White Bean, Spinach, and Barley Pilaf (er, soup)

16 Mar

Pretty barley pilaf. Tasty, too!

I love grains and I’m really trying to find more ways to get more barley into my diet. I have high hopes for this recipe. I made this “stew” as is today. However, based on the reviews from, it may taste better tomorrow. Also, calling it a stew is a little misleading; its more like a pilaf so I’ve retitled it. I did end up adding a cup of homemade chicken broth to one serving and ate it as a soup with some crusty French bread.

The person who submitted the original recipe also recommended pairing it with a dry Chardonnay. Being a wine lover, who am I to argue?


  • 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 3 cups water or broth
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 3/4 cup small fresh mushrooms
  • 1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white wine, broth or sherry
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Bring the barley and water to a boil in a pot. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 45 minutes, or until tender.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, and cook the onion and garlic until tender. Season with rosemary. Mix the mushrooms, yellow bell pepper, and wine into the pot, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley, beans, tomatoes, and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking 10 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.

Optional: Add diced chicken and some broth to turn this dish into a hearty soup. Here’s my recipe for homemade chicken soup.

Serves six

Nutritional information – values per serving are approximate (not including extra broth):

Calories 188.6 Total Fat 1.4g  Cholesterol 0.0mg  Sodium 96.8mg  Potassium 378.6mg  Total Carbohydrate 37.3g   Protein 5.9g



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