22 Quick and Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes (or less) + 5 Chef Secrets To Make You A Better Cook!

Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Tested & Perfected Recipes
Egyptian Barley Salad

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

Inspired by the flavors of Egypt, this gorgeous barley salad is adorned with feta, scallions, pistachios, raisins and pomegranate seeds.

Plate of Egyptian barley salad with pomegranate vinaigrette.

Modestly adapted from The Complete Make-Ahead Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, this Middle Eastern barley salad incorporates crunchy pistachios, tangy pomegranate molasses, earthy spices, and sweet golden raisins. Salty feta, scallions, and juicy pomegranate seeds adorn the top of the dish, making a gorgeous composed salad with lively flavors and textures. It’s a wonderful dish to keep in the fridge for healthy lunches, and it also makes a festive-looking potluck dish for the holidays.

What you’ll need to make Egyptian Barley Salad

Salad ingredients including feta, lemon, and pomegranate arils.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Begin by cooking the barley. In order for the grains to remain distinct, rather than cohesive as in a pilaf, America’s Test Kitchen uses the “pasta method” to boil the barley.

Barley boiling in a pot.

Drain the barley, then spread it on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.

Barley on a lined baking sheet.

Meanwhile, make the dressing by whisking together the olive oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. (Note that pomegranate molasses is sold at some large grocers, Whole Foods, or Middle Eastern markets. You can also buy it online.)

dressing for barley salad

Toss with the cooled barley, cilantro, raisins, and pistachios.

Barley in a bowl with cilantro, raisins, and pistachios.

Spread the barley salad evenly onto a serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra olive oil and serve.

Plate of Egyptian barley salad with pomegranate vinaigrette.

You may also like

Egyptian Barley Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Inspired by the flavors of Egypt, this gorgeous barley salad is adorned with feta, scallions, pistachios, raisins and pomegranate seeds.

Servings: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


  • 1½ cups pearl barley (do not substitute hulled barley or hull-less barley)
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 2½ tablespoons pomegranate molasses (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (parsley may be substituted)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • ½ cup unsalted shelled pistachios or walnuts, chopped coarse
  • 4 oz feta cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • ½ cup scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced (you'll need 4 to 6 scallions)
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds


  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add barley and 1 tablespoon salt, return to boil, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes, or according to package instructions. Drain barley, spread onto rimmed baking sheet, and let cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cumin, and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  3. Add the barley, cilantro, raisins, and pistachios (or walnuts) and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread barley salad evenly on serving platter and arrange feta, scallions, and pomegranate seeds in separate diagonal rows on top. Drizzle with extra oil and serve.
  4. Make Ahead: The cooked barley and vinaigrette can be refrigerated separately for up to 3 days. To serve, bring barley and vinaigrette to room temperature, whisk vinaigrette to recombine, and continue with step 3, seasoning to taste as necessary. Dressed salad can be held up to 2 hours at room temperature before serving.
  5. Note: Pomegranate molasses is sold at some large grocers, Whole Foods or Middle Eastern markets. You can also buy it online.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 326
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Saturated fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 44 g
  • Sugar: 15 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 9 g
  • Sodium: 212 mg
  • Cholesterol: 13 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:


  • This was delicious. I made it a couple of weeks ago and made it again tonight because my wife and daughter demanded it! Looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
    It’s gonna be a regular from now on.

    • — Paul on April 23, 2024
    • Reply
  • I’ve made this several times and I always get raves. I’ve also substituted brown and wild rice for the barley during a get together with a friend who is gluten intolerant and it was just as tasty.

    • — Theresa S on November 12, 2023
    • Reply

  • Just delicious!!

  • I just love this salad! The chewy barley, pops of salt from the feta, crunch from the nuts, sweetness from the fruits and freshness from the herbs. The dressing is sublime and marries everything together. Sometimes I omit the feta and pan fry some haloumi and eat it as a meatless meal. Very filling and completely addictive. Love your blog! Every recipe I have made from it has been a huge success and fun to cook so thank you.

    • — Jane Minervini
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious! I put this on kale and added a baked chicken breast and it was a delicious dinner. We really enjoyed it!

  • Hi Jenn, this recipe looks super tasty. Would you be kind enough to convert it to metric please. Many thanks, Claire.

    • Hi Claire, I just converted it. Hope you enjoy!

