Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

Gavin Wren Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegetarian

Method: Chuck it all in a bowl. Mix it up. Eat.

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

If only all recipes could be that simple! You want dinner, you want it to be tasty but you don’t want to spend hours doing it. With a little bit of forethought, recipes like this one can fall straight into that category, they’re really easy to make and fit around your life with a little bit of ‘mise en place’.

In case you’re wondering what that is, ‘mise en place’ is a French term which basically means ‘setting up’, and refers to the idea that before cooking or making a recipe, you should get out all of your ingredients, weigh and measure them, then start. In a professional kitchen it all falls under the term ‘prep’, where you spend hours and hours doing the most mundane cutting, peeling and cooking, so that when service starts, everything is ready, prepared and in place.

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

But if you apply that to your home cooking a little bit, you can make recipes much quicker to prepare.

Take the number one ingredient here, butternut squash, which takes the longest to peel, cut and prepare from the whole ingredient list. You can peel and cube this in advance, so if you want to do this for lunch on Sunday, there’s nothing to stop you doing the prep with dinner on Saturday. Then you can just store the peeled and cubed squash in an airtight container until you cook it. Or, as this is a recipe that can be served cold, you could even cook it in advance, same goes for the barley. Get it all prepped and even cooked, then in sealed containers ready for service.

By doing that, it means that when you come to serve, you just have to weigh and chop a few other ingredients which can be done in 10 minutes. Then, chuck it all in a bowl, mix it up. Eat.

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad

Zingy barley, squash and parsley salad


Serves 4

Uses 1 pot

PDF recipe card to download or print


150g pearl barley
2 small or one large squash (1.6k – 2.0kg), chopped into 1cm chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon nigella seeds

100g chopped almonds
150g chopped dried apricots
100g flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cardamon pods, seeds only, ground
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lemon, zest and juice
3 tablespoons olive oil


Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 8, 450ºF, 232ºC, 212ºC fan.

Put the barley in a pan with lots of water and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

Mix the diced squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the ground coriander and nigella seeds, cook in the oven for 40 minutes.

Mix the almonds, apricots, parsley and red onion in a bowl. Mix the cardamon, garlic, lemon and olive oil in a bowl/mug/jar to make the dressing. When cooked, add the barley and squash to the bowl, then mix in the dressing. Combine it all well and serve.

Brain Food looks behind the stories we get told about food.

Join the community today.
* indicates required

Brain Food Studio can keep me updated with food news and events via:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.