These are the things that are not, I repeat NOT under any circumstances, happening in my life.

In 80 days, 12 hours, and 4 minutes, I will not be waking up at a thoroughly ungodly hour, heading on a bus to Staten Island and running 26.2 miles around the 5 boroughs of New York City.


In 46 days, 10 hours, and 2 minutes I will not be handing in a proposal that defends the thesis I plan on working on for the next three to four years.  I will not have abandoned all of my current experiments (and sanity) to work on it for the next month and sixteen days.

And in 1 day, 8 hours, and 1 minute, I will not be getting aboard a boat that will whisk me away to Canada and back for four and a half days.  I will not spend my days this weekend listening to scientific talks by my fellow MD/PhD students.  I most certainly will somehow avoid spending my nights evading the compulsion to get plastered to the point of oblivion because there is nothing else to do when you are on a boat to Canada with exactly one bar and not a single other person (other than your classmates) who falls somewhere between the ages of 10 and 45 and because, well.  Everyone else is doing it!

I can’t.won’t.



Sigh.  Denial Kool-Aid.  I’ve been wading in it.  Can’t you tell?


So, yes.  Our MD/PhD retreat is this {extended} weekend and so from Thursday afternoon through Monday morning I will be aboard a boat, counting down the seconds until I get back.  I have been dreading it so much that I have somehow convinced myself that it isn’t really happening, but alas, there are only so many survival mechanisms your mind can muster before you either go insane or finally have to admit defeat.  I’m going and there’s no amount of mental trickery that can change that.

If you’ve been a longtime reader, then you know we went on the same cruise retreat two years ago, which is why I know to hate it with every fiber of my being.  Bad food, lots of science, awkward conversation, and nights filled with people who feel it is their life’s mission to tell you that if you’re not drunk you can’t possibly be having a good time.  I’d rather be running 17 miles (in one morning).  Which is what I’d be doing on Saturday if not for this ridonkulousness.

Anyway, one of my coping mechanisms has been to eat as healthy delicious food as possible before I go.  That’s where this barley salad comes into play.  It’s utterly simple and yet utterly tasty, filled with all of my favorite summer veggies that have been roasted to the point of sweet/savory caramelization.  You just can’t go wrong with that.

(And if you don’t feel like turning on your oven, I highly suspect a grill would have the same delicious-ifying effects!)


Barley Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables
Serves 8-10, adapted from Jamie Oliver


  • 400 g barley (about 2 cups dried)
  • 3 summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into half moons
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 red bell peppers, halved, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 small eggplants, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • large bunch of basil
  • juice of 1 lemon


  1. Cook the barley according to package directions in well-salted water.
  2. While the barley is cooking, preheat the oven to 400.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and spread the summer squash, zucchini, red onion, bell peppers, eggplant, and garlic over them so that they are as close to being in a single layer as possible.  Drizzle each pan with 1 tbsp olive oil.  Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.  Stir to combine.  Roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10  minutes, until vegetables are tender and starting to brown.
  3. Toss the vegetables with the barley.  Add in the balsamic vinegar to taste.  Stir in the basil and lemon juice. Taste again for salt and seasoning.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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81 Responses to Barley Salad with Roasted Summer Vegetables

  1. First of all, this dish looks so healthy and filling! Secondly, I saw your 80 day countdown until your marathon and thought, I also have an 80 day countdown right now from today (’til my wedding!). And thirdly, my fingers are crossed that the retreat is not that bad!!!!!!! Hang in there this weekend!

  2. I can’t believe they are making you go on this retreat……… on a bus! Ah! But this barley salad looks delicious, maybe pack some to take with:-)

  3. Simply Life says:

    wow! you have lots going on! I hope this time the retreat is better – and that maybe you can pack your own food to not have to eat gross food? nothing like 4 days without a meal to look forward to – that would be something I’d dread!

  4. OohLookBel says:

    Your retreat sounds pretty grim. Hope you have a ‘nice’ time anyway. Maybe pack a large box of this delicious juicy salad to help you survive!

