The Moroccan-inspired, vegan kale and barley salad features raisins, pistachios and parsley paired with a tangy turmeric dressing.

A plate of kale salad with bell peppers, pistachios and barley.

This wonderful, hearty salad features kale, barley, bell pepper, raisins, pistachios and a tangy, creamy curry dressing. You’ll love the nutty, chewy barley paired with sweet raisins and crunchy pistachios!

Ingredient Notes

Here are a few notes about the main ingredients in this recipe:

  1. Barley. You’ll need 2.5-3 cups of cooked barley or 1 cup of uncooked barley. Pot or pearled barley are both suitable for this recipe.
  2. Kale. Any kind of kale works here, just be sure to wash it well, de-stem and finely chop. Choose organic kale when possible.
  3. Raisins. Raisins add a little sweetness that complements the other ingredients nicely. If you don’t have raisins on hand you can use dried cranberries or chopped dates.
  4. Pistachios. Look for raw pistachio kernels for this recipe. They should have no added oil or salt. If you can only find salted, that’s ok too. Dry-roasted and salted also works.

In addition, you’ll need some spices, lemon and apple cider vinegar for the dressing, as well as red bell pepper and parsley for the salad.

Pistachios, barley, bell peppers, kale and parsley in bowls on a countertop.

How to Make this Recipe

Start by blending the dressing. Next, prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the thick stems and finely chopping them. Add the kale to a large bowl with the dressing and mix until the kale is well-coated.

Quick Tip: Let the kale and dressing sit for a few minutes to allow the kale to soften a bit.

Turmeric dressing in a blender.

Next, add the rest of the ingredients, mix everything up and enjoy!

Kale and bell peppers in a large salad bowl.
Dumping a bowl of raisins into a bowl of kale of bell peppers.
Scooping cooked barley into a kale salad.
A colorful kale and barley salad with pistachios, bell peppers and raisins in a large salad bowl.

Tips and FAQs

  • The pistachios can be substituted with slivered almonds or pine nuts.
  • The raisins can be substituted with chopped dates or cranberries.

What is barley?

Barley is a whole grain, much like farro or freekeh. Barley is a type of wheat so it is not gluten-free but it does offer many nutritional benefits.

If you’ve never cooked barley before, it’s no different than cooking grains like farro and brown rice. Barley can be cooked stovetop or in an Instant Pot and either way the process takes about 30-40 minutes.

Can I make this gluten-free?

This recipe can be made gluten-free by subbing the barley for a gluten-free whole grain of choice. I would suggest short-grain brown rice.

How should I store this?

This salad will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days but is best enjoyed fresh.

A plate of kale salad with bell peppers, pistachios and barley.

More Healthy Salad Recipes

Here are some more meal-sized salads you’ll love:

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A plate of kale salad with bell peppers, pistachios and barley.

Barley and Kale Moroccan Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 5
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Morrocan
  • Diet: Vegan
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This healthy barley and kale salad with Moroccan-inspired flavours is packed with nutrition and flavour!


  • 1 cup pot or pearled barley, uncooked (about 3 cups cooked, for a gluten-free option, use brown rice or quinoa)
  • 5 cups de-stemmed and finely chopped kale
  • 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pistachio kernels

For the Dressing

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • water, as needed to adjust consistency
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cook the barley according to package instructions.
  2. Add the kale, parsley and red pepper to a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender and mix until smooth. Add a little water, 1-2 tbsp at a time to adjust the consistency. It should be creamy but pourable. Pour over the kale mixture, stirring until the kale is well coated. Let sit for 10 minutes to allow the kale to soften a bit.
  4. Once the barley is cooked, drain any excess water and add to the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Fold in the raisins and pistachios.
  6. Store in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 salad
  • Calories: 398
  • Sugar: 17 g
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 11 g

UPDATE NOTE: This recipe was originally published on June 2, 2015. It was updated in March 2020 with new photos and text.