Melissa Delport’s mushroom and pearl barley salad

October 26, 2021

Serves: 2

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Fennel is a prime example of how food can heal. Fennel tea can support digestion, and cooking with it can ease bloating and support good gut health. It is a powerful green that can add a subtle anise flavour or the perfect crunch to a salad – if you aren’t used to cooking with fennel, use only the bulb, not the leaves, for this recipe.


2 cups water

Salt and pepper

1 cup pearl barley

350 grams portobello mushrooms, halved

100 grams courgettes, sliced into bite-size pieces

Coconut oil

2 shallots, sliced

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 fennel bulb, stalks and leaves removed, bulb very thinly sliced

1 handful baby spinach, finely sliced

1 small handful fresh basil leaves, finely sliced

+3 tablespoons olive oil

Zest and juice of 1 lemon


Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Bring the water and a crack of salt to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.

Rinse the pearl barley and add it to the saucepan. Cook for 30–35 minutes. You dont want it to be too soft, it must still have a slight crunch. Once ready, rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the mushrooms and courgettes on a roasting tray. Toss with 1 tablespoon coconut oil until evenly coated and season with salt and pepper. Pop the tray into the oven and roast for 35 minutes until golden brown, tossing at the halfway mark. Once ready, remove from the oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat, melt 2 teaspoons coconut oil. Sauté the shallots and fennel seeds for 5–10 minutes until the shallots start to caramelise. Once ready, set aside.

Place the fennel, spinach and basil in a salad bowl and add the pearl barley. Toss until well mixed. Top with the shallots, courgettes and mushrooms. Drizzle over the olive oil and lemon juice and zest. Season to taste and garnish with micro herbs, if desired. Serve right away.

ALSO SEE: Beetroot, blood orange & pork salad

Send this to a friend