Chicken/ Main Dish/ Salad

Barley Chicken Salad

January 6, 2020 (Last Updated: June 16, 2020)

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Barley chicken salad is perfect for lunch or dinner and  is filled with fresh veggies, chunks of chicken and barley. 

Salad with barley, tomatoes, olives and chicken on a white plate.

This barley salad with chicken and feta cheese is amazing! It’s filled with bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and kalamata olives. I made a batch of this salad this weekend and it disappeared quickly. 

Salad with fresh tomatoes and veggies on a white plate.

What is barley?

Barley is a member of the grass family and is a cereal grain. Barley is high in fiber, vitamin and minerals. I’ve used pearl barley in this recipe. Pearl barley is barley with the outer hull removed. 

Is barley gluten free?

No, barley contains gluten. If you are allergic to gluten or gluten intolerant you do not want to eat barley. You could substitute quinoa for the barley if desired. 

How do I cook barley?

Barley is cooked similar to rice. Cook 1 cup of barley with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Place a lid on pan and simmer for 45-50 minutes until almost all the water has been absorbed. Turn off heat and leave lid on for an additional 5 minutes.  Drain off any excess water. 

When cooking barley, check and stir from time to time. I’ve cooked it on two different burners. One had a very low, simmer flame and it worked perfectly. This is the same burner I use when cooking rice. Another time I left it on low on a different burner and I didn’t keep an eye on it. The water evaporated quickly, even with a lid and the barley burned in the pan! Check your barley as it’s cooking to make certain your burner isn’t too high. 

Small blue and white bowls filled with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and olives.

I made a large batch of this salad and put the leftovers in small containers to take in my lunch. My kids loved this salad and also took it in their lunches. The flavors keep developing with this salad and the leftovers are delicious. Leftovers are good for 3-4 days when stored in the refrigerator. 

Glass containers filled with barley salad and topped with colorful lids.

To make Salad –

  • Cook barley and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place barley, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, onions and olives in a bowl. Toss lightly to mix ingredients.A large bowl filled with fresh chopped tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers.
  • Add chopped chicken
  • Mix dressing in a glass jar with a lid
  • Pour dressing over salad and feta cheese. Toss lightly.
  • Serve right away or cover and refrigerate

Barley with fresh veggies and basil on a white plate.

Can I make this vegetarian?

Yes, just omit the chicken to make this a vegetarian salad. 

Other great salads

Don’t forget to PIN for later! Chunks of chicken with barley, tomatoes, cucumbers and olives.


If you make this recipe, Iโ€™d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below and snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @beyondthechickencoop

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Salad with barley, tomatoes, olives and chicken on a white. plate.

Barley Chicken Salad

Barley mixed with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and chicken and a light vinaigrette dressing.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 6 people
Calories 238 kcal



  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cucumber (peeled, seeded and chopped)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes (halved)
  • 1 cup yellow bell peppers (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives (seeded and halved)
  • 1/4 cup green onions (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup feta (crumbled)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (chopped)


  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)


Cook Barley

  • Add barley and 3 cups of water to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer barley with lid on for 45-50 minutes. Let pan sit for an additional 5 minutes with lid on. Fluff barley with a fork and allow to cool. Drain off any excess water.


  • Add barley, cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions and olives to a bowl. Toss lightly. Add chicken
  • Add dressing and feta cheese and toss lightly.
  • Serve right away or cover and refrigerate.


  • Place olive oil, vinegar lemon juice basil, thyme and salt in a jar with a lid. Shake until well combined.



Serving: 1cupCalories: 238kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 6gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 469mgPotassium: 284mgFiber: 7gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 447IUVitamin C: 53mgCalcium: 74mgIron: 1mg
Keyword barley chicken salad, barley recipe, barley salad
Tried this recipe?Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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  • Reply
    January 9, 2020 at 7:41 pm

    5 stars
    Barley is one of my favorite grains. So hearty and delicious — and perfect for salads like this one. And it’s so pretty! ๐Ÿ™‚ ~Valentina

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 4:26 pm

      Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Alexandra @ It's Not Complicated Recipes
    January 9, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    5 stars
    What a delicious salad – I love all of these ingredients. My kind of dish – fresh, colourful and packed full of flavour!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      The leftovers are great for packing into lunches.

  • Reply
    David @ Spiced
    January 7, 2020 at 4:37 am

    5 stars
    I love all of the Greek ingredients in this recipe, Kathy! It’s perfect for this time of the year, and the added barley is a fun twist. I might have to put this one on the agenda for lunches soon…as soon as we finishing eating all of the soup in our fridge. Haha! Great recipe, my friend!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 4:33 pm

      I have tons of soup right now too, but sometimes we need to mix things up a bit!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    January 6, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    I’m loving all the ingredients on the list here Kathy! What a great idea to add barley!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks, Mary Ann!

  • Reply
    Dawn - Girl Heart Food
    January 6, 2020 at 5:43 am

    5 stars
    I seriously love the addition of barley here, Kathy! Talk about adding extra nutrition and heartiness! This would make for such a yummy lunch today!!

    • Reply
      January 10, 2020 at 4:42 pm

      You just can’t go wrong with extra nutrition, especially when it’s full of delicious flavor.

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