Herb Mushroom Barley
This Herb Mushroom Barley is made with simple ingredients, yet full of flavor and texture. It’s easy to prepare and makes for a great side dish.
If you’re looking for a little variety in the grains department, this barley side dish is a delicious choice.
Barley has a pleasingly chewy texture and nutty flavor, and it’s extremely versatile.
Today this little grain is served as a warm salad of sorts, with mushrooms, spinach, plenty of fresh herbs, and a little extra virgin olive oil and balsamic.
I get this dish done first and set it on the table, and sear the main meat or fish quickly so it’s served hot when it’s ready.
And finally, you’ll notice that all the ingredients in this recipe are pretty simple, and yet it’s full of fresh flavor. A few vegetables and a few fresh herbs are all you need to really jazz up some pantry barley.
How to Cook Barley:
My favorite way to cook barley is to make it in the rice cooker, though you can cook it on the stove too if you don’t have a rice cooker.
Rice cooker method: combine 1 cup of pearl barley with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt, and press start. It will cook automatically. This is the rice cooker I have (affiliate).
Stovetop method: Simmer 1 cup of barley in 3 cups of water for 1.25 hours. These are the directions for Arrowhead Mills brand. I recommend following the directions on the package you purchase.
How to Make Herb Mushroom Barley Salad:
Start by cooking sliced baby bella mushrooms in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper:
Cook the mushrooms until they are well browned, then add pressed garlic:
Stir for a few seconds until fragrant, then add baby spinach and wilt:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the barley, mushroom spinach mixture, fresh basil, fresh oregano, and fresh thyme, plus olive oil and balsamic vinegar:
Toss well to combine, and season to taste:
I usually add a little more salt and pepper. I recommend serving the barley warm or at room temperature.
Herb Mushroom Barley
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms sliced
- 7 cloves garlic (1 tbsp, pressed)
- 5 ounces baby spinach
- 1-2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar *
- 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped**
- 2 tbsp fresh oregano chopped**
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme (1 tsp stripped leaves)
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Start by cooking the barley. I find it easiest to cook it in the rice cooker: combine 1 cup of barley with 2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp of salt. Press the start button, and let it do its thing. It usually takes about 30 minutes. If you don't have a rice cooker, there should be instructions on the package for how to cook it on the stove.***
- In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium high heat, then add the mushrooms. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes, until browned.
- Add the garlic and spinach, and cook for about 2 more minutes, until the spinach is wilted.
- When the barley has finished cooking, place it in a large mixing bowl and add the mushroom mixture.
- Add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and 1 or 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (see notes), and all the herbs. Toss well, and taste for final seasoning adjustments. I'll usually add a touch more salt (about 1/4 tsp) and a few more cracks of black pepper. Enjoy!