Filed Under: Grains | Healthy

Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, Red Peppers, and Spinach

Recipe By Tessa Arias
April 9th, 2012
5 from 1 vote
5 from 1 vote

This recipe might be a teeny bit too healthy for PW's regular selection. It's full of fiber and vitamins thanks to the barley and fresh veggies. 

Yield: 12 (2/3 cup) servings

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Earthy, nutty, fresh.
Texture: I’ve always loved the chewiness of barley. To me, it doesn’t taste like a health food. The mushrooms also add some nice meatiness to this dish.
Ease: The barley takes a long time to cook but it’s almost all inactive. Overall this dish is pretty simple.
Appearance: The green and red pops of color make the barley much less of an eyesore.
Pros: Simple, healthy, perfect lunch food or side dish.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? Yes. I’ve already eaten again because I reheated the leftovers the next day for lunch!

I hope everyone had a good Easter or Passover, or just a great weekend if you don’t celebrate either. Unfortunately I had to work all weekend. The joys of working in retail! I’d much prefer to work on the blog and on recipes and the cookbook all the time. If only blogging paid the big bucks. But hey, we can’t all be The Pioneer Woman, right? This recipe might be a teeny bit too healthy for PW’s regular selection. It’s full of fiber and vitamins thanks to the barley and fresh veggies. Best of all, it doesn’t even taste like healthy food.


5 from 1 vote

How to make
Barley Pilaf with Mushrooms, Red Peppers, and Spinach

Yield: 12 (2/3 cup) servings
This recipe might be a teeny bit too healthy for PW's regular selection. It's full of fiber and vitamins thanks to the barley and fresh veggies. 


  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups pearl barley
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 12 ounces assorted mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the parley, garlic, and thyme, stirring until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Saute until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach leaves and stir until they have just wilted, about 1 minute.
  3. Add vegetables to cooked barley and stir gently to mix. Season with vinegar and more salt and pepper if necessary. Pilaf will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Course: Side Dish
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Miranda @ BL — April 12, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I love barley too! Can't wait to make this 🙂

  2. #
    Jen — April 18, 2012 at 2:16 am

    This recipe sounds/looks great! I think I'd like to bring this to an upcoming potluck… do you think it would taste good if served cold too?

    • #
      handleheat — April 18, 2012 at 5:43 am

      I never tried it served cold but it tasted good at room temperature!

  3. #
    Kristin — August 23, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you for this GREAT recipe! Made it tonight and gobbled up about three times my share. I did add some chopped pecans at the end to compliment the earthiness and add some crunch. But besides that, I followed the recipe exactly – huge hit! A print out of this is definitely going in the prized three ring binder… 🙂

  4. #
    Rochelle Arellano — September 12, 2020 at 3:43 pm

    Soooo GOOD!!


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