  • I made this tonight for the first time, and can guarantee it will not be the last! I did not have a pomegranate, so I used craisins for the color. I served it over arugula and can hardly wait to have the leftover portion for lunch tomorrow!

  • Friends and family have enjoyed the Egyptian Barley Salad numerous times at my house. I always pair it with Peruvian Chicken with Green Sauce. What a winning combination! My niece and I recently made this delicious meal when I visited her in Boston. We weren’t able to find pomegranate molasses and substituted honey. It worked well! My niece and her husband gave both recipes rave reviews.Thanks for so many fantastic taste delights both online and in your terrific cook book.

  • Made this last night and had it for lunch today. I put the dressing in a little earlier than you suggested – a few hours ahead – and also added some balsamic vinegar to the dressing to make it taste a little stronger. Either way it was delicious, easy to put together & I will definitely be making it again.

  • This dish was fabulous. I used regular molasses and parsley because I didn’t have cilantro. I took a pic, but no option to post it.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Joy! Unfortunately, there’s not a way to upload pictures to the blog, but if you’re on Instagram, you can share it there; be sure to tag me @onceuponachef. 🙂

  • Are these fresh or dried pomegranate seeds? My grocers says the fresh are out of season. Thank you, planning to serve this to book club Thursday

    • Hi Jane, They are fresh; you can just leave them out. Enjoy!

  • I made this salad last night. Delicious! I had been wanting to make it for a while and at the last minute decided to make it last night. I ended up substituting brown rice for the barley and that worked well. I had been to a couple stores and couldn’t find the pomegranate molasses, so this is what I did: I took about a cup of pomegranate juice (POM) and boiled it in a pan until it reduced down and was a bit syrupy. Then I used 2 1/2 tablespoons of that for the dressing. It worked great! I’ll be making this again. Thank you!

  • Highly recommend this recipe. Not only is it beautiful in presentation but tastes fantastic. The only substitution I made was using farro Instead of barley.
    Love this!

    • — Carolyn Briestensky
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe. But I have a question, what is the serving size? I am on a restricted diet and I have to quantify all foods. Your help would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you,

    • Hi Sandy, I’d guesstimate that each serving would be about a cup. Hope you enjoy!

  • Another keeper for the files! From prep to presentation to consumption this recipe was wonderful. The dressing was delicious thanks to the pomegranate molasses, an ingredient I was unfamiliar with. I took the lazy way out, and used the 1-click option on Amazon to have a bottle delivered! I’m sure we would enjoy the complex flavors anytime of year, but the brightly colored presentation is especially welcome in winter. Thanks Jenn!

  • I love many many of your recipes but this is absolutely one of my favourites. The name of the recipe intrigued me and the flavour has kept me coming back. I’ve made this several times, most recently at Christmas for 26. It was an absolute hit. For those in Canada the pomegranate molasses can be found at superstore.

    • — Sherry. Kelowna, Canada.
    • Reply
  • This salad was delicious and looked super festive as well! I had trouble locating pomegranate molasses, but, in the end made my own with the help of an easy recipe on-line.
    Funny, I have your scalloped potatoes cooking in the oven as I write this. So pleased I found your site.

    • Thank you for this recipe. I’ve never used pearl barley before but it was hearty & the flavors of the dressing clung to it beautifully. The various textures were delightful. I usually never eat whole pomegranate seeds, but with the pistachios in the salad their crunch fit right in.

      • — Amber Lizarraga
      • Reply
  • I’m a texture and taste contrast lover–and this one fit the bill. I happen to love barley, too, so I was in heaven.

    I used walnuts and regular raisins, but otherwise made it to order.

    I think I’m addicted to your recipes. Not enough time nor enough mouths to keep up with all that I want to make. Maybe I’ll get a bigger freezer…

  • I looked at 5 stores and called a few others. No pom molasses. 🙁

    • Sorry to hear you’ve had such a hard time finding it. You can order it online if you’re really determined to make the salad. Hope you enjoy if you make it!

  • Loved it! I think it would even be great without feta. It was full of flavor.

  • I prepared this recipe last Christmas. It was a huge hit and cannot wait to prepare it again. Since then I have discovered how much I love pearl barley. If anyone is wondering about this recipe wonder no more. It’s a 10!

  • Hi Jenn!!
    What are your thoughts on substituting in farro for the barley?

