Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale

Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale

Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale

For some reason, I have multiple bags of barley. I’m not really sure why… I think I bought more because I thought I was running out. That makes sense. But I ended up with lots of barley, and I really only use it in one dish.

So I came up with another dish.

Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale - close

It’s pretty surprising that I haven’t made barley on its own before… I usually use it in soup. Actually, I put it into soup and as it cooks it sucks up most of the broth and we end up with something much less soupy. I really like barley – it’s fun and chewy, and its mild flavour goes well with different seasonings.

Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale
Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale

I figured if you can pilaf things like rice, quinoa and bulgur, you could probably pilaf barley. In this one, I added mushrooms and kale (which I am seriously loving this winter), and served it with a bit of salmon. I think I’ll finally be able to use up that bag of barley… er, and then I’ll probably buy another one.

Barley Pilaf, with Mushroom and Kale


  • 1 tablespoon butter or margerine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or 3 whole cloves garlic confit)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • a few whole peppercorns
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup pearl or pot barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or water)
  • 4 – 5 large leaves fresh kale, washed, ribs removed and torn into chunks
  • 1 large tomato, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups water or stock
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a sauté pan, brown the onions in the oil and butter, over medium heat.
  2. Using a mortar and pestle, grind up the rosemary leaves with the coarse salt and peppercorns. This helps to break up the rosemary so that you don’t get woody bits, and helps to distribute the flavour.
  3. Add the garlic, rosemary and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms have released their juices.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add barley to the pan, and stir constantly for about 15 minutes until barley is browned and coated. Do not let it burn!
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine, add the kale, and put a lid on it. The steam will help to wilt the kale down to a workable size.
  6. Stir in tomato and liquid. Bring to a boil on medium heat, then turn back down to medium-low to simmer. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 30-40 minutes.
  7. About 20 minutes in, stir in the herbs.
  8. Mix well with a wooden spoon and serve, topped with a little extra parsley or green onion.

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