Easy Barley Salad with Chickpeas and Pears


This healthy barley salad is packed with chickpeas, walnuts, sun dried tomatoes, parsley and crunchy pears. It’s such a flavorful combo and is perfect for meal prep and potlucks.

When it comes to grain-based salads I tend to gravitate towards rice salad and quinoa salad (not technically a grain, but I think of it as one). That said, I recently started using barley to make a grain-based salad and it might just be my new fave!

Bowl of barley salad with chickpeas and pear. Table is scattered with herbs and walnuts.

The barley salad I’m sharing today is loaded with so many delicious (and healthy) ingredients. In addition to the barley, there are chickpeas, toasted walnuts, tangy feta and arugula, so it kind of has a Mediterranean vibe. I’ve also added pears in there for a bit of sweetness. Everything is tossed in an apple cider vinegar dressing which definitely takes this salad to another level. Truth be told, the first time I made it, I ate it for breakfast and lunch the next day… I couldn’t get enough!

The reason I love grain-based salads is because they are  so filling … in the right way! You still get all the benefits of the fruits and veggies packed in the salad, but you also get more volume with the grains. As a volume eater, I love eating meals that satisfy me without leaving me feeling bloated or heavy, and this salad does just that.

Bowl of barley salad with chickpeas and pear. Table is scattered with herbs and walnuts.

Cooking Barley for Salads

There are two different types of barley (hulled and pearl). For this salad we’re using pearl barley. It’s a bit more processed, but it’s easier to find at grocery stores and it also cooks faster than hulled.

In general, barley is cooked similarly to farro. You add the grains and water (or stock) to a saucepan, bring to a boil and then cover and lower to a simmer. If you use pearl barley, it will cook quicker (about 25 minutes) than hulled barley (about 40 minutes). You’ll know the barley is done when it has increased in size and is soft and chewy. You can add more water as it cooks if needed. Feel free to cook to your desired texture! You can either let the barley absorb all of the water in the pot or drain out the excess.

When cooking barley for a salad I like to rinse the barley with cold water right after it’s done cooking. This cools it off, rinses away the released starch and keeps it from continuing to cook. The starch it releases into the cooking liquid makes it a great thickener for soups or even barley risotto.

Bowl of barley salad with chickpeas and pear. Table is scattered with herbs and walnuts.

Barley Nutrition

I don’t feel like barley gets as much love as other grains, but it should. It’s a versatile whole grain and a great source of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and control blood sugar. It also has important vitamins and minerals like manganese, selenium, thiamine and magnesium. Barley also contains antioxidants which help prevent and repair cell damage. (Source)

Fiber-Packed Pears

I’ve added pears to this salad for a hint of sweetness and slight crunch. I love pears when they’re in season! Besides being delicious, they are packed with important nutrients like fiber. One pear contains 6 grams of fiber, 21% of the daily recommended intake. They’re also high in folate, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants. Because most of the fiber and antioxidants are in the skin, try to leave the skin on your pears to get the most out of the fruit!

Side my side photos of salad ingredients in a bowl before and after being mixed. Ingredients include cheese, dried tomatoes, arugula, barley, chickpeas, pears, walnuts and onion.

Pear Barley Salad Ingredients:

  • barley
  • chickpeas
  • walnuts
  • pears
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • feta
  • parsley
  • arugula 

I also make a vinaigrette dressing that I highly recommend pairing with this salad! For the dressing you need red onion, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, dried oregano, salt and pepper. So simple and so delicious!

Meal Prep Barley Salad

The great thing about this salad is that you can fully prep it in advance because the ingredients hold up well with the dressing and won’t get soggy. This makes it great to meal prep for the week, but it’s also perfect for potlucks and cookouts.
Bowl of barley salad with chickpeas and pear. Table is scattered with herbs and walnuts.

Customize This Salad!

You can absolutely customize this salad based on your personal preference or what’s available to you at the time. If pears aren’t in season, apples would make a great substitute. Don’t have chickpeas? Use a different bean. Only have spinach on hand? That is the perfect swap for arugula! Don’t have barley? Use a different grain! I think brown rice or farro would also be delicious in this salad. Let me know in the comments if you try any of these swaps.

Here Are More Grain-Based Salads You Might Enjoy:

Barley Salad with Chickpeas and Pears

4 from 13 votes
This hearty barley salad is packed with chickpeas, walnuts, crunchy pears, sun dried tomatoes and parsley. It’s such a flavorful combo and is perfect for meal prep and potlucks.
Bowl of barley salad with chickpeas and pear. Table is scattered with herbs and walnuts.
Servings 4


  • 1 cup uncooked barley*
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 pears, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 3/4 cup feta
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 handful baby arugula


  • 3 Tablespoons red onion
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Cook barley according to package instructions. Drain.
  • Toast walnuts in a small skillet. This should only take 5-6 minutes. Let cool.
  • Start dressing by adding minced onion in a small bowl with the vinegar. Let marinate while you prep the salad.
  • Chop 1 1/2 pears and save remaining half for fanning and decorating salad.
  • Add cooked barley, chickpeas, pears, sun dried tomatoes, walnuts, arugula, parsley and feta into a large bowl.
  • Add oil, maple syrup, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper into the bowl with the vinegar and red onion. Whisk until combined. Pour dressing over salad mixture and toss to coat. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if needed.


  • 1 cup of uncooked barley will yield about 3 1/2 cups cooked barley.


Serving: 1/4 of recipe Calories: 449kcal Carbohydrates: 45g Protein: 10g Fat: 28g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 15g Sodium: 489mg Fiber: 9g Sugar: 16g
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pear barley salad


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Recipe Rating

    1. Susan
      June 4, 2021 AT 8:59 am

      5 stars
      This is an absolutely delicious salad! Even better the next day, after flavors have blended. My family gobbled it up, and I have since made the recipe 2 more times to deliver to friends. Everyone loves it. Substituted spinach for houses with children. So good!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        June 4, 2021 AT 11:37 am

        Yay!! So pumped this salad was a hit. Thanks for making it and for the review. I so appreciate it!

    2. Judith
      December 1, 2020 AT 5:25 pm

      5 stars
      All three of us enjoyed this recipe. It was fresh and the pear added a lovely contrast although I’m sure apple would be good too. Unfortunately I didn’t have the arugula (rocket?) or any substitute and it was still yum. I served some roasted harissa butternut squash wedges with it to make it go a bit further.Will make again.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        December 2, 2020 AT 12:55 am

        So glad you enjoyed this salad, Judith! Thanks for making it and for coming back to leave a review. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    3. chris
      September 11, 2020 AT 8:41 am

      5 stars
      Excellent recipe. I made it twice. The second time i changed the flavor of the dressing for variations. I used honey instead of maple syrup, fresh thyme for oregano and balsamic vinegar for apple cider.I love chickpeas. Next i am doing the roasted cauliflower steak. Love your website. Fresh, clean looking . Thanks

      1. Brittany Mullins
        September 11, 2020 AT 12:54 pm

        I’m so glad you’re loving this recipe, Chris! Thanks for taking the time to come back to leave a comment + star rating. I so appreciate it. 🙂

    4. adele
      August 30, 2020 AT 5:23 pm

      This sounds delicious! Since pears are not in season – can I use canned pears? I have never used canned fruit in anything… Just wondering.

      1. Brittany Mullins
        August 30, 2020 AT 7:13 pm

        Hey Adele – I don’t really use canned fruit too much, but I’m sure that’d be fine or you could also swap the pears with apples. 🙂

        1. adele
          August 30, 2020 AT 7:47 pm

          Thank you, Brittany! Great idea. I never thought about apples. I bet it will be delicious.
          I am so happy to have found your site!
          I will be back soon and often!

          1. Brittany Mullins
            August 30, 2020 AT 8:39 pm

            Can’t wait to hear what you think of the salad!! Definitely come back and let me know. 🙂

    5. Ashlee Baskin
      July 10, 2020 AT 3:09 pm

      Would this be ok with quinoa? My husband can’t eat Barley. Would I still do 1 cup uncooked? Thank you!

      1. Brittany Mullins
        July 10, 2020 AT 8:04 pm

        Hey Ashlee – Yes, quinoa would work just fine! And yes, I would do 1 cup and cook it according to the package. Let me know how it turns out for you. 🙂

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