with additional salt, if desired. Top with slices of avocado and serve.


Barley >> freekeh, farro, brown rice or another hearty cooked grain of your choice.
White wine vinegar >> rice vinegar.
Honey >> maple syrup or agave.
Red cabbage >> green or napa cabbage.
Canned black beans >> home-cooked black beans.


To cook the barley, bring a small pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add 3/4 cup barley and cook according to the package instructions until tender. Drain, and let cool completely before using.

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (1 1/2 cups), based on 4

  • Calories


  • Fat

    13 g

  • Saturated Fat

    2 g

  • Carbohydrates

    56 g

  • Sodium

    343 mg

  • Cholesterol

    0 mg

  • Protein

    10 g

  • Fiber

    13 g

  • Sugar

    6 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From cookbook author and registered dietitian nutritionist Ellie Krieger.

Tested by Olga Massov.

Published July 9, 2024

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