  5. bellini says:

    This salad witll keep your spirits up Joanne. Try and have a good time, livie in the moment, who knows you might meet a kindred spirit!

  6. Oh darling… you’re right, that doesn’t sound like my cup of tea either. But I do hope you have a little bit of fun. 🙂

    This is the perfect dish to prep you for such a trip. Love everything about it.

  7. love2dine says:

    What a combination of flavors! I love it. Definitely will be adding this to my summer try list.

  8. well…try to enjoy yourself….maybe? Lol. Bring this salad, for sure!

  9. I would love a very large dish of this!

  10. Amy says:

    Oh honey. I totally remember the last retreat and how much you loathed it. It’s that time again? Jeeze. And right after your wonderful vacation high with The.Boy. What a complete buzz kill. I’d medicate with cookies.

  11. Oh . . . that retreat does not sound like a good time. I hope that memories of this salad, good runs, and other delicious food get you through! Maybe you should have some tasty cookies right before you go? 🙂

  12. london bakes says:

    I know what our work retreats are like (accountants are a lot like scientists…) so I really feel for you. Being on a boat is even worse…ergh. I hope it’s not as bad as you expect!

    PS Hi!

  13. I am going to make a salad with veggies for the dinner too. Love yours with barley!

  14. This salad’ll be popular to the Japanese.

  15. Marcia says:

    Wow, that looks so amazingly good. You’ve got a busy busy time ahead don’t you?

    Then again, I’m going back to work in 4 weeks, yikes! But by choice. I’m going nuts at home right now.

  16. The salad looks super delicious. I am also qualifying this year in my PhD program (though I’d guess you’re a little farther along in school than I am if you’re MD/Phd). It’ll be okay!

  17. Sam says:

    This salad looks so good!

    I’m living with someone who’s at the other end of the PhD pathway–this initial step won’t be so bad. Don’t worry. And I’m totally going to be outside my building cheering you on when you run through Brooklyn in November. 🙂

  18. Haha, I can totally relate. This sounds like every business trip I have ever been on!

  19. I love denial kool-aid. Good luck with the retreat, girl!

  20. beti says:

    definetly need some of this, it’s raining in here and this would be just perfect

  21. Catherine says:

    Dear Joanne, Barley is a favorite of mine and I love incorporating it in a salad. Sounds wonderful with the roasted veggies. Blessings dearest. Catherine xo

  22. SnoWhite says:

    I love barley and always want to eat more of it! Thanks for this recipe — you can bet I’ll make it for my lunch heading back to school.

  23. Joanne, maybe you can be super dorky and take a huge cooler full of cold salads? And some homemade bran muffins? I hate bad food more than anything and 4 days on a boat will cause me to feel queasy to no end. Good luck girl! Try to make the most of it…

  24. Oh gosh, that mandatory retreat does sound pretty rough. A whole 4 nights not being able to do what you want?? I hate stuff like that. Good luck!!

    On the other hand, you could probably just eat yourself into denial with this awesome salad 🙂 OR make a big batch of sugary cupcakes and “get sick.” Oops 🙂


  25. Megan says:

    This looks so good. I may have to try it with fregola since I have some on hand.

    Good luck on the boat… it sounds awkward and intense.. you’ll get through it though!

  26. Eileen says:

    I hate social events that are actually requirements for work or school! Ugh. Maybe there will at least be some new & interesting people in your track this year. 🙂 At least this salad looks tasty!

  27. Jenn Kendall says:

    such a delicious salad with those roasted veggies! yum! and good luck with the retreat!

  28. Dude, I hope you have a great trip, even though you’re completely dreading it. Maybe you can take this freakishly amazing salad with you to help you cope!

  29. Sounds delicious! Already planning on making a big batch on the weekend for easy weekday lunches! Hope marathon training is going well!

