Pearl barley salad with steak and leeks recipe

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Pearl barley salad with steak and leeks is a flavourful and filling salad that showcases a cheap but delicious cut of meat.

pearl barley salad
  • healthy
  • healthy
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time50 mins
Total Time1 hours 10 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories410 Kcal21%
Fat13 g19%
Saturated Fat7 g35%
Carbohydrates44 g17%

Pearl barley salad with steak and leeks is a healthy but hearty mid-week meal that is tied together with a rich and flavourful dressing. Onglet steak is a cheaper alternative to a fillet, but it is absolutely packed with flavour and so tender, making this pearl barley salad incredibly cost-efficient as well as delicious. Pearl barley is a filling and versatile grain that is a wonderful addition to soups and stews. We’ve used it as the base for this pearl barley salad with steak and leeks as it absorbs the flavours of the beef and the dressing so well.


  • 200g pearl barley
  • 750ml beef stock
  • 2 leeks, outer leaves trimmed, cut in half lengthways
  • 45g butter
  • 100g cavolo nero, sliced into 3cm pieces
  • 350g piece onglet steak, about 3cm thick
  • 100g watercress

For the dressing

  • ½tsp beef stock
  • 4tbsp warm water
  • 2tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4tbsp crème fraîche
  • small bunch parsley, finely chopped




  1. Cook the barley in 750ml beef stock, with the lid on, for 45-50 mins. Drain any extra liquid left over at the end of cooking. Meanwhile, heat another pan of water and steam the halved leeks for 4-6 mins until just softened. In a large saucepan, heat the butter and fry the cavolo nero with the steamed leeks for 6-8 mins until cooked through.
  2. Heat a griddle pan or frying pan to a medium heat. Fry the steak for 3 mins a side for medium-rare (adjust timings if your onglet is thinner than 3cm), then remove from the heat and set aside to rest.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk the beef stock into the warm water in a small bowl, then mix in the remaining ingredients and season well.
  4. Drain the cooked barley and mix into the leeks and cavolo nero. Slice the steaks very thinly, then stir through the barley mixture with the watercress and top with the dressing.

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Jules Mercer
Food Editor

Jules is a creative and talented Food Editor with over 12 years' experience in the food industry across brands and magazine titles. Jules' experience is cast and varied, from food Editor to food writing. She is also passionate about food sustainability and has an amazing talent for food Styling.