Butternut & Barley Pilaf

Butternut & Barley Pilaf

18 Reviews
From the EatingWell Kitchen

Winter squash contributes a rich, full flavor to a simple barley pilaf. Gremolata, an Italian mixture of parsley, lemon zest and garlic, gives the dish a lively finish. The pilaf is an excellent accompaniment to chicken and pork, but would stand on its own with the addition of Parmesan.

Ingredients 6 servings

for serving adjustment
Serving size has been adjusted!
Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, ( ¾-inch cubes) (see Tip)
  • ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; mix gently.
  • Tip: To save time, use conveniently peeled and cubed butternut squash, available in many supermarkets in the fall and winter.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: ⅔ cup
  • Per serving: 175 calories; 2 g fat(0 g sat); 7 g fiber; 36 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 36 mcg folate; 0 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 5,250 IU vitamin A; 19 mg vitamin C; 49 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 269 mg sodium; 398 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (105% daily value), Vitamin C (32% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 2 starch,1 vegetable

Reviews 18

August 28, 2017
profile image
This recipe is horrible! Winter squash does not have any flavor in this dish. It needs a little more oil or even butter. As other reviewers mentioned two main ingredients barley and butternut squash have to be cooked separately or squash should be added in the end. Total waste of good products!
December 17, 2014
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Too Much Liquid I used the full amount of fluid and the exact cooking time that the recipe specified and I ended up with unappetizing glop. I should have followed the package directions for the barley instead of the recipe. Not happy. Pros: nutritious -- if you can eat it Cons: recipes needs rewrite
May 08, 2014
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Outstanding This is really delicious and simple. I have to admit I forgot to add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and parsley at the end and it was still very delicious. Pros: Easy Cons: None
February 12, 2014
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Ingredients awesome, cooking instructions, not so much. The flavors in this dish are spot on. It is sweet, acidic, salty. Perfect. However, the directions are very flawed. It doesn't say to cover while it cooks. Barley is a grain. When was the last time you cooked a grain without covering it? (Rice, quinoa, amaranth...) And by the time the barley was cooked, my squash was mush. It was not all pretty like the picture. My suggestion: Cook the onion, garlic in oil, add the barley, broth, cover and cook for 20/25 minutes. Then add the squash and recover to finish cooking till barely and squash are soft, 10/15 more? Again, the flavors were perfect, this is just not the correct way to cook a grain. I will definitely make it again. I like having a barley recipe that isn't soup! Pros: Wonderful flavor Cons: Poor directions
November 29, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
hearty and delicious Really hearty and filling. I added toasted pine nuts to it and topped with soft goat cheese, which really made the dish better. Pros: easy to make. Cons: a little bland prior to additions
November 11, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Delicious recipe as written Easy, yummy, and healthy. As good as it gets
March 14, 2013
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Delicious! I did this today. I never had barley before and I loved it! I followed the recipe but instead of using chicken broth I used two chicken bouillons and skipped the zest. My bf loved this too! Pros: very easy, few ingredients, great taste, economic
February 26, 2013
profile image
By: brownsuga1020
Yuk! I just finished making this dish and we did not like it at all. I followed the recipe exactly This is an awful combination they just don't work. I had to throw it out completely. Pros: None
January 17, 2012
profile image
By: EatingWell User
Added 1/2 lb of Lamb sausage! Made this recipe and followed it exactly, except I added in 1/2 lb of crumbled lamb sausage when I was sauteing the onions. So good! Turns this from a side dish into a quick and lovely one-pot supper.
More Reviews