Pearl Barley with Pesto & Roasted Tomatoes


pearl barley recipe

pearl barley recipe

pearl barley recipe

pearl barley recipe

This is a great vegetarian option for Meatless Monday, or also works well as a side dish for roast chicken, grilled white fish, meatballs or lamb. It can be served warm, or at room temperature. You could easily substitute the cooked pearl barley with cooked farro, spelt, quinoa or buckwheat.


  • 1 cup/ 180g pearl barley (makes 3 ½ cups of cooked grains. You can substitute with farro, spelt, quinoa or buckwheat)
  • 3 cups water
  • 300g cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 head of garlic, top sliced off
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt
  • 400g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 2 tbsp pepitas/pumpkin seeds


Makes 200 ml/ ¾ cup of pesto. Can also substitute with good quality pre-made pesto.

  • 50g fresh basil
  • 30g pine nuts
  • 90ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 30g parmesan, grated (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt


  1. Rinse the pearl barley then combine with the water, cover with a lid and bring to the boil in a small pot, reduce to a simmer and cook with a covered lid for 20 minutes until the pearl barley is soft. Drain the excess water and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Combine the cherry tomatoes and head of garlic, cut side down in a small roasting dish. Cover with olive oil and season with salt. Roast for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining all of the pesto ingredients in a food processor and blitz until you have a rustic paste. Taste and add more salt and or vinegar if needed. 
  4. To assemble the salad toss the pearl barley with the chickpeas and the pesto, season to taste. Adorn with the roasted tomatoes, drizzle over a little of the roasting juices from the tomatoes and top with the pepitas just before serving. 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4

Recipe by Tori Haschka & pics from Anastasia Zolotarev.