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Chipotle Bean and Barley Salad

I revised this vegan chipotle bean and barley salad recipe for simplicity. Let’s just say that I’ve made it a number of times since I first published it, and I realized, it can be simpler to make. What’s not to love about that?! 

It still possesses the flavors of the original bean and barley salad. There’s a bit of smoky heat from the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, a touch of acid from lime and white wine vinegar, a little crunch from the green peppers, and lots of fiber loaded complex carbohydrates from the barley, black beans and pinto beans.

A few things…

  • In the US, you can find a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Hispanic aisle of any major grocer.
  • Like a spicy dressing? Add the actual chipotle peppers to the dressing.
  • Sensitive to heat? Just add the adobo sauce to the dressing.
  • No chipotle peppers in adobo sauce? Use your favorite hot sauce, but adjust how much you add. 2-3 Tbsp may not be appropriate, because every hot sauce is different.
  • Not smoky enough? Add some more smoked paprika.
  • For a variation serve this chipotle bean and barley salad wrapped in a tortilla or inside a pita pocket. Great with a little sliced avocado!

This vegan barley salad recipe travels well. I have taken it on many road trips, and always been pleased that it still tastes fresh after living in my cooler for a day or two. It also works well for a packed lunches, work lunches, and potlucks.

Don’t miss more UVK recipes, Radish & Green Bean Salad, Lentil Barley Salad with Fresh Dill and Chives, Chipotle Lime Jackfruit, Texas Caviar, or Vegan Sauerkraut, White Bean and Barley Soup.

Chipotle Bean and Barley Salad Recipe Vegan
An easy vegan recipe for barley salad with beans and chipotle dressing

Chipotle Bean and Barley Salad

½ cup barley

1 ½ cups water

1 cob of fresh sweet corn, corn cut off the cob

2-3 Tbsp lime juice

1 tsp white wine vinegar

2-3 Tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (see note above)

¼ cup olive oil

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp smoked paprika

½ tsp ground cumin

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

½ cup chopped green pepper

15 ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed

3 scallions, chopped

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


1. First, you’ll make the barley for the bean salad. Add ½ cup barley and 1 ½ cup water to a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, and then, cover simmering over low for 20-25 minutes.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

2. Next, you’ll make the chipotle dressing for the bean and barley salad. In a large mixing bowl, add lime juice, white wine vinegar, chipotle in adobo, olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin and a generous amount of salt. You may need to use a fork to break up the chipotle pepper (if you choose to add a whole one), but it should come apart with relative ease. A few bits add a nice spicy kick! Whisk until it’s very well incorporated and slightly aerated.

3. Add everything else listed in the recipe, and stir until well combined.  Taste the vegan chipotle bean and barley salad, and adjust seasonings, if needed (More salt? chipotle? lime?).  Serve.

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