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Veggie Barley Salad with Orange Honey Vinaigrette

"My mom and I make this to have something ready fast when we have busy mornings," says Mac. "We change it up all the time depending on what vegetables we have. We use rice or pasta, too, if it's left over. Sometimes we add basil, pesto, and cheese. We could also add some beans or cut-up chicken. We make a bigger recipe and have some for dinner and pack the rest in our lunches. To fill up my lunch box, I like to add an apple, grapes, or a banana." - Mac Wirth, age 8, Idaho

Makes 4 servings


  • I cup pearl barley
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 medium red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or any other mild vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the barley and cook, uncovered, until tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomato, carrots, bell pepper, and spinach and stir to combine.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, olive or grapeseed oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour the vinaigrette over the barley salad and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight for best results.

294 calories; 5 g protein; 44 g carbohydrates; 11 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat); 81 mg sodium

More information about the Kids' State Dinner:

  • Check out the other winning 2013 Kids' State Dinner Recipes here.
  • Learn more about Kids' State Dinner here.