Barley Pilaf – A Delicious Twist on a Great Classic!
Change things up a bit and put this Barley Pilaf on your table today – I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a delicious twist on a great classic!
I’m not sure that this is exactly what you could call true genuine “Pilaf” by definition, but it sure is what I was brought up to believe “Pilaf” was all about. Whenever I would get served Rice Pilaf, it would be a dish made of rice cooked in chicken broth, with peas, carrots and parsley in it. Growing up, it was one of my favorite side dishes!
To change things up a bit, and seeing as how I’ve been completely infatuated with barley lately, I decided to come up with this delicious twist on that great classic and made Barley Pilaf instead!
My oh my is this stuff yummy! I like it even better than the real thing!
Honestly, I can’t begin to understand why it is that we, as a culture, don’t eat barley more often, why it is that it doesn’t find its way to our plates on a regular basis, like say, rice and potatoes.
Indeed, barley is so much easier to cook than rice (most people complain that they can never get their rice right), it has a very pleasant, slightly nutty flavor to it, and a texture that’s unparalleled! It’s so chewy, so much fun to eat: chewing on barley it feels like a party is taking place right inside your mouth!
If you’ve never really tried barley before, here’s your chance! And of course, if you preferred to stick with rice, you could very well do this exact same recipe but use your favorite rice instead…
I like to cook barley exactly like I do rice, except I use a little bit more liquid, to make up for the longer cooking time.
What I do is I rinse the grains thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear and then I place them in a medium sized saucepan along with the liquid, in this case, chicken broth and water.
Then, I stir everything only just this once, bring the whole thing the boil and then I lower the heat to a slow simmer; I cover the pan and cook the barley without stirring for about 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Just as with rice, I avoid taking that lid off at all costs during cooking: I want to keep all of that precious moisture in the pan!
That’s where a see-through lid comes in super handy! If you don’t have pans that are equipped with see-through lids, be sure to only lift that cover towards the very end, when you have very good reason to believe that the barley is done and that liquid is all gone.
Once that’s happened, allow the barley to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
While the barley is resting, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) in a saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and carrot as well as the salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Next, add the cooked barley, frozen peas, parsley and turmeric; stir delicately until well combined.
And that’s it! You’re done. There’s no need to even thaw those peas, the heat of the dish alone will take care of cooking them for you…
Simply kill the heat and let your Barley Pilaf sit for a few minutes, until the green peas are heated all the way through, and serve.
Hopefully, this dish will make you a believer and have you join the ranks of barley lovers!
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1-3/4 cups water
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt, I use Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- Rinse the barley thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear and place it in a medium sized saucepan along with the chicken broth and water. Stir once, bring to the boil then lower the heat to a slow simmer; cover and cook without stirring for about 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Avoid taking the lid off during cooking.
- Once all the liquid is gone, allow the barley to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and carrot as well as the salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Add the cooked barley, frozen peas, parsley and turmeric; stir delicately until well combined.
- Kill the heat and let the barley pilaf sit for a few minutes, until the peas are heated through, and serve.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please take a minute to rate the recipe and let me know how things went for you in the comments below. It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you!
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31 Comments on “Barley Pilaf – A Delicious Twist on a Great Classic!”
No matter what it is called it sure looks delicious. I really like barley.
Do you have to use pearled barely? Can you use regular hulled?
You could totally used hulled Angela. Just keep in mind that it takes longer to cook…
I added some red pepper and it was amazing, also I used hulled barley the texture is was more like a risotto but it had an amazing flavor. Thank you so much for sharing your recipe 🙂
You are very welcome, Alex. Glad it was to your liking! 🙂
Awesome! Threw it all in my rice cooker except added peas after.
Yummy and simple! Turmeric makes for a VERY yellow dish with great flavor.
Can I use quick cooking barley?
I really wouldn’t see why not…
Just made this and very pleased with the results. I am a type 2 diabetic so i’m always looking for a low carb side dish. This one is very good.
Good to hear, Rich! Thanks for the great feedback! 🙂
Tried this since I was kind of bored of rice as a side dish for my family. I used all vegetable broth and threw in a bell pepper I had that was on its last leg. Came out great. Hearty, healthy, and even my picky hubby enjoyed it. Thank you!
👏 Any suggestions on what to serve with this would be greatly appreciated! 😊
I’m planning on pork chops today, but my obvious first choice is probably chicken, any way you like. Is suggest flavoring your water with some of the ingredients you’re using in your meat.
For the vegans, some kind of problems mushroom side dish, possibly stuffed?
Can this be frozen and used later or made ahead?
I don’t think that it would freeze all that well, making it a day or two ahead is a much better option.
Better than rice pilaf ! or at least a nice change
Very good, a simple dish with good flavor. I love barley!
I really like the idea of using the barley. I love the texture and toothsomeness ( if that is even a word) of the barley. I used leftover barley and frozen peas and carrots making this a very quick and delicious dish in no time at all.
Toothsomeness… I do believe it is a word! Regardless, I love it, so let’s just adopt it! 😉
This was very easy to make and
tasted great! I used the quick cook barely. I think I will add the red peppers next time.
How big is a serving?
Love barley and this was a great recipe for it.
Totally love this simple healthy recipe and so did my husband and 2 kids! Just added more peas bc my daughter loves them. Paired with baked cod. Thank you! I feel happy tonight that we ate well.
This was SO good! I 1/2’d it & cooked the barley in my mini rice cooker.
I sautéed the veges in olive oil and used baby carrots cut up. The only thing I changed up was to add some red pepper sautéed with carrots n onions AND after stirring barley in I added about 1-2 teaspoons of sweet chili sauce (Asian)
I will be making this again!
Sweet chili sauce sorry didn’t know how to edit my post
It was delicious! I used pot barley because that is what I had. I substituted chopped fresh spinach instead of peas. I mated it with fresh caught sockeye salmon fillets. Delicious combo.
I too added red pepper and subbed corn for peas because Im allergic. I even threw in fresh spinach at the end. It was delish! Perfect side dish for Christmas dinner! Unique, tasty and hearty! I will make again! Thank you for the inspiration!
This is why I like barley:
“Barley is used for lowering blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and for promoting weight loss. It is also used for digestive complaints including diarrhea, stomach pain, and inflammatory bowel conditions.
The flavors and textures are so delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe