Pineapple Shrimp Barley Salad
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Pineapple Shrimp meet their perfect match in an Asian-inspired barley salad full of fresh fruit and vegetables. This summertime salad is a mix of sour and sweet, tangy with a bit of heat, and so satisfying.
There’s nothing better than a fresh, zesty salad during the hot summer months, especially one that’s actually satisfying and fills you up with just one serving. And a bowl of pineapple shrimp and barley salad is just the thing!
I quickly pan fry some shrimp and add them to a bowl of cooked barley. I dice up some sweet and crunchy bell peppers and toss them in as well. And with tart and tangy pineapple thrown into the mix? Now we have an irresistible mix of flavor and texture that you won’t find anywhere else!
The dressing is full of aromatic Asian flavors: sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. Sweetened with sugar, it ties the whole plate together.
I simply love cooking with barley – it’s a great vehicle for so many flavors, and is enjoyed all over the world. See how it’s used in these Moroccan, Mediterranean, and Egyptian recipes!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Barley – A chewy, nutty grain. “Pearled” barley, the more processed and polished variety, is recommended. You can also use a whole grain rice, or your preferred grain of choice.
- Shrimp – This recipe prepares enough dressing for 1 lb of large shrimp.
- Pineapple – Sweet and acidic, diced pineapples are a perfect match for the briny shrimp. Coated in our spicy sweet dressing, they become even more delicious.
- Bell Pepper – Use your preferred variety: sweet red, bitter green, or mild yellow for an in-between flavor. If you like a bit of heat, throw some banana or (seeded) jalapeño peppers into the mix.
- Cilantro – This bright and fresh herb is a bit peppery and lemony. Parsley and basil are good alternative herbs, but won’t match the sweet and citrusy notes of the salad as well.
- Slivered Almonds – Very mild, these nuts are just subtly sweet and add a pleasant crunch to the dish.
- Dressing – This Asian-inspired dressing is a simple mix of vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. It’s flavored with ground ginger, sugar, minced garlic, and just a pinch of red pepper flakes for added heat.
HOW TO MAKE PINEAPPLE SHRIMP BARLEY SALAD
- Prepare the Barley. Cook the pearled barley in salted water, bringing to a boil and then simmering until tender and almost all of the water is absorbed by the grain. Let it sit once it’s finished cooking, then drain any leftover liquid.
- Mix the Dressing. While that cooks, add all of the dressing ingredients to a large bowl: vegetable and sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, ground ginger, minced garlic, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Combine with a whisk, and set aside.
- Make the Salad. Dice the peppers and pineapple and throw them into the bowl with the dressing. Add the almonds, cilantro, and cooked barley. Toss the salad until every ingredient is coated. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator while the barley soaks up the dressing.
- Sear the Shrimp. Meanwhile, clean the large shrimps and season them with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the shrimps and quickly sauté for just a couple of minutes on each side.
- Serve. Remove the cooked shrimps from the skillet and add them to the salad. Mix them in to coat with the dressing, then serve.
How long is pineapple shrimp good in the refrigerator?
Cooked shrimp lasts for up to 4 days in the fridge, so that’s your time limit for leftovers. I will say that the dressing starts to break down the vegetables, pineapples, shrimp, and barley a little quicker than that, which makes the texture of the whole dish less appetizing. Because of this, I recommend eating within two or three days max.
Should pineapple shrimp and barley salad be served hot or cold?
That’s entirely up to you. Cooked pineapple shrimp is most tender and flavorful right out of the skillet and while it’s still hot. However, this does make for a very refreshing chilled salad as well. Enjoy both ways, and let me know what you prefer!
Can I use frozen pineapple to make pineapple shrimp?
Absolutely — this might even be the best choice during winter months when it’s hard to find good, ripe, fresh pineapples. You can get frozen pineapples that are already diced.
If going the frozen route, allow the fruit to thaw in the refrigerator and then pat dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture.
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Pineapple Shrimp Barley Salad
- 2 cups cooked barley cooled
- 1 lb large shrimp cleaned
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup pineapple diced
- 2 cups bell pepper diced
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves chopped, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- pinch red pepper flakes
- Cook barley per package directions and allow to cool. (See Note 1)
- Whisk together the salad dressing and set aside.
- In a large salad bowl mix together the barley, pineapple, bell peppers, almonds, cilantro and salad dressing. Toss to coat and allow dressing to absorb with barley. Cover and refrigerate while you cook shrimp.
- Season shrimp with salt and pepper. In a large skillet over high heat add oil. Quickly sauté shrimp, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes per side depending on size, or until golden and crisp on edges. Remove from pan and add to salad. Toss to coat and serve immediately or chill completely prior to eating.
- Bring 1 cup pearled barley, pinch of salt and 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, covered, until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 25-30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Drain in sieve in needed. Makes 3-3 1/2 cups.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
I made this recipe last night for dinner. If I could give it more than 5 stars I would! It is as pretty as it is delicious. My husband is normally pretty ambivalent about ‘meal’ salads, but he loved this. It is so flavorful, and filling, thanks to the barley & who can complain about shrimp? I was happy to have the leftovers for lunch today. Thank you –
Reading this makes my day, thanks so much Rbecca! So glad you liked it and came back to let me know, too. 🙂
Got it, thank you. I’m trying this tomorrow!
Wow, sure loved this one! So refreshing and delicious. The barley is a great twist in this salad. VERY creative Kevin…
Thanks so much for trying this one and letting me know. Filling, tasty and surprisingly not too heavy of a meal. I love a good salad for dinner!
This looks so good! Question – The ingredients list calls for 2 cups of Barley. In the notes it calls for 1 cup. Which is correct?
Hi Rebecca. The recipe calls for 2 cups “cooked” barley. In the Notes I mention start with 1 cup uncooked barley and it makes 3 to 3 1/2 cups total. Save the remaining cooked barley for other use. Hope this clarifies for you. Enjoy!