Mushroom Barley Bake with Thyme

Change is good but it doesn’t always happen quickly or easily. Most of us go along our everyday lives by rote. We take the same route to work, we wear our hair the same way, and we eat the same foods. It’s usually not because we aren’t interested in changing but because it’s easier to stick with the familiar and safe path. When it comes to eating, the familiar path can get old quickly. Think about the last time  you went to the grocery store and bought something new and different. How long has it been? To keep from getting bored with dinner, we’ve committed to buying at least 1 or 2 new things every month. Last month, pearled barley was the food du jour. 

This is my first attempt at cooking barley and it’s very similar to cooking brown rice. Cooked barley has a nutty texture and is a great substitute for rice or potatoes as a side item.  This recipe is what I call a low maintenance dish. It’s definitely not quick but it’s simple and doesn’t require much fussing. Once you get it in the oven, you’re home free.  Make this on a Saturday afternoon while you’re doing other things. Use low sodium broth for this. I used regular beef broth because that’s what I had handy and it was almost too salty.

Mushroom Barley Bake with Thyme



1 large onion, chopped
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
32 oz container beef, vegetable, or chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup fresh parsley, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Melt butter in large skillet and add onions and mushrooms.Saute until tender – about 10 minutes. 
3. Add broth, salt and pepper; mix well.
4. Bring to a boil. Add barley, thyme, and parsley.
5. Pour into a 13 x 9 baking dish.
6. Cover and bake for 80-90 minutes or until the barley is tender.



  1. Valerie Burns
    May 2, 2012

    Had this tonight and it was out of this world. I make something similar with wild rice and barley with asparagus, an old weight watcher’s recipe, and loved it so much I was looking for something like it. Found this on Food Gawker; I followed the recipe exactly and served it as a side for some pan seared salmon. Got rave reviews. Thank you!

    • jfoster
      May 4, 2012

      I’m glad you liked it. I love barley.


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