Roasted vegetable and barley salad with creamy tahini dressing

Deeply savoury roasted vegetables, crunchy sweet cucumbers & peppers, and a creamy tahini dressing, make for a deliciously hearty barley salad.

Does anyone else quake with dread at the words “three day yomtov”? When Rosh Hashanah starts on a Wednesday evening you know you’re in for SIX big festive meals in quick succession. By Shabbat lunchtime I just want to have a glass of mint tea and maybe a cracker, and ask me again on Monday.

Then you get to do it all again, TWICE, a couple of weeks later.

How to survive a 3 day YomTov

This year, I have decided to take a slightly different approach. Here are my new rules for surviving a three day yomtov:

  • No more than 3 courses per meal (ideally only 2)
  • No heavy desserts – fruit or light desserts only
  • Lunches are mostly salads
  • Shabbat lunch = challah + leftovers 

I’m probably late to the party and everyone else has been eating this way for years, but it feels like a breakthrough (of sorts) to me. We’ll see how we get on. Hopefully I’ll still have room for a slice of honey cake or a biscuit on Shabbat afternoon, which will be a distinct success!

Salad days

So, given we will be enjoying at least two meals of mostly salads, I thought I ought to come up with a few new ones. I always like to have at least one ‘carby’ salad like a potato salad or something with grains or rice, so I decided to have a go at a lovely autumnal barley salad with roasted veg. Yum.

Deeply savoury roasted vegetables, plus crunchy sweet cucumbers & peppers, and a creamy tahini dressing, combine in this deliciously hearty barley salad.

There’s a moderate amount of prep involved, but then you can get on with something else while the beetroots, carrots and cauliflower roast and the barley cooks. The veg will look like a lot to begin with but it does shrink quite a bit in the oven – see the photo below. Once the veg and barley are cool, simply mix everything together and add the dressing when you’re ready to eat. Bob’s your uncle! 

before and after roasting - carrots, beetroot and cauliflower

Totally yummy!

I had a reasonable idea of how this barley salad would taste but it totally exceeded my expectations for yumminess! The roasted veg are intense and savoury, and every so often a fennel seed explodes with flavour. The cucumbers and peppers give crunch and sweetness, and the creamy dressing is just delicious. You probably won’t need quite all of the tahini dressing for the barley salad, so save the rest to dip veggie sticks or challah into, or just drizzle it over whatever else you fancy.

As per the recipe below, the roasted vegetable and barley salad is parve (and completely vegan) but I think some crumbled feta would be a fine addition. 

Serves 4-6 as a side dish.

Deeply savoury roasted vegetables, plus crunchy sweet cucumbers & peppers, and a creamy tahini dressing, combine in this deliciously hearty barley salad.

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roasted veg & barley salad
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5 from 3 votes

Roasted vegetable and barley salad with creamy tahini dressing

Deliciously savoury roasted vegetables and nutty pearl barley, dressed with a creamy and delicious tahini sauce.
Course Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Author Helen


  • 150 g pearl barley (3/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300 g carrot (3-4 medium)
  • 300 g beetroot (3-4 medium)
  • 300 g cauliflower (1/3-1/2 a medium head)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 spring onions (scallions)
  • 1 red pepper
  • 10 cm piece of cucumber
  • Little gem lettuce to serve (optional)

For the tahini dressing

  • 4 tbsp light tahini, well stirred
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2-1 tsp cumin
  • 3-4 tbsp warm water


  • Put the barley and soy sauce in a medium pan with 900ml (4 cups) water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and leave to simmer for 45-60 minutes until cooked.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 185C (350F). Peel the carrots and beetroot and cut into small dice. Cut the cauliflower into small florets and dice the stems.
  • Mix the diced carrot with 2 tsp olive oil and the fennel seeds. Spread over 1/3 of a large baking sheet.
  • Mix the diced beetroot with 2 tsp olive oil and the garlic powder. Spread over the next 1/3 of the baking sheet.
  • Mix the cauliflower pieces with 2 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread over the remaining 1/3 of the baking sheet.
  • Roast the vegetables at 185C (350F) for 35-40 minutes. The vegetables will shrink in size and become charred at the edges. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  • Once the barley is cooked, drain any remaining water and set aside to cool.
  • Finely slice the spring onions (scallions) and cut the pepper and cucumber into small dice.
  • Once the roasted vegetables and the barley are cool, mix them together and gently stir in the spring onions, pepper and cucumber.

To make the dressing

  • Mix together the tahini, vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and cumin. The mixture will clump together. Gradually whisk in the warm water until the dressing has the consistency of single cream. Mix everything well together and taste and add more soy sauce or cumin to taste.

To serve

  • Arrange the lettuce leaves on a serving plate if using, and spoon the barley salad over. Pour over the tahini dressing - you probably won't need all of it. Serve and enjoy!

More deliciousness!

You might also like some of these grainy salads:
Giant couscous salad with fresh herbs and crunchy nuts from Family Friends Food
Scottish barley & smoked salmon salad with whisky dressing from Foodie Quine
Three bean couscous salad from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
Summer herbed quinoa salad from Recipes From A Pantry
Warm rice and quinoa salad with pan fried tofu from Fab Food 4 All
Quinoa, watercress, walnut and blue cheese salad with roasted asparagus from Tin and Thyme
Balsamic roasted tomato, spinach and giant couscous salad from Kavey Eats.

If you’re looking to use up some fennel seeds, you might like to try parsnip and pea soup with fennel seeds, or dry-rubbed roasted salmon
And if barley’s your thing, how about butter-braised carrots and garlic with barley, mushroom, spinach & barley bake or a baked barley risotto with butternut squash.















  1. Pingback:The best sesame green bean salad - healthy, quick & delicious

  2. Agness of Run Agness Run

    This is a truly astonishing salad recipe, Helen! Is there any alternative to the soy sauce?

  3. Michelle @ Greedy Gourmet

    5 stars
    Ah, it’s getting colder so including barley in the salad will definitely add more weight to the meal to warm you up!

  4. 5 stars
    I love the idea of making salads with grains and veggies; in fact I do it an awful lot. This one looks like one to add to the list!

  5. Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche

    I’m not generally a salad lover but this looks amazing! Love hearty grains in salads, they really take them to the next level.

  6. Elizabeth Applebaum

    Can’t wait to try this! One question…my husband can’t have gluten. Can you recommend a replacement for the barley? Quinoa? Rice?
    Thank you!

  7. Lovely recipe! Would go lovely with a nice glass of white! Tahini seems to be all the rage at the moment as well and goes brilliantly with barley!

  8. The salad sounds delicious all on it’s own but tahini dressing can improve just about anything.

    • Thanks Choclette. I never used to be that into tahini but recently I’ve rediscovered it and I’m putting it on everything! So tasty, and so good for you, too 😀

  9. 5 stars
    Ooh yummy, loving the sound of this salad with all those yummy roasted veggies:-) Thank you for linking to my recipe!

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