Photo of Barley salad with grapes and pecans by WW

Barley salad with grapes and pecans

Total Time
1 hr
15 min
45 min
Cooked barley has a lovely nutty flavor and wonderful firm texture, making it a perfect grain for side dishes. Paired with juicy grapes and a tangle of bitter greens, it morphs into an uncommonly delicious whole-grain salad. The distinctive flavor of tarragon is a welcome addition, but you could substitute pretty much any fresh, tender herb you have on hand—basil, parsley, cilantro or mint—with equally tasty results. Other flavorful variations: Cook the barley in a flavorful fat-free broth instead of water, try maple syrup in place of the honey, or swap out the pecans for toasted walnuts, sliced almonds, or pine nuts. Top with sliced roast chicken breast or a few grilled shrimp to make this a meal.



1¾ cup(s), plus 2 Tbsp water

Kosher salt

½ tsp

Uncooked pearl barley

¾ cup(s), pearl variety

Olive oil

2 Tbsp, extra virgin


1 Tbsp, champagne variety


2 tsp

Dijon mustard

1 tsp

Kosher salt

½ tsp

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground


1½ cup(s), red, seedless, halved (or quartered if large)


½ cup(s), shredded, thinly sliced


½ cup(s), chopped, chopped

Fresh tarragon

1 Tbsp, minced

Chopped pecans

2 Tbsp, toasted


  1. Bring water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan; stir in barley, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until barley is tender but chewy and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and fluff with a fork; allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. When barley is cool, gently stir in grapes, radicchio, scallions and tarragon. Drizzle dressng over salad; toss thoroughly to coat. Garnish with pecans. Yields about 3/4 cup per serving.


This dish can be prepared up to one day ahead but be sure to garnish with pecans just before serving.