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Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens

Here we have a lovely mix of chewy tender barley grains tossed with sweet golden beets and their greens, with crunchy slightly bitter toasted walnuts and salty feta cheese, all dressed in a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. This barley salad with golden beets is so good it will sell beets to professed beet haters. Be sure to use golden beets so they don’t suspect! 

Golden beets for CSA members. Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens and ow to sell beets to a beet hater!


Three tips for selling beets to beet haters:

  • First–start with golden beets. They are sweeter than the red ones and beet’s earthy flavor is less apparent.
  • Second–roast those beautiful golden beets. Roasting beets, in the oven or on a grill, concentrates their sweet flavor component, much more so than when beets are boiled.
  • Third–catch the beet-hater off guard.  Hide them in a grain salad with spicy vinaigrette, like this barley salad with golden beets.

When you find beets with the healthy greens intact, cook and enjoy those greens–it’s like getting 2 vegetables for the price of one. In this recipe we sauté the greens in coconut oil with mustard and cumin seeds and chopped onion, then toss the seasoned wilted greens in with the barley and roasted beets, walnuts and feta cheese!

I’m delighted you found me in this little corner of the world wide web. I hope this recipe inspires you get in the kitchen and cook something delicious! And maybe sell beets to a beet hater!

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5 from 1 vote
Golden Beets and their greens for Barley Salad with Golden Beets
Barley Salad with Golden Beets and Their Greens
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins

This salad is perfect for potluck dinners. It holds well on a buffet and feeds plenty of eaters. Or keep the deliciousness for you and your family, and enjoy it for several days, lunch and dinner! Make about 6 cups, serves 12.

Course: Salad
Keyword: barley, golden beets,
Servings: 12 servings.
Author: Letty Flatt
  • 4 medium beets , including their green tops
  • 1 cup pearl barley , rinsed
  • ½ plus 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, or freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 to 3 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts , lightly toasted
  1. Heat a grill or oven to medium-high or 350° F. Cut the tops off the beets and set them aside. Gently scrub any dirt from the beets and wrap them up in foil. Place the beets on the grill and grill-roast until they are-fork-tender, 45 minutes to an hour. Let them cool until you can handle them, then slip off the peel with your fingers. Dice the beets into ½-inch cubes.

  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring 3 to 4 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the barley and the first ½ teaspoon of the salt. Return to a simmer. Cook until the barley is tender to your tooth, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

  3. Wash the beet greens. Strip away and discard the stems. Cut the greens into ribbons, about ¼-inch thick.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mustard and cumin seeds along with the onion. Cook until the onion turns translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. The mustard seeds will pop noisily. Add the beet greens and cook, stirring every so often, until the greens have wilted, about 5 minutes.

  5. Mix the chopped beets, barley, and wilted greens in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk the olive oil with the vinegar, the remaining salt and the cayenne. (see note)

  6. Pour the dressing over salad, tossing until everything is lightly coated and well mixed. Refrigerate until the beets and barley are cold.

  7. To serve, toss in the feta and chopped walnuts. Taste and adjust the salt and cayenne if you determine the salad needs more seasoning.
Recipe Notes

Use less cayenne if you want your salad less spicy.


  • Great tip Letty. I was a beet hater for years and found that if I grated them and added cheese and spices and then cooked them as patties, it went very well. Reply · 23 August, 2012

  • […] Red Velvet. That’s what they look like. With tender cake-like texture but not the bleeding brightness that ¼ cup of red food color brings to a 9-inch round cake. Finish with a swirl of chocolate honey glaze and you’ve got a winner, another way to surprise beet haters. […] Reply · 20 December, 2013

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