Vegan Barley Greek Salad with Herbed Tofu Feta
4.88 from 8 votes

This vegan barley Greek salad combines the freshness of a classic Greek salad with the heartiness of a grain salad. Plus, it’s made with a wholesome, tofu-based vegan cheese and is 100% dairy-free!

A round, white bowl holds the ingredients for a vegan Greek salad, which is served along with cooked pearled barley.

Here’s what I love about summer salads: their freshness, color, and simplicity.

The thing I don’t love about summer salads is that they’re often a little less substantial than wintery ones. No matter how wonderful it is to dive into a bowl of really fresh vegetables and fruit, it usually takes some grains and legumes for me to consider a salad meal-sized.

Greek salad is a good example. I’m crazy about the combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs, and the flavors speak to my heritage.

But even if I find a way to replace the feta, Greek salad isn’t quite hefty enough to fill me up, unless I pile on the pita.

This vegan barley Greek salad with herbed tofu is a slightly more filling and nutrient dense spin on a quintessential summer dish, and it was love at first bite when I tossed it together over the weekend.

Cubed vegan feta, red onions, cucumber, greens, and barley are resting in a round, white bowl.

The key to this salad is a variety of textures: juicy tomatoes, crispy romaine and cucumbers, chewy barley, and dense tofu. It’s a great mixture, and—thanks to the tofu brine, the sweetness of really fresh tomatoes, and a simple Greek vinaigrette—it’s also packed with flavor.

The herbed tofu feta here is a very straightforward variation of my regular tofu feta recipe—basically, I just added dried oregano.

A small, white round ramekin has been filled with cubes of marinated tofu and dried herbs. It sits on a white backdrop.

Fresh oregano is also fine, and you can get creative with your choice of herbs here: dill, thyme, and basil would all be lovely.

You can make tofu feta with any salty marinade, but I really like using miso, because it adds some umami as well as salt.

Cubes of tofu are being submerged in a thick marinade. They're held in a clear storage container.

You drain the tofu of marinade before tossing it with all of the other ingredients, but a lot of the flavor remains, so the dressing for this salad can afford to be sparse.

Ingredients for a homemade vinaigrette rest in a small, white pinch bowl with a small whisk.

If you make the salad, there’s plenty of opportunity to play. You can use cherry or grape tomatoes in place of beefsteak, add herbs other than the parsley and mint I used, load on the olives or capers, etc.

A white, round plate is covered in a colorful, fresh salad with romaine, barley, red onion, and tomatoes.

I recommend tossing it and serving it right away, but if you need to store it in the fridge for an hour or two, that’s just fine.

And if the tomatoes release a lot of their juices, it’s just an opportunity to throw a big handful of torn pita bread into the salad, allowing it to soak up all of the goodness.

An overhead image of a Greek salad made with plant-based ingredients and cooked pearled barley. The salad rests on a round white plate.
A round, white bowl holds the ingredients for a vegan Greek salad, which is served along with cooked pearled barley.
4.88 from 8 votes

Vegan Barley Greek Salad with Herbed Tofu Feta

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup dry pearl barley (substitute rice or sorghum for a gluten free option) (135g)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (substitute 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 large seedless cucumber, peeled and diced (about 2 cups after preparation)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed, chopped mint leaves (10g)
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed, chopped Italian parsley leaves (20g)
  • 2 cups loosely packed, chopped romaine lettuce (60g)
  • 1/3 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives (55g)
  • 1 batch tofu feta cheese (use the cubed and herbed version)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Toasted or soft pita wedges for serving (optional)

Instructions

  • Bring a medium pot of water to a rolling boil. Add the barley. Boil the barley, like pasta, for 25-30 minutes, or until the barley is tender but still has some firmness and chew (not mushy). Drain the barley well. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes, or transfer it to an airtight container and allow it to cool in the fridge for up to 48 hours before proceeding with the recipe.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked barley, tomatoes, cucumber, mint, parsley, romaine, and olives or capers if using. Drain the tofu feta of its marinade and add the cubes.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Pour this dressing over the salad ingredients, and toss gently, until everything is well combined. Serve with pita wedges, if desired.

I really love the tofu feta in this recipe, but if you’re allergic to soy, you can replace it with 1 1/2 cups of cooked chickpeas (a can, rinsed and drained before adding).

A zoomed in, overhead image of a fresh, summery salad with romaine, tofu, chickpeas, and tomatoes.

For a gluten-free alternative to the barley, I’d recommend another toothsome and hefty grain, like rice or sorghum, but millet would also be good. I tend to use pearl barley for its quick cooking time, but you can definitely use hulled barley in its place.

I love increasing the texture and heft of salads with the additions of grains; in fact, these days I rarely prepare salads without some sort of whole grain or another. I’ll be enjoying this one many times over before the summer is over, and I hope you’ll enjoy it, too.

A plant-based, summer salad has been created with cubes of tofu that are intended to look and taste like cubed feta cheese. It rests on a round white plate.

I’ve got a busy week of new class and nutrition counseling ahead of me, but I’ll be checking in on Friday with a stellar, classic cookie recipe. Have a wonderful week!

xo

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Categories: Recipes, Salads, Meal Sized Salads
Method: Stovetop
Ingredients: Tofu, Tomatoes
Dietary Preferences: Tree Nut Free, Vegan
Recipe Features: Meal Prep

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4.88 from 8 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




    10 Comments
  1. Gena, I am really loving adding grains to Greek salad. I only had faro on hand, so I did it with that, and then I also did it with rice later in the week! I will be trying the barley soon as well, but this recipe was a game changer for me. I also live in NYC and it got me through the recent heat wave.

    • I’m delighted to hear that, Angel! Thank you so much for letting me know how it went. Farro sounds great in the salad.

  2. 5 stars
    Excellent. A new (to me) and very flavorful way to prepare tofu. The second time I made it, I put peppers and green beans instead of tomatoes and cucumbers, worked as well.

  3. 5 stars
    This vegan feta. A. Mazing. Can’t wait to share with my vegan cheese connoisseur friend-and have some more myself!

  4. 5 stars
    Made this for a BBQ of vegans and omnivores and there were no leftovers, everyone loved it. I added 3 sliced pepperoncini and forgot the mint. Also a tip if you don’t have time to let the barley cool, you can put it in a mesh strainer and run it under cold water.

  5. This is my kind of salad. I rarely eat barley so this is a fun way for me to work it into a meal. Can’t wait to try!

  6. 5 stars
    Incredibly delicious! I will be making again…and plan on taking it to a potluck later this summer. Thank you.

  7. 4 stars
    I haven’t had many salads with tofu & barley but I really love the flavor combo going on here!