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Lemon Barley and Mushroom Salad

Barley is a great medium to translate the smoky, nutty flavors in this recipe.

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What’s not to love about barley? It’s already a superstar grain for its potassium and iron content (good for sore muscles), but when cooked over the fire, its nutty chew intensifies and takes on a smoky freekeh quality. Add earthy mushrooms, greens and lemon to make this Lemon Barley and Mushroom Salad, and you’ll have yourself a fine feast.

This warm and satisfying salad is meant to deliver a hearty dose of nutrients, making it perfect for days you’ve been active, crushed a tough workout, or enjoyed hours outdoors in the sun. But it’s not just a delicious lunch or dinner; this recipe also makes for a satisfying breakfast. If you have leftovers, top them with a fried egg in the morning.

For more hearty recipes featuring barley, try:

Chef’s tip

Here’s how to perfect this salad whether you’re making it at home on the stove or over a campfire outdoors.

Before sautéing your mushrooms, put them in a colander, rinse with cold water, and pat dry. When cooking, don’t stir your mushrooms too much. In the final states of sautéing, spread the out on the pan and leave them alone for 4-6 minutes. 

Lemon Barley and Mushroom Salad


Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
45 min


  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 lb mixed mushrooms, torn into 2-inch pieces, divided
  • ½ tsp salt, divided
  • ½ tsp pepper, divided
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup pearl barley
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup each radicchio and kale, torn
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese, optional
  • lemon wedges and parsley, for garnish


  1. Prepare campfire or grill for medium heat. Place a large heat-proof pot on a barbecue grate over fire. Heat one third of the oil. Add half the mushrooms, season with half of the salt and pepper; cook for 6 minutes, until browning and beginning to crisp. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining mushrooms. 
  2. Heat remaining oil, add onion and sauté for 4 minutes, until starting to color. Add garlic, barley and thyme, sauté for 2 minutes, while stirring. Pour in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until barley is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, 3 minutes. Stir in radicchio, kale, mushrooms and lemon zest and juice.
  3. Cook for 2 minutes, until kale is wilted. Garnish with Parmesan,
    if using, lemon wedges and parsley.

For ease, the barley can be prepared ahead of time and stored, refrigerated, in an airtight container for three days. 

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size ¼ of recipe
  • Calories 320
  • Carbohydrate Content 49 g
  • Cholesterol Content 0 mg
  • Fat Content 12 g
  • Fiber Content 12 g
  • Protein Content 10 g
  • Saturated Fat Content 2 g
  • Sodium Content 354 mg
  • Sugar Content 6 g