An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Simplicity in Salad-Form


Unlike some vegans who feel compelled to go against the age-old stereotype that herbivores subsist entirely on twigs and leaves, I’m not afraid to say that I love salads.  Think what you may, but in my eyes, a “salad” can be just about anything, and rarely involves lettuce when I’m in charge.  Truly, how would this most basic and yet complex term be defined?  Anything chilled and mixed with a dressing?  Think about fruit salad- A sweet twist on the concept that everyone should be quite familiar with.  And then there are bean salads, grain salads, and some bewildering “salads” from down south that involve mayo, pineapple, and bacon.  They don’t always make sense, they aren’t always healthy, and I certainly don’t endorse them across the board, but it pains me to think that most people still imagine a sad bowl of limp, pale iceberg and maybe some tired old tomato wedges when I say the word “salad.”

On that note, I have come bearing salad, but not one of those obligatory, unwanted side salads that must be choked down in order to get to dessert.  This salad here is comprised mainly of toothsome barley, making it a more wholesome interpretation of pasta salad, in a sense.  Fresh, sweet peas take advantage of the season’s bounty, although frozen and thawed can absolutely work in a pinch. Add in a generous glug of vinegar for a pleasant acidic bite, a handful of chives, and you’re practically done. Simple almost to the point of brainlessly easy, it’s the perfect quick dish for a hot summer day, or lazy picnic any time.  Just pack it up into little jars, and you’re good to go.  It keeps well, both refrigerated and not, so you don’t have to worry about it spoiling while you go play outside.

Barley and Fresh Pea Salad

2 Cups Cooked Barley
1 Cup Shelled Peas, Blanched, or Frozen and Thawed
3 Ounces Vegan “Feta”
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Umeboshi Vinegar
1 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Chives
2 Tablespoons Fresh Chopped Parsley
Salt and Pepper, to Taste

A salad like this hardly needs instructions, but here goes: Toss the cooked barley and peas in a bowl, crumble in the “feta,” drizzle in both vinegars and oil. Add the chopped herbs and toss well. Taste, and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve immediately, or cover and chill for up to three days.

Serves 4 – 6 as a Side Dish

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

37 thoughts on “Simplicity in Salad-Form

  1. Barley and peas…you know how to make an awesome salad!

  2. looks yummy! who needs iceberg lettuce anymore?
    lovely photo too :)

  3. The peas in the photo are so bright, they look like candy! Sounds like a yummy salad.

  4. This is perfect for me-I always eat a vegan lunch and I’ve been needing some fresh ideas! You’re the best, Hannah!

  5. Wow, you changed my mind about what “salad” is and could be. This looks perfect for the weather we have been having.

  6. I’m always telling my mother that I hate salads, but what I really mean is that I hate HER salads which consist entirely of iceberg and a tomato. And blue cheese dressing. Ugh.

    I love variety salads like this one…barley is definitely a favorite in my book. Love the crunch!

  7. Yay for salads, especially during the summertime! I love your idea of putting the salad into mason jars.

  8. salad in a jar! i love this presentation.

  9. Your prolific creativity is simply delicious. You are a treasure!

  10. Those are the brightest green peas I’ve ever seen!
    I admit, I’m a lettuce-hater, but a salad like this I can get down with.

  11. Oh my goodness this is fabulous!!!! I have a ton of barley in the pantry but generally stick to using it in the winter months but this is the most perfect summer salad!! thanks so much for sharing! Beautiful photos :)

  12. I love simple grain salads like this. I’d much rather eat that than a boring salad made of lettuce.

  13. Mmm, I love barley salad, I usually make a copy of one that a friend makes for parties – barley, black beans, avacado, tomato…yum!

  14. I love the idea of this salad. It’s funny because I agree with you, but will admit I have some “salad baggage” for a different reason. When I was dieting it often felt like the only thing I could ever eat out, and still be sensible, was a salad, so the word is still a bit emotionally charged for me. Yet, I too think the category is so much more broad. I just got some fresh peas from the farmers’ market so now I think a grain salad is in order. May also try to incorporate some fresh corn as well. Yum!

  15. for a second I thought those were your awesome tret of cookeis but suprisingly it was a salad. wow just amazing! :)

  16. :) Barley rocks! Salad looks great xxx

  17. I’ve just recently re-fallen in love with peas (cheap and delicious!) so this look lovely.

    Must say, the worst “salads” I’ve ever heard of come from the US – those horrific (forgive me if you like them…) jello salads with meat and pickle and tomatos and things congealed inside green lime jello… Gives me the heebie jeebies!

  18. Greetings from southern Manitoba! That has got to be one of the most delicious looking salads I have ever come across…your photo is fab…the ingredients…yummy’…can’t wait to try this ‘treat’. p.s. LOVE your blog…I am a fairly new ‘fan’….cheers, Valerie.

  19. What a stunning salad! I find your blog to be such a joy to see and read. Thank you for sharing another fresh and healthy recipe!

  20. I love barley! Especially pearl barley! THis salad looks so healthy and goooood!

  21. Barley,peas and fresh herbs that is so summery. I might start eating healthy this salad looks so good.

  22. Salad in a jar is genius! Portable genius.

  23. great salad, I love salads and your so on point, why just leaves? make it your own, in little jars how charming..


  24. I love all sorts of salads! Leafy green ones, grain based ones, fruit, anything. It’s hard to find good salad recipes (and I’m not the best at making them up). I love how simple and yummy this one seems! And it has peas in it mmm.

  25. beautiful picture! i love the colors!

  26. Sounds yummy. I agree, there is nothing wrong w/leaving the lettuce out of your salad more times than not. I do it all the time! Grain salads (particularly quinoa) are my fav. I wonder if this recipe would be good w/fresh parsley…

  27. Ooh I can’t get enough of umeboshi vinegar, and those peas look wonderful! This recipe is definitely a keeper.

  28. i love salads… greens and all. plus, anything with feta rocks. your peas look almost too green to be true! yum!

  29. I love salads too! But I’ve rarely seen them look as good as this. Hearty, fresh, and bright, I bet it is absolutely delicious. Lovely photo!

  30. This recipe is perfect! I have a ton of fresh peas from my CSA share and have been trying to decide what to do with them. I’ve been tossing them in just about everything but I love how they star here.

  31. This salad looks wonderful!

  32. Thanks for reminding me how versatile “salads” can be, Hannah. Yours looks wonderful.

  33. Looks tasty! I will never tire of grain + legume salads!

  34. MMMMMMMMM,…a lovely summer’s salad!!

    So tasty & refreshing too!

  35. Pingback: Szybka sałatka z orkiszu i groszku « Z pamiętnika młodej weganki

  36. I just thought I should let you know that this salad has been making my mouth water for way too long now. I think I should make it soon! Although I don’t think I would be able to find as yummy peas as the ones in your picture…

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