Entrees Salads Sides

Chipotle Bean and Barley Salad

I revised this barley bean 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 easier. What’s not to love about that?!  It still possesses the hallmarks of this delicious dish…a bit of smokey spice 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.

In the US, you can find a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the Hispanic aisle of any major grocer.   If you like a very spicy dressing, add the actual chipotle peppers to this dressing. If you prefer a mild dressing, add the adobo sauce to this dressing. If you like it somewhere in between, then add a combo of pepper(s) and sauce. They add so much to the flavor, but you have to be thoughtful about how much you add, if you are particularly sensitive to heat.

If you can’t find chipotle peppers in adobo sauce we you are, go with the hot sauce of your choice. If you use your favorite hot sauce, you will need to adjust how much you add; 2-3 Tbsp may not be appropriate (every hot sauce is different!). So, add a very little bit to start, taste, and keep adjusting until it hits the mark. If it doesn’t taste very smokey using your own hot sauce, add a little more smoked paprika and that should do the trick.

This vegan barley black bean salad recipe travels well. I have taken it on many vegan 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 vegan lunches, work lunches, and potlucks.

As an serving alternative, wrap it in a tortilla or fill a pita pocket with it. Add some sliced avocado, and wow 🙂

An easy barley and black bean salad with chipotle dressing

Chipotle Bean and Barley Salad

½ cup barley

1 ½ cups water

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

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. 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.  Drained and rinse with cold water, and set aside.

2. 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, and adjust seasonings, if needed (More salt? More chipotle? More adobo? Lime?).  Serve.

A smoky, spicy vegan barley salad recipe with black beans, corn and chipotle

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