Simple Barley Pilaf

barley pilaf

I love the nutty, hearty flavor of barley and I wish I would remember to cook with it more often. When I get in a rice-pasta-potato rut, I pull out this easy barley pilaf dish. I think its best with mushrooms, but they seem to be a love-it-or-hate-it vegetable, so you could decide to leave them out and go with onions and more peppers. In fact, I’ve always called this Barley-Mushroom Pilaf, but I changed the name just for you guys – no polarizing things around here (at least recipe-wise, paper towels are another matter…).

And you wondered if I cared about you or not. I’m just hoping my kids don’t read this, though, ’cause I always make it with the mushrooms…

This is such an easy side dish- in fact the only hard part is remembering to start it about an hour before serving. But that’s why we plan a menu, right? You start by sauteing onions, peppers, and mushrooms in a couple tablespoons of butter until softened.

Add all the rest of the ingredients, boil, and then forget about it while it cooks on low for about 50 minutes. Pretty simple, huh?.

The night I made this I cooked a pork roast in the slow cooker and added a salad and steamed veggies – perfect.


Barley Pilaf

  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1/2 large red sweet pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 c. pearl barley
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1/2 c. white wine (or more chicken broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, peppers, and mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes; add garlic and cook about a minute more.
  2. Add broth and wine, if using, and barley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 to 50 minutes until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley before serving.

Makes 6-8 servings

Note: You can cook this in the oven if you wish: after bringing to a boil, cover the pot and place in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 55 to 60 minutes. I like this option if I’m baking chicken- it’s easy to put it all in the oven and forget about it for an hour.


This is linked to Real Food Wednesday, Pennywise Platter, and Recipe Swap Thursday.


  1. says

    This recipe comes at a perfect time. I’m just stuck in the rut, as you perfectly described it, with potatoes, rice and pasta. I’ll definitely incorporate it in next week’s menu.

  2. Anonymous says

    Love the recipe, but wanted to know if I could use hulled barley instead of pearl barley. I really love your blog. Have a great day. God Bless

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