Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad

Barley is typically eaten in a pudding for breakfast or dessert in Egypt, but in this recipe from cookbook author Suzanne Zeidy, it’s turned into a hearty salad, seasoned with cumin and chiles, and tossed with grilled vegetables, feta, and pistachios.

Featured in: Lunch at the Desert’s Edge

Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad Grilled Vegetable and Barley Salad
Use barley to bulk up a salad of grilled zucchini, eggplant, and red peppers, seasoned with cumin and chiles, and tossed with herbs, feta, and pistachios.
Yield: serves 8
Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes


  • 2 14 cups pearl barley
  • 2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved
  • 12 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 oz. feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 14 cup pistachios
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 long red chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped


  1. In a large bowl, soak the barley in water for 1 hour and then drain. Meanwhile, light a grill. Brush the zucchini, eggplant, and peppers with 14 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables, turning, until tender and charred, 10 minutes. Transfer to a board and cut into 12-inch pieces.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and add the barley. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until tender, 45 minutes. Drain the barley and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 14 cup olive oil with the lemon juice, cumin, coriander, and garlic, and then stir in the cooked barley, season with salt and pepper, and transfer to a serving platter. Arrange the zucchini, eggplant, and peppers with the feta, arugula, cilantro, pistachios, scallions, and chile over the barley to serve.