Roasted Carrots Mediterranean Barley Salad with Spinach and Mint

Heart-healthy, nutritious and delicious Mediterranean barley salad loaded with roasted carrots, crunchy nuts, leafy greens, fresh herbs, and a luscious creamy balsamic dressing. This vegan superfood bowl is a meal-prep-friendly salad you will want to make on repeat.

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This easy Roasted Carrots Mediterranean Barley salad with spinach and mint is a fresh, colorful, and absolutely mouthwatering salad that will make your tastebuds feel alive. Featuring roasted carrots, fluffy fragrant grains, nutritious silky spinach, and crunchy salted nuts paired with lots of fresh herbs…it’s a nutritional powerhouse of delicious proportions served in a bowl.

Top 3 Reasons why you need this salad in your life

  • It’s a heart-healthy, nutritious Mediterranean salad that will keep you feeling full
  • Meal-prep heaven – this salad can be made in advance making it a great on-the-go next day lunch option 
  • Every bite is like a mini-vacation to the Mediterranean 

Meal prep friendly salad

One of the best things (and there are a lot of great things about this recipe) is that it’s meal-prep friendly. Thanks to the hardiness of the grains this salad will keep up to 3 days in the refrigerator and still taste as good as the day it was prepared. Just keep the nuts separate until it’s time to eat because nuts will become soft if kept in the refrigerator in a salad. 

This amazing easy meal-prep friendly roasted carrots Mediterranean salad with spinach and mint is:

  • Soooo tasty
  • Easy to make 
  • A simple, no-fuss salad
  • Vegan
  • Bright and colorful 
  • Loaded with healthy nutrients, and heart-healthy ingredients 
  • Filling and will keep you feeling full for longer
  • Can work as a main dish or side dish equally well
  • Adaptable – add any roasted vegetables you want
  • Great for any season – winter, spring, summer, you name it 

Make it your own Mediterranean Barley salad

Serve it hot or cold. Eat it as it is on its own as a healthy lunch. Add beans or tofu for plant-based protein. Or add my vegan scrambled eggs to turn it into a breakfast hash dish of epic deliciousness.

Don’t have barley grains? Substitute it with wild rice, quinoa, farro, or your grain of choice. Prefer walnuts to almonds? Just switch out the nuts to your favorite.

Whatever you want to make, this easy salad can become anything you want.

What ingredients do you need to make Mediterranean roasted vegetable grain salad:

  • Carrots 
  • Spinach 
  • Barley 
  • Salted almonds 
  • Fresh mint – or herb of your choice 
  • Of course, you also need my super easy, super tasty balsamic dressing to bring this easy salad to the next level.

What ingredients do you need to make the vegan balsamic dressing:

Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter (optional but makes it amazing and creamy)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

How to make the best vegan balsamic dressing. Because it couldn’t be any easier. 

  • Just add all the dressing ingredients to a bowl or a jar.
  • If making in a jar, cover with a lid and shake together vigorously to combine. 
  • If making in a bowl, simply whisk the ingredients together with a fork.
  • Store the dressing in the refrigerator for up to seven days.

How to cook barley grains

If you don’t know how to cook barley, don’t worry. You’re not alone. But I’m here to guide you through it. And luckily, it’s actually pretty simple to cook the tender chewy barley that we all want. So, let’s look at how it’s done.

To cook Mediterranean Barley Salad:

Cooking pot barley in an instant pot (time approximately 25-minutes)

Rinse the barley before cooking. Add 1 cup barley to the instant pot and cover with 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock. Add a pinch of salt. Make sure the ceiling ring is in place and close the lid shut with the nob turned towards the ceiling. 

Cook on high pressure with the quick release on for 25-minutes.

Use the natural pressure release until the pin drops (should take around 25-minutes).

Once the barley has cooked, carefully stir it with a spoon to make it fluffy and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes before adding the vegetables.

