Barley and Wild Rice Salad | Recipe | Barley, Wild Rice, and Craisins

Everyone loves this Barley and Wild Rice Salad.  My aunt first concocted it many years ago and now it's a family favorite.  This salad has unique flavors and interesting textures.  When I told my mom I had to planned to make this, she stated, as though it were fact, "Oh, yeah.  That's good." 

I have many tips for this recipe:
  • Do not substitute the Champagne vinegar with any other vinegar.  The Champagne vinegar is a key ingredient and substituting the vinegar will drastically alter this unique flavor.
  • I used pot barley because it's what I had in the house, but my preference is pearl barley.  It looks so much prettier, but either variety will work.
  • This is great if made the day of, even better if made a day in advance, and best if made two days ahead. 
  • A pressure-cooker can be a real time-saver.  While you are welcome to cook the barley and rice the conventional way, using a pressure cooker can cut the time in half, if not more.  For example, wild rice normally takes 60 minutes to cook on the stove top, but only 20 minutes in a pressure cooker.  Follow these simple tips:
    • Always rinse any type of grain with water before cooking
    • Soak barely in water for at least 4 hours.  This will cut down drastically on the cooking time.
    • Combine 1/2 c barley and 1-1/2 c water (for pot barley) or 2 c water (for pearl barley) in the pot of  a pressure cooker.  Once pressure builds, cook for 20 minutes (for pot barley) or 15-20 minutes (for pearl barley).  Rinse well under cold water and drain.
    • Combine 1/2 c wild rice and 1-1/2 c water.  Cook for 20 minutes.  Rinse under cold water and drain well.
If you don't have a pressure cooker, but are toying with the idea of purchasing one, I strongly recommend the Fagor Futuro model.  This is the brand I use and it cooks things evenly and in the expected time frame.  A pressure cooker is a wonderful investment piece if you cook items such as beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, beans, barley, wild rice, etc.  It saves you time and in the long-run, money, by cutting your cooking time in half.

Barley and Wild Rice Salad
Yields: 6-8 servings

1/2 c barley
1/2 c wild rice
1/2 shallot, minced
2 Tbsp Champagne vinegar
1/4 c olive oil
1/3 c craisins or raisins
1/4 c scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 c parsley leaves, torn
1/4 c walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted
salt and pepper

1. Soak barley in 2 c water 4 hours or overnight. 
2. Rinse barley and rice separately under cold water.  Cook barley and rice separately.  (See notes above for time-saving tips).  Rinse both under cold water and drain well.
3. Combine shallot and vinegar; let stand 5 minutes.  Whisk in olive oil.
4. Combine barley, rice and vinaigrette.  Toss well to combine.
5. Add craisins, scallions, parsley and walnuts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.
6. If making ahead, mix well before serving.  Taste and adjust seasoning.


Nicole said... [Reply]

This looks so pretty and tasty.