This Lentil and Barley Salad is a hearty and healthy grain salad—made with pomegranate, feta, and apples, and dressed with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

As a child, I thought lentils were the most unseemly, slimy entities.

I would wince as my grandmother and mom would eat lentil soup. I actually don’t believe I even tasted a single lentil until I was about 25.

What was I so afraid of? I’ll never know. Lentils are delicious and the perfect conduit for creating a balanced and flavorful meal. They’re especially lovely in soups and salads, and the nutritional benefits are off the charts.

This little legume is full of fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, and B vitamins. They’re an excellent source of protein (they actually come in third place for highest protein among all nuts and legumes). With 18 grams of protein per one cup serving, lentils get an A+ when it comes to plant-based protein. The high levels of soluble fiber found in lentils are great for heart health, lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and digestion.

Lentils, you rock. I’ll pair you with a grain that also rocks: barley.

lentil and barley salad


lentil and barley salad

I love barley because cup-for-cup, it has less calories and more fiber than quinoa, brown rice, millet, wild rice, or amaranth. It’s also full of manganese, selenium, iron, folate, vitamin B6, niacin, and magnesium. It gets high marks in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, and dietary fiber.

Barley also contains antioxidants, believe it or not, in the form of cancer-fighting, inflammation-reducing, and heart-healthy lignans.

I love to make healthy grain salads. Due to high fiber content, hearty grain salads are an excellent choice when it comes to keeping you full and providing clean energy. Barley and lentils are both incredibly high in dietary fiber, which provides slow and steady clean energy. These complex carbohydrates (carbs rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants) keep you fuller for longer and are more nutritionally dense than its simple carbohydrate counterparts (white bread and rice).

lentil and barley salad

How colorful and pretty is this lentil and barley salad?

It tastes as good as it looks, too. Pomegranate packs an antioxidant punch, radicchio adds a lovely balance to ensure this salad isn’t too sweet, and feta adds a creamy, salty bite.

Apples impart a sweet crunch while parsley adds bright freshness. Nutty almonds and a tangy-savory Apple Cider Vinaigrette brings it all together.

lentil and barley salad


lentil and barley salad


lentil and barley salad

and here’s some things you may need for this recipe!

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Lentil and Barley Salad with Pomegranate and Feta
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Lentil and Barley Salad is a hearty and healthy grain salad—made with pomegranate, feta, and apples, and dressed with an Apple Cider Vinaigrette.
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 12
For the Dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and pepper
For the Salad:
  • 1½ cups dry green lentils
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta
  • 2 cups chopped radicchio
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Honeycrisp apple, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped almonds
Cook the Lentils and Barley:
  1. Combine the lentils and barley with 5 cups of water, 2 cloves of garlic, and sea salt. Bring to a boil and then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the lentil and barley are done, about 25 minutes. Drain, discard garlic cloves, and set aside to cool.
Make the Dressing:
  1. Add the Dijon, shallot, honey, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt and pepper (to taste) in a mason jar. Shake vigorously until emulsified and combined.
Assemble the Salad:
  1. Combine the cooled barley and lentils with the pomegranate, feta, radicchio, parsley, apple, and almonds. Dress with the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
This makes a large amount of salad, so it's perfect for a crowd, BBQ, party, or for meal prep for the week.

lentil and barley salad

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