Flecks of sweet red pepper and spinach add festive flair to the classic mushroom and barley combo. You can use either convenient quick-cooking barley or pearl barley, but note that the amount of liquid and the cooking times will vary.

EatingWell Test Kitchen
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Holiday Issue 1996


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add barley, garlic and thyme and cook, stirring, for 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in broth (3 cups if using quick-cooking barley, 4 cups if using pearl barley) and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes for quick-cooking barley or about 45 minutes for pearl barley.

  • Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms and bell pepper, season with salt and pepper and saute until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add spinach leaves and stir just until they have wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.

  • Add the sauteed vegetables to the cooked barley and stir gently to mix. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat in a covered casserole in a moderate oven or in the microwave.

Nutrition Facts

118 calories; protein 4.3g; carbohydrates 22.1g; dietary fiber 3.5g; sugars 2.5g; fat 2.2g; saturated fat 0.3g; vitamin a iu 1369.1IU; vitamin c 22.2mg; folate 36.9mcg; calcium 19.4mg; iron 0.7mg; magnesium 15.1mg; potassium 308.9mg; sodium 197.7mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

Reviews (4)

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5 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
I never ate barley before but this was great. I recommend this recipe to everyone. I added chicken and had a great meal. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was great. I made 1/2 the recipe since there are only two of us but I wish I hadn't held back. I used pearl barley - be prepared to let it cook the full 45 minutes. I would definitely make this again. The recipe is probably good with any vegetable substitutions. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Very yummy I really liked this. I didn't put in mushrooms however since nobody in my family likes them. I used pearl barley with the 4 cups of vegetable broth. I would recommend planning to cook it for at least 30ish minutes unlike the 10-12 the recipe says. I will make again. Pros: Good texture. A lot of flavor Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I make this and freeze portions for two. Very microwavable and tasty! Easy to make and nutritional. What a wonderful option to rice pilaf! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I just made this added lemon juice instead of vinegar and some hot chilli flakes and added 2 cups of cooked black beans to make this a complete meal. Delicious! Read More