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Barley & Black-Eyed Pea Salad

Mark Thomas

Servings: six to eight.

I like the flavor and texture of frozen black-eyed peas, but you can also use canned (rinse them well and don’t cook them). Be sure to buy pearled barley, which has been hulled and polished. Barley that isn’t pearled never really softens when cooked.


For the salad:

  • 1/2 cup pearled barley
  • 1-1/2 cups rich vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup frozen black-eyed peas
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, charred, peeled, and diced
  • 1 cup seeded and diced ripe tomato
  • 3/4 to 1 cup diagonally sliced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup cooked fresh (or thawed, frozen) corn kernels
  • Green and red leaf lettuce leaves (optional)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lime or lemon zest
  • 1/4 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. finely minced cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on eight servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 150
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 50
  • Fat (g): 6
  • Saturated Fat (g): 1
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Cholesterol (mg): 0
  • Sodium (mg): 160
  • Carbohydrates (g): 24
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Protein (g): 4


  • In a dry saucepan, lightly toast the barley over moderate heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, partially uncovered, until cooled to room temperature before stirring.
  • Meanwhile, cook the peas in lightly salted boiling water until just tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and set aside. (If using canned peas, don’t cook them, just rinse them well.) Meanwhile, cook the peas in lightly salted boiling water until just tender but not mushy, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool, and set aside. (If using canned peas, don’t cook them, just rinse them well.)

To make the vinaigrette:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lime (or lemon) juice, zest, garlic, cumin, cilantro, oil, and honey; add salt and pepper to taste. In a large glass bowl, layer the barley, peas, roasted pepper, tomato, scallions, and corn. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad and toss before serving. If you like, arrange greens on serving plates and top with the salad.


Rate or Review

Reviews (3 reviews)

  • user-1038795 | 05/25/2022

    I have made this recipe again and again and again for all sorts of gatherings and home dinners since it was published in one of my first Fine Cooking Magazines. It's a hit every single time. Perfect balance of flavors and textures. I can't say enough about it, I share it all the time. I'm making it for our Memorial Day BBQ this weekend and friends look forward to it every gathering! Love it! Thanks for posting such great recipes.

  • lichfield | 07/05/2021

    I made this using freshly prepared black-eyed peas. It is a fantastic recipe though I found the vinaigrette to be much too lemony. I added a bunch of things I had on hand to tone it down. I also did not add cilantro as we are not fans of that flavor. Overall, it was excellent and I will make it again during the summer.

  • NevaElizabeth | 06/03/2008

    This is an unusual salad with great crowd appeal. It is a hit every time I serve it.

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