  30. Holy busy!! You MUST post your marathon results/experience immediately after running. I’m so excited for you!! ‘m going to enter the draw for the race next year and want to hear allllllll about it! Also, have a freaking awesome time on that boat! Let loose – you’re going to be so, so, science-y the next couple of years!

  31. Geni says:

    Forced retreats are the worst…I feel your pain. Drink more koolaid. That may be the only way to survive the trauma. The dish looks great though!

  32. Jenna says:

    I hope you survive the dreaded retreat with flying colors!

  33. Joanne, that just cracked me up. You may have to sneak a few cocktails. There is also a fablous app on the iPhone called “emergency call” that you can set up to fake call you to get out of some social situations. LOL!

  34. Hotly Spiced says:

    There is nothing worse than being stuck on a boat and having a miserable time and you just can’t get off. Harbour cruises were all the rage here a few decades ago and it seemed everyone was having their 30th, 40th, engagement, wedding, reunion (they’re the worst), work Christmas party (2nd worst) and a myriad of other events on a harbour cruise. And I’ve been on so many where you’re just not enjoying the food, company, music etc and you have no where to go. And that’s just for an evening. Four and a half days? That’s beyond cruel xx

  35. Erica says:

    I love the flavor of roasted vegetables and this dish sounds and looks beautiful!

  36. marie says:

    I am thinking you’re an over-achiever, yes? I love cooking with barley and I can’t wait to hear about your race recap. I am a runner but would never in my life do a marathon, good luck.

  37. Chris says:

    I like barley a lot! Especially when mixed with hops and water, my favorite “soup” 😉

    Hey, great pics from your FL trip with the “boy” (you seriously have to start calling him “the man”) on FB earlier this week. Looks like y’all had a blast.

  38. Blond Duck says:

    I hope they have a treadmill on the boat–you’re going to go nuts!

  39. Alisa says:

    I hope the retreat goes well.

    I adore this recipe!

  40. Looks great, Joanne! Next time, ditch the boat and come to Toronto instead, ok? There’s all sorts of healthy, tasty food here. 🙂

  41. Camila Faria says:

    On a boat? Exciting, right? Ok, maybe not. You’ll definitely going to need a few drinks.

  42. Carolyn Jung says:

    I am so into barley lately. In salads, stews, soups and more. Thanks for giving me another fix. 😉

  43. Shouldn’t the medical crowd be into more healthy long weekend activities? Well, enjoy?

  44. Gloria says:

    Hope all goes well Joanne I understand why you dont like. Anyway how my dear Val day live the moment.
    This dounfs and look amaxing:))

  45. Oh man, I used to hate trips like that too. I think I just don’t like doing the things that most people my age do (or at least that used to be the case). But I’m sure you’ll have fun anyway! And this recipe sounds delicious 🙂

  46. Cara says:

    Oh sigh. I wish I could be like you and be coping with healthy foods lately. It’s so not the case!

  47. Christine says:

    You come up with the most delicious things. I first fell in love with barley as a kid via Campbell’s Scotch broth soup. Sadly it’s no longer made so I get my fix by adding barley to soups, stews and whatever, even if it’s not called for. This will be something new and yummy for summer. Good luck on your retreat and the rest of the busy year…26.2 miles…hurts just thinking of it. 🙂

  48. Cathleen says:

    Oh my goodness, good luck! Hope you aren’t the kind of person who gets sea sick 😛
    This looks fantastic. Best way to cope, I’m sure

  49. Def making this for lunch next week to take to work. I just adore your photography Jo – its so simple but always perfectly lit and just full of vibrant colour 🙂

  50. That Girl says:

    This is a very exciting month for you!

  51. Tandy says:

    make the most of every minute of the dreaded time! It is too cold here to be thinking of salads, no matter how good this looks 🙂

  52. Lynn says:

    Sorry you are dreading it, but hope it goes OK. And the salad – yum. I have some barley!!!

  53. Kristen says:

    I remember your tales of the last trip. hope this year goes better. You never know….maybe the ship has hired a new chef who specializes in vegetarian cuisine.

