Make Ahead

Grape and Brie Barley Salad

October  4, 2022
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish
Author Notes

I had some cooked pearl barley on hand after making some lemon barley water (a very refreshing British beverage). I decided to turn it into a salad. I combined it with the flavors of one of my favorite pizzas. The mildly chewy, slightly earthy barley became a perfect backdrop for some juicy grapes, crunchy walnuts, and herbaceous rosemary. The whole thing is bound together with mayonnaise lightened a bit with sherry vinegar and olive oil. —hardlikearmour

What You'll Need
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • wedge brie - 4 to 5 ounces
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (a fruity one if you've got options)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 cup minced chives
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons minced rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • bunch seedless red grapes (enough for 1 cup quartered)
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  1. Do ahead: Rinse barley and place in a 3 to 4 quart stock pot. Cover with 2 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high, then turn down to maintain a low simmer. Cook until soft but still a bit chewy, about 30 to 40 minutes. Drain the barley and transfer to a storage container. Allow to cool before covering and chilling. (If desired skim the foam and strain the water into a bowl to make lemon barley water.) You should have about 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups cooked barley. (NOTE: I didn't salt the water because I wanted to drink it. If you salt the cooking water, make sure to leave out the salt in the recipe until tasting it at the end.)
  2. When ready to make the salad: Place the brie in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to firm it up a bit so it is easier to cube.
  3. Combine the cooked barley, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, olive oil, sherry vinegar, chives, 1 teaspoon rosemary, black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Fold and stir until everything is well combined. If it seems dry, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons mayonnaise.
  4. Quarter enough grapes (pole to pole) to measure 1 cup. Add the grapes and chopped walnuts to the barley mixture.
  5. Cut the rind from the brie, then cube the brie so the pieces are similar in size to the grape slivers. Add the brie to the bowl. Mix well. (The brie will start to melt a bit with stirring. I like it to get pretty incorporated into the mixture, so stir quite a bit) Taste and add salt and rosemary as needed. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Garnish with a cluster of grapes and a sprig of rosemary if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • EmilyC
  • aargersi
  • lapadia
  • hardlikearmour
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.

10 Reviews

Madhuja October 4, 2012
I have been on the lookout for an interesting barley salad and this totally fits the bill! I love fruits, nuts and cheese together in a salad!
hardlikearmour October 5, 2012
Thanks, Madhuja! I hope you get a chance to try it.
EmilyC July 21, 2012
Made your salad this afternoon for dinner tonight with grilled flat iron steak. Of course I had to taste it first, and it's fantastic! I LOVE the grapes with the brie and rosemary (a flavor combo I've never had before) and the contrast of flavors and textures here is really wonderful. Also appreciate your handling of the's just enough to make the salad creamy without overwhelming the other flavors, and the sherry vinegar perfectly cuts the richness. Can't wait to have a big helping at dinner!
hardlikearmour July 21, 2012
Thank you for such a wonderful review! I confess to not being the biggest mayo fan, so I'm glad you found the balance to your liking. The pizza I used as my inspiration was a flavor revelation for me - who knew grapes, brie, and rosemary worked so well together?
aargersi July 15, 2012
I love love love grainy cheesy fruity nutty salads like this. Big yum factor.
hardlikearmour July 15, 2012
Thanks, a! I wasn't sure how it would work, but it came together beautifully.
EmilyC July 14, 2012
Yum! These are ingredients I almost always have on hand so I'm looking forward to trying this! Love the grape-rosemary combination.
hardlikearmour July 14, 2012
I'd be thrilled if you tried it! The rosemary and grapes play well together.
lapadia July 14, 2012
OMGosh, this sounds deliciously satisfying and your photo is enticing, as always!
hardlikearmour July 14, 2012
Thank you, lapadia! The combination of textures and flavors is pretty satisfying.