Squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

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(101 ratings)

Cook: 25 mins 5 mins, plus cooling


Serves 8
A flavour-packed, unusual salad that's delicious warm or cold - works really well as part of a buffet

Nutrition and extra info

  • Dairy-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal301
  • fat14g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs40g
  • sugars9g
  • fibre0g
  • protein6g
  • salt0.55g
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  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into long pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 250g pearl barley
  • 300g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into medium-size pieces



    Like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli is a brassica and is sometimes known by its Italian name…

  • 100g SunBlush tomato, sliced



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp small capers, rinsed
    Capers in bowl



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. As they…

  • 15 black olives, pitted
  • 20g pack basil, chopped



    Most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking but also very prevalent in Asian food, the…

For the dressing

  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    Balsamic vinegar

    Balsamic vinegar

    bal-sam-ick vin-ee-gah

    True Balsamic vinegar is an artisan product from Modena, in Emilia Romagna, Italy, and is made…

  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped


  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins. Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente. While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.

  2. Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Linda Parkinson's picture
Linda Parkinson
7th Mar, 2020
If you don't like the vinegar aspect, try it with Tahini dressing, simply add water, salt, garlic and lemon juice to your bought Tahini - simples!
30th Apr, 2019
So I actually decided to make it again, considering everyone else seems to have loved it, and whadya know, it's actually really nice! Not sure what I got wrong last time, but I have now been won over and loved it.
30th Jan, 2019
Very sophisticated tastes! Although simple to make
3rd Sep, 2017
This salad is so delicious! Made it several times as a side alongside a BBQ and all my friends have asked me for the recipe as it is so yummy! Would not change a thing.
11th May, 2017
This was delicious. I roasted the brocolli rather than boiling for better flavour and preserved crunchiness. I also used the seeds from the butternut squash rather than getting pumpkin seeds seperately- I cleaned them up, patted them dry and generously salted them, and coated them in olive oil and roasted those- they were lovely with it.
evil_angelwings's picture
29th Apr, 2017
I have made this a few times now & it's great every time! I'm a vinegar fan so I love the dressing.
8th Mar, 2017
Tasty, all who tried it were pleasantly surprised !
7th Aug, 2016
Really enjoyed the fresh flavours of this salad. I had to cook the barley for 10 min extra but the overall taste and look of this dish was very pleasing. I couldn't find sun blush tomatoes in the supermarket so popped some cherry tomatoes in the oven with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt with the butternut squash. The dressing was sharp and tangy but I like balsamic vinegar! Will definitely make again.
7th May, 2016
I thought it was excellent, including the dressing, though we do like balsamic vinegar. I would perhaps use less onion next time, but that's preference and I found both the butternut squash and pearl barley took much longer to cook than stated. Will definitely make again - my husband wants it weekly!
12th Jul, 2015
Delicious. I found the dressing very nice- though reduced the amount of balsamic to 3-4 tbs. I did find it needed twice the amount of dressing. Much may depend on the quality of your olive oil and balsamic. I would make this again. Highly recommended for lunch or veggie supper with other veggie dishes. Would also go nicely with roasted chicken, or lamb, or salmon.


10th Mar, 2014
Does pearl barley need soaking before cooking?
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Mar, 2014
Hi there. There is no need to soak the barley before serving. Enjoy!
Rhymed's picture
28th Jun, 2013
This is such a gorgeous recipe! If you're making this when tenderstem or asparagus aren't in season, however, or you'd like to cut ingredient costs, consider these changes? Use fresh cherry/small plum tomatoes instead of sunblush. These little beauties can be put into the oven at the same time as the butternut squash and simply burst with juice when popped into your mouth! Green beans instead of tenderstem or asparagus. If you blanch the beans (steam/boil for longer if you're not a big fan of crunchy), they're a delicious replacement. Shock with cold water immediately when you remove from the hot water and they'll stay verdant green.
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