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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 6 cups

Fresh pineapple steals the show in this eye-catching barley salad with tropical flavors. A base of tender butterhead lettuce is piled high with a delicious medley of barley, crunchy bell pepper, and aromatic herbs that are tossed with a citrusy and smoky cashew cream sauce. Hearty enough to be a meal on its own, this easy salad stores well in the fridge as long as you separate the lettuce from the barley mixture. 

Tip: Look for small, heavy pineapples, which tend to have the best flavor and sweetness.


  • 1 cup dry barley
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 4 to 5 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • ⅓ cup sliced scallions
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
  • 8 butterhead (Boston or Bibb) lettuce leaves


  1. In a medium saucepan combine barley and 3 cups water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 45 to 55 minutes or until tender and liquid is absorbed. Place barley in a fine-mesh sieve; rinse under cold water to cool. Drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine cashews and enough boiling water to cover. Cover and let stand 15 minutes; drain. In a blender or small food processor combine cashews and the next four ingredients (through salt). Cover and blend until creamy.
  3. In a bowl combine barley, pineapple, bell pepper, scallions, and cilantro. Add cashew cream; toss to coat. Arrange lettuce leaves on plates. Spoon barley mixture on lettuce. If desired, sprinkle with additional fresh cilantro and ancho chile powder.

Comments (3)

(4 from 2 votes)
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Lydia2 years ago
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Very tasty and easy to make. It’s not one of my all-time faves but definitely a solid staple and a lovely, refreshing side dish.

Donna2 years ago
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What can I use instead of cashews? I have some health issues and am not able to have them at this time. This recipe looks so delicious and I’d like to try it.

Heather2 years ago
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Flavors were good, but not strong enough for my taste, although the left overs did taste better the next day. The flavors seemed to meld after chilling. I added diced, red onion, included some citrus zest and added extra chili powder for some additional kick. Easy recipe that I would make it again.


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about the author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.

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