Barley and Corn Tabbouleh Recipe | Pamela Salzman & Recipes Skip to content

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh Recipe

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh | Pamela Salzman

I am taking a little break from life this week at the Golden Door, just for a couple of days.  I am not normally the type of person that indulges in me-time, but I am realizing it’s a very healthy thing to do and I will try to incorporate more down-time in my life.  I’ve been so delighted by my visit here that I will probably write a blogpost about it and incorporate a recipe inspired by the amazing food and organic gardens at the Golden Door. More on that coming.

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh | Pamela Salzman

In the meantime, I am finding a few minutes to write a quick blogpost about a divine summer salad which I know you will love.  It’s a twist on tabbouleh, which is a Middle Eastern parsley salad with bulgur wheat, tomatoes, mint and a few other wonderful ingredients.  I posted a quinoa tabbouleh a few years ago and it is a staple recipe for me.  But this one is barley-based and it is just as delicious but maybe a little sweeter due to the addition of fresh, sweet corn.  It is truly the perfect summer salad or side dish.

Many people think of barley as a grain in soups, but it is a wonderful base for grain bowls, salads and even as a warm breakfast porridge.  Barley has loads of fiber and protein, which allows it to boast a very low glycemic index.  It is a terrific grain for diabetics in moderation.

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh | Pamela Salzman

I love the chewy texture of barley and it pairs so well with all the ingredients here.  I encourage you to try this salad and then try substituting barley in your favorite pasta or orzo salad for a more nutrient-rich dish.  If you can find very fresh sweet corn, don’t bother cooking it.  Raw corn is fabulous, juicy and crunchy.  This salad is terrific as a vegetarian meal (you can even add feta to it or toasted pine nuts) or as a side with a simple piece of fish, shellfish or grilled chicken.  Leftovers stay beautifully for a few days in the fridge.

Obviously you’ll need to make this ASAP since tomatoes and corn are really on their way out.  You likely have another 4-6 weeks before they’re gone for good.  Trust me, this is a great recipe.  If you are going to a potluck on Labor Weekend, offer to bring this!

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh | Pamela Salzman

Barley and Corn Tabbouleh Recipe
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 cup semi-pearled barley, rinsed (like Arrowhead Mills or Bob's Red Mill)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh* or cooked corn kernels, about 3 ears of corn
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or diced regular tomatoes
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup unrefined cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley**
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Combine barley and a pinch of salt in a pot and add water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the barley in a colander. Rinse well under cold running water until cool. Drain well.
  2. Combine cooled barley and remaining ingredients plus 1 ½ teaspoons salt in a large serving bowl. Toss to mix well. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Cover and let sit at room temperature for a few hours before serving or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
*You can use raw corn if it is really fresh, otherwise use cooked corn – steamed, boiled or grilled is just as tasty.
**The more parsley, the better for you. You can double it if you have the patience to chop it!

Additions: toasted pine nuts, chopped black olives, feta
Subsitutions: cucumber for the corn
Arrowhead Mills and Bob's Red Mill barley will be labeled "pearled" but it's really only semi-pearled.


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  1. Ehat would be the best gluten-free substitute for barley?

    • You can try using buckwheat, millet, or quinoa in place of the barley.

  2. I made this for a family party this past weekend. So delicious! I actually had everything except the corn but I had a brand new container of cucumbers. I saw that you mentioned the cucumbers as a substitution so in they went. It was so light and lemony and the parsley and mint just pair so well together. My sister wants me to make this for her daughter’s first birthday in a couple of months. 🙂 As always, thank you!

    • Yes! So glad you were comfortable making that substitution. Love it!

  3. This tabbouleh recipe is excellent! The mint and lemon make it so refreshing and appropriate for summer (also very easy to make). Since there was some left-over tabbouleh, I added left-over cooked broccoli to it, readjusted the seasonings and served it another day. Thank you for such versatile recipes!

    • So happy to hear how you repurposed this salad. Broccoli sounds like a perfect addition!

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I come from a large Italian-American family with 28 first cousins (on one side of the family!) where sit-down holiday dinners for 85 people are the norm (how, you might ask – organization! But more on that later …).

Some of my fondest memories are of simple family gatherings, both large and small, with long tables of bowls and platters piled high, the laughter of my cousins echoing and the comfort of tradition warming my soul.

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