    • That would be perfectly fine here – enjoy!

  • Outstanding recipe – easy to make and full of flavor. We loved it! Will definitely make this again.

  • Hi Jenn,

    Served this with your Grilled Moroccan Chicken. Yum and so pretty! We both loved it…however, wondered what you would suggest to “kick it up” a bit in the spice dept.? I read the mint/cilantro idea and will try that next time. Also, I did halve it successfully if anyone wondered.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, Charlene. I think you could definitely bump up the cumin and add some heat (cayenne or chili peppers).

  • Hi Jenn,
    I am having a party and we are about 25 people. How much should i make?


    • Hi Tahera, I’d probably multiply all the ingredients by 4 to 5 depending upon how substantial the rest of your meal will be. Enjoy!

  • Can the barley and dressing be prepared a day or two ahead?

    • Definitely! For more details, see the “Make Ahead” section immediately under the recipe instructions. Enjoy!

  • I made this for a holiday potluck and it was a big hit. Some of the guests do not eat dairy, so had the feta on one side and chick peas on the other. I also added a row of Kalamata olives which fit in perfectly with the other ingredients. It was a beautiful presentation on my Italian ceramic platter.

  • I made this dish just before Thanksgiving and my family raved about it…even my son-in-law and my 5yr old grandson! My daughter is not a big fan of too much cilantro so I altered the recipe and changed the potion of cilantro to half mint and half cilantro. It was a hit!

  • just the thing needed at my house after the big Thanksgiving indulgence – – Thank You!! Enjoyed trying so many of your recipes as you were preparing to publish, and now can’t wait to try this one too!

  • I’ll make this over and over again, Yummy!

  • Just made barley as part of my Thanksgiving contribution instead of stuffing. Great recipe. Thanks

  • Hi Jenn
    I am trying to order pomegranate molasses on -line and I notice that some products are with sugar and some are without… can you please tell me which you prefer.
    Can’t wait to try the Egyptian barley salad…I am sure it will be 5 stars— ALL your recipes are!
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Barb, Glad you’re enjoying the recipes! The one I use does have some sugar – you can get the same one online here.

  • What would you pair this with?

  • Amazing! Slam dunk as usual. I used balsamic reduction and it worked out just fine. Thanks!!

  • I love your website. I get so many wonderful recipes… I made this tonight but I made a few exchanges. I used Farro instead of barley and goat cheese instead of feta. I also added one more tablespoon of oil as well as a teaspoon of honey. The results were delicious.

    • Thank you, Susan! 💜 So glad you loved the salad.

  • This salad is amazing. I forgot to pick up cilantro so just added more coriander. I could eat it for three meals a day! So nutritious as well!

  • Amazing middle eastern medley meal! The pomegranate molasses adds so much flavor to the well-balanced dressing. The bits of raisin and pomegranate seeds burst with flavor as you eat one spoonful after another. I personally don’t do dairy or oil and was easily able to convert this recipe to that by using a vegetable stock instead of oil and used tofu cubes baked with nutritional yeast and onion salt for the feta. But I actually preferred to skip the tofu/feta and just eat the grain. I like to add a bean, so considered french lentils for my next attempt at this recipe. The pomegranate molasses was not available in my neighborhood, but it was easy to make by reducing pomegranate juice on the stove top. I also thought of adding dried barberries or red currents instead of the raisins. This is going to be one of my stables with many expressions depending what is in the fridge. Very elegant for Christmas with the red/green combo. Thank you so much Jenn for this amazing recipe and sharing your inspirations with all of us. Happy Holiday cooking!

  • Hello! This recipe looks fabulous, but I really don’t want to buy pomegranate molasses just to try it. Is there a adequate substitution, or should I leave it out?

    • You could try a balsamic glaze but you might need to reduce the sugar in the recipe. Please lmk how it turns out if you try it!

  • I’m allergic to gluten. Could this be done with a gluten free grain like rice or quinoa? What would you recommend?

    • Sure, Lisa. I’d probably go with a wild rice blend. Please LMK how it turns out!

  • I eat a vegan diet. Would you recommend just leaving the feta out, or is there something else you might add as a substitute?

    • Hi, you could replace the feta with a combination of chickpeas (for their creaminess) and either olives or capers (or both!) for their salty/briny flavor. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.