Cooking pot barley on the stove (time approximately 50 minutes)

  • Pour the barley into a pot and cover it with the vegetable broth. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil (keep a close eye on the pot because barley tends to want to boil over). Once the water boils, turn the heat down to a simmer and let the barley cook until the water has absorbed. Pot barley will need to cook for around 50-minutes. 
  • Once the barley has cooked, remove it from the stove and leave to cool a little.

Cooking Pearl barley in an instant pot (time approximately 20 minutes)

  • Add 1 cup barley to the instant pot and cover with 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock. Add a pinch of salt. Make sure the ceiling ring is in place and close the lid shut with the nob turned towards the ceiling. 
  • Cook on high pressure with the quick release on for 20-minutes 
  • Use the natural pressure release until the pin drops (should take around 25-minutes).
  • Once the barley has cooked, carefully stir it with a spoon to make it fluffy and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes before adding the vegetables.

Cooking Pearl barley on the stove (time approximately 35 minutes)

  • Pour the barley into a pot and cover it with the vegetable broth. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil (keep a close eye on the pot because barley tends to want to boil over). Once the water boils, turn the heat down to a simmer and let the barley cook until the water has absorbed. Pearl barley will need to cook for around 35-minutes.
  • Once the barley has cooked, remove it from the stove and leave to cool a little.

Roasted Carrots Mediterranean Barley salad with Spinach and Mint

Heart-healthy, nutritious and delicious Mediterranean barley salad loaded with roasted carrots, crunchy nuts, leafy greens, fresh herbs, and a luscious creamy balsamic dressing. This vegan superfood bowl is a meal-prep-friendly salad you will want to make on repeat.
This easy Roasted Carrots Mediterranean Barley salad with spinach and mint is a fresh, colorful, and absolutely mouthwatering salad that will make your tastebuds feel alive. Featuring roasted carrots, fluffy fragrant grains, nutritious silky spinach, and crunchy salted nuts paired with lots of fresh herbs…it’s a nutritional powerhouse of delicious proportions served in a bowl.
Course Salad
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

Barley Grains

  • 1 cup Barley Uncooked
  • 3 cups Vegetable Broth
  • Pinch of salt

Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4-6 Carrots Sliced
  • 1 cup Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 2 tsp Paprika
  • ½ tsp Salt

Balsamic Dressing

  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter or Almond Butter (optional, but makes it extra creamy)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard

Instructions

Cooking barley on a stovetop

  • Rinse the barley before cooking. Pour the barley into a pot and cover it with the vegetable broth. Add a pinch of salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a boil (keep a close eye on the pot because barley tends to want to boil over). Once the water boils, turn the heat down to a simmer and let the barley cook until the water has absorbed. Pearl barley will need to cook for around 35-minutes and pot barley will need to cook for closer to 50-minutes. 
    Once the barley has cooked, remove it from the stove and leave to cool a little.

Cooking barley in an instant pot 

  • Add 1 cup barley to the instant pot and cover with 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock. Add a pinch of salt. Make sure the ceiling ring is in place and close the lid shut with the nob turned towards the ceiling. 
  • Cook on high pressure with the quick release on for:
    Pearl barley instant pot cooking time: 20-minutes 
    Pot barley instant pot cooking time: 25-minutes 
    Use the natural pressure release until the pin drops (should take around 25-minutes).
    Once the barley has cooked, carefully stir it with a spoon to make it fluffy and leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes before adding the vegetables.

Making the dressing 

  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl or jar until combined. Set aside.

Making the roasted carrots 

  • Heat oven to 400f and line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
  • Place the carrots on the lined baking sheet and season with olive oil, salt, thyme, oregano, and paprika. Toss to coat the carrots and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the carrots are roasted to your satisfaction. 
    Chop the salted nuts roughly. 

Making the salad

  • Once the grains are cooked, add the spinach, chopped nuts, half of the chopped herbs, and balsamic dressing, and toss to combine. Garnish with the rest of the herbs and serve.

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