  54. I wanted to pop in real quick before I headed to work to tell you that your barley salad looks amazing! Another one of your recipes I must bookmark!! Have a great day!!

  55. Cakewhiz says:

    Now this loos like a salad i can eat and not be hungry 5 minutes later…lol. Most salads leave me unsatisfied but i bet not this lovely one 😉

  56. mia poe says:

    I don’t like salad but with this recipe, It sure like I will. It looks delicious and tolerable. Unlike any other salads I’ve tasted. Well done.
    truck finance

  57. Mmm, yum! I have been looking for more ways to get grains in our diets.

    Oh, and so sorry about your extended weekend. It does sound quite hellish.

  58. Koreans are all about some Barley—I’ll have to scrounge some up and whip this up!!

  59. Pam says:

    Ugh… the boat trip doesn’t sound fun. Download a bunch of good books on your ipad so you can avoid the whole getting drunk thing. A good book is WAY better!

    The salad looks fantastic. Full of great colors, flavors, and textures. YUM.

  60. Donna says:

    What? You can make things other than beef soup with barley? Who knew!

  61. teresa says:

    wow, a lot going on right now! i do remember your last boat trip. hopefully this one goes by fast for you. in the meantime, i love these bright gorgeous dishes, YUM!

  62. Blond Duck says:

    Hope you’re having fun!

  63. That looks like one delicious coping mechanism!

  64. I’m sorry to hear about the dreadful boat ride, but do you at least get to come to Canada and play? Or are you simple on a boat, because that would be lame. But stopping in Canada, cool. 😉

  65. When you said Canada, I was wondering if it was another school cruise. I will freely admit that cruises aren’t in my preferred travel plans or bucket list at all.

    Lots going on but what a wonderful stress beater. I love barley and the salad combo looks delicious!

  66. elly says:

    I’m such a sucker for barley. This looks awesome. I think it would be extra awesome with some goat cheese. Mmm.

  67. Jeanette says:

    What a hearty summer salad – I am savoring every bite of summer vegetables. I’ve never tried barley in salad, but it sounds fantastic!

  68. Kari says:

    I adore the look of this barley salad but am filled with horror at the idea of a MD/PhD retreat. You see, I know all about PhD retreats, and I avoided them wholeheartedly! (But I know that’s not what you need to hear – sorry! Perhaps it will be fun this time?)

  69. Katerina says:

    Beautiful salad Joanne! Have fun at your trip and try to enjoy yourself if this is possible!

  70. Kristina says:

    Ooo I’m not even kidding, I’m trying this this weekend! It looks so healthy and delicious! I have a whole bag of barley in my pantry I still haven’t used, and the farmer’s market is tomorrow morning 🙂 Absolutely perfect!

  71. RJ says:

    good luck on the proposal! it’ll be awesome 🙂

  72. Reeni Pisano says:

    I’m sorry you have to endure this again! Hope it’s not going too bad. Your salad is the picture of summer – love those roasted veggies!

  73. Johanna GGG says:

    sounds horrible (the cruise not the salad) – I once went to a work christmas party on a boat but just before I got there I turned around and went home because I couldn’t stand to be stuck on a boat for a night with my colleagues so I empathise indeed! Good luck

  74. Dining Alone says:

    I have had a bag of barley in my pantry forever and no idea what to do with it. One would wonder why I bought it 🙂 Thanks for an idea to finally use it up. Have a great week floating on de-nile 😉

  75. Kerstin says:

    Hope the retreat is somewhat fun. The roasted veggies really elevate this dish – yum!

  76. Nevermind on my comment on the next post about why you’re stressing, now I get it. Poor Joanne! I hope this trip pleasantly surprises you in at least one way this time. <3

  77. Candace says:

    I’ll have some of this. Please and thank you!

  78. Shannon says:

    fabulous, chock full of summer’s finest and with chewy barley… you should’ve brought some of this on the cruise!!

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