Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Barley Summer Salad

This recipe is a must for all barley fans, and it’s truly a perfect summer dish: easy to cook and to share with friends, it’s great to bring along on a beach day.

I am a strong proponent of homemade pesto, and although I understand some people may not feel up to it, I recommend making your own. Once you try it, supermarket pesto will taste like nothing to you – trust me on this one. If you want to give it a try, here’s my go-to recipe: Homemade Pesto Genovese

And now, without further ado, let’s dive in! I present you with a cold, healthy salad that doesn’t skimp on taste – but still remains light and fresh.

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 5 to 10 mins | Cooking time: 25-30 mins

  • Pearl barley: 380 g
  • Canned tuna fillets: 300 g
  • Pesto: 180 g
  • Tomatoes, medium-sized: 2
  • Lemon zest: about 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil: to taste
  • Salt: to taste
  • Basil leaves (for garnishing)


Boil the barley in salty water over low heat. Stir it from time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Meanwhile, rinse the tomatoes, cut them in small cubes and set them aside, without getting rid of their pulp and juice. Drain the canned tuna and break the fillets in smaller pieces with your fingers.

If you are using ready-made pesto, make sure to drain the excess oil.

Drain the barley once it’s ready and pour it in a bowl greased with some olive oil. Add the pesto, the tomatoes, and the zest of about one medium-sized lemon.

Tip: Even once drained from boiling water, barley and rice continue to cook because of the heat they retain. To prevent the barley from overcooking, rinse it under cold tap water whilst stirring it with a spoon. This technique will also prevent the grains from sticking to each other.

Add olive oil and salt to taste, then some fresh basil leaves to garnish each plate, and serve.

Buon appetito!

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