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Herb Barley with Roasted Asparagus

This spring I decided to do a pantry clean out.  After moving this winter with boxes filled with pantry ingredients it beckoned me to start planning my meals around what I have on hand to use up the ingredients. I have placed myself on a grocery freeze, only purchasing fresh produce for the next few months in order to go through my pantry and use up everything. Today is the day I am going to experiment with some new recipes and want to share the journey with you.

Today’s Pantry Inspiration: Barley

I have never cooked barley and until today I do not recall ever having it. I am incredibly surprised at how under used barley is in dishes. It tastes amazing and my entire family loved this dish. If you have never cooked with barley I hight recommend you try. It is so simple and so delicious. I even started making overnight ‘oatmeal’ breakfast dishes with cooked barley and my three year old loves them!

The recipe I tried was a simple and delicious herb barley salad that is topped with delicious roasted asparagus. This recipe I have adapted and changed slightly from Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe.I will be making this again very soon.

Herb Barley with Roasted Asparagus

Yield: 4

Herb Barley with Roasted Asparagus


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 3 cups water
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, chives or arugula
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 small garlic clove, puréed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Lemon wedges for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat a 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat and add barley. Toast in the pan, shaking pan or stirring grains until they become fragrant. Add water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste, reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 to 50 minutes, until barley is tender. Drain off any liquid remaining through a strainer. Shake strainer and return barley to pot. Cover pot with a clean dishtowel and the lid. Allow barley to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, roast asparagus and make dressing: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Snap off woody ends of the asparagus and place them in a large bowl. Add olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and toss together until asparagus is coated with oil (I do this with my hands). Place asparagus on lined baking sheet, making sure it is one layer deep and place in oven. Roast for about 10-12 minutes, (depending on thickness of asparagus) or until tender and beginning to shrivel. It should be browned in spots. Remove from oven.
  3. Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, salt, lemon zest, garlic, and dry mustard. Whisk in olive oil.
  4. Transfer cooked barley to a large bowl. Add herbs and vinaigrette and toss together until barley is evenly and coated with dressing. Arrange on a platter or on individual plates. Lay stalks of roasted asparagus on top, and serve.



About The Author


Upstate New York Mother who loves to cook for her family, come up with creative projects and solutions to everyday problems and make fun memories with her daughters. Even in this crazy hectic world, she believes in celebrating the small things and taking the time to make the everyday extra special.

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