I’m not sure if I would be as passionate of a daily cook if I lived in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, the farmer’s markets there are incredible and some of the groceries make me feel like I’m in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory whenever I visit, but between the size of most NY apartment kitchens and the unbelievably delicious take out food you can pick up or order in to have on your table in minutes, it’s tough to want to spend time cooking, especially if you’re a busy mom.

Over the holiday, we went to stay with my in-laws, who live in New York City. Although I did cook a few meals there, ordering in was like a serious mommy vacation for me. We ordered in all kinds of yummy food_ Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and chopped salads and from the most incredible caterer that seemingly carried everthing under the sun. One night, my MIL ordered some barley with mushrooms and onions and offered my daughter a taste. Chloe is an incredible eater, but I didn’t think she’d find this dish appealing at all. Enjoy it? She ate the ENTIRE pint. I was so blown away that I ordered some more for the plane ride home and she blew through all of it before we were halfway across the country. Never one to mess around when I find a food that my whole family likes, I picked up the phone and called the caterer for his recipe. I’m not sure if I replicated his dish exactly, but the other night I made this for five kids we had over and they made some serious “all gone”. Lucky for you this recipe is easy enough to make that you don’t need to order out to have it show up in your kitchen!

This recipe is part of the FN Dish Sensational Sides series. Check out the other fabulous recipes here_
Feed Me Phoebe: Millet Salad With Roasted Fennel and Tomatoes
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Chinese Shrimp Fried Rice
Devour: Farro Salad With Greek Yogurt
Dishin & Dishes: Kale, Quinoa and Black Bean Salad
The Cultural Dish: Lemon Risotto
The Sensitive Epicure: Stir-Fried Quinoa With Chinese