Side dish: Black Bean Barley Salad


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Side dish: Black Bean Barley Salad

Patsy's Kitchen Black Bean Barley

Packed with vibrant colors and contrasting textures, this hearty salad makes a tasty, nutritious and economical summer side dish. And since it keeps well, it is perfect for toting to picnics and potlucks—or simply to the office for lunch.


  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup frozen corn niblets
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp hot sauce, such as Tabasco, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 ½ cups cooked dried black beans (see Tip)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 avocados, diced (optional)
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges


1. Place barley and water in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 40 to 45 minutes. Fluff with a fork; let cool.

2. Meanwhile, cook corn according to package directions. Drain and refresh under cold running water.

3. Combine orange juice, vinegar, oil, cumin, oregano, garlic, hot sauce and salt in small bowl or jar with a tight-fitting lid; whisk or shake to blend.

4. Combine barley, corn, beans, bell pepper, scallions and cilantro in large bowl. Add orange juice dressing and toss to coat well. (Salad will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.) Just before serving, garnish with avocado, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 8 (3/4-cup) servings.

Tip: You can substitute quick-cooking barley for pearled barley. Simmer 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley in 1 ¼ cups water in small covered saucepan 10 to 12 minutes.

Tip: At about half the price of canned beans (which are not expensive), dried beans offer some of best value for your nutrition dollar in the supermarket. To cook dried black beans, begin by soaking them in cold water overnight—this reduces gassiness and speeds cooking. (Alternatively, use the quick-soak method: Cover beans with water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 1 hour.) Drain beans and place in large pot. Cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 1 to 1 ½ hours. Drain. 

Recipe provided by Patsy Jamieson of