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Spring Salad With Barley and Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 40 min
Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

Dressed with a chive vinaigrette, crunchy sunflower seeds and tart cranberries, this barley salad is an edible celebration of the cusp of spring.

Grain Salads for All!

We exist in a vicious cycle with grain salads, the “vicious” thing being that we constantly forget they exist. We love them so much—they’re healthy, hearty, easy to make and they last and last in the fridge—but they’re one of those foods that we keep forgetting about. We’ll go on a kick of making them, and then suddenly stop. But it’s time to remember them again! They’re the perfect salad for this time of year—when the signs of spring are everywhere, but we’re not quite to the days of craving leafy green salads. We still want something hearty, but we’re looking for livelier flavors than the heavy-darks of winter. Luckily, we noticed some chives pushing up through the mulch in our raised beds, and something about those hopeful, verdant shoots reminded us of this nutty, tender, chewy barley salad recipe and it’s tangy, sunny lemon-chive vinaigrette.

ingredients laid out for barley salad, dried cranberries, lettuce , lemon juice, chives, candied ginger

What Is Barley?

Barley is a grain that’s in the grass family, and people have been cultivating and eating this nutty, delicious whole grain for thousands of years. Filled with fiber and other healthy minerals, it’s one of our favorite grains to keep around. Fun fact: it’s also an important ingredient in most beer! To make beer, barley is malted (essentially it is allowed to germinate) and combined with hops and yeast. You can usually find pearl barley—the kind of barley we’re calling for here—wherever you’d find rice and other grains. We usually buy ours in the bulk bins.

a bowl of cooked barley grain
lemon chive vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk
lemon chive vinaigrette in a bowl with a whisk
lemon chive vinaigrette in a bowl

Tips for Making This Lemony Mustard-Chive Vinaigrette

So, classically, the rule for making homemade vinaigrette is that the ratio of oil to vinegar should be 3:1—as in three parts oil to one part vinegar. However! For a hearty grain salad like this one, we want a dressing that’s sharp and tangy, and so we’ve opted to take some liberties with that classic vinaigrette ratio—ours is more of a 1:1. This spring salad dressing sings with brightness, and gets a lovely creaminess from Dijon mustard. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and a pinch of sugar.
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh chives
Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds and candied ginger

Tips for Making This Lemony Mustard-Chive Vinaigrette

So, classically, the rule for making homemade vinaigrette is that the ratio of oil to vinegar should be 3:1—as in three parts oil to one part vinegar. However! For a hearty grain salad like this one, we want a dressing that’s sharp and tangy, and so we’ve opted to take some liberties with that classic vinaigrette ratio—ours is more of a 1:1. This spring salad dressing sings with brightness, and gets a lovely creaminess from Dijon mustard. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Salt and a pinch of sugar.
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh chives
Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

How To Make the Spring-iest, Heartiest Barley Salad

You know all about barley now, and you’ve gathered your vinaigrette ingredients—let’s make a salad!

  1. Cook the pearl barley. This is really the only “cooking” this salad requires. Simmer it in salted water for about 25 minutes, and you’re good to go! The ratio for cooking barley is about 3 cups water to 1 cup barley.
  2. Whisk your vinaigrette! Mix everything but the oil together first, then pour the oil in while you whisk vigorously, to create an emulsion.
  3. Throw everything into a bowl and toss! Candied ginger, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds add both flavor and texture, while mixed greens make it a true salad (and add those all important leafy green vitamins).
Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

Tools You’ll Need:

More Spring Salad Recipes to Welcome the Season

Salad for dinner can be a wonderful thing! These four are perennial favorites:

Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

To Your Health!

Salad can be delicious, healthy and filling, and this simple barley salad recipe proves it! We hope you give it a go, and if you do, let us know how you like it! Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Spring Salad With Barley and Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 40 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Dried pearl barley
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 12 cups Mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup Candied ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Sunflower seeds

Dressing

  • 5 tbsp Fresh lemon juice, from 2-3 lemons
  • 1 tsp Brown or dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped chives

Method

  1. In a medium stock pot bring three cups of water, dry barley, salt to a rapid boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until barley is done. Start checking at about 25 minutes. Barley should triple in volume and be tender and chewy in texture. Using a fork, fluff the barley and set aside to cool.
  2. In a bowl mix the lemon juice, mustard, sugar and salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil whisking constantly to emulsify. Stir in chives cover with a lid and store in refrigerator. Will keep for up to 2 week.
  3. To assemble, toss greens and barley in the dressing, top with ginger, cranberries and sunflower seeds. Toss the salad slightly to distribute the toppings. Garnish with any extra chives.