Mushroom and Barley Pilaf with Fresh Thyme

Mushroom and Barley Pilaf with Fresh Thyme

While I was preparing a beef roast for dinner one night during the holidays, I was trying to decide what side dish I wanted to prepare instead of the typical rice dish, or cous cous, or pasta. Then I saw a box of barley in my pantry and decided it was time to try something new.

Barley really isn’t a new grain per say, however, it’s not a common option typically listed on many restaurant menus. It’s a cereal grain that’s very high in soluble fiber and is great for helping to lower your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.

As it turned out, my willingness to use the barley was a wise choice. Once cooked, it had a slight chewy nuttiness that paired wonderfully with the earthiness from the roasted mushrooms, the fresh thyme and the rich, robust beef stock from the roast. I will definitely make this again!


3 cups beef broth or juice from a beef roast
2 cups water
4 cups sliced Portobello, shitake and button mushrooms
2 cups uncooked barley, rinsed and sorted
1/2 cup walnut oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper


1) Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

2) In a large saucepan, bring the broth, water and one tablespoon of salt to a boil. Add the barley, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45-50 minutes until the barley is tender and slightly chewy.

3) Spread the mushrooms out on a foiled lined baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over them in an even layer. Season with salt and pepper and then bake them in the oven until their moisture has evaporated and they are golden brown.

4) Remove the cooked barley from the heat, stir in the mushrooms and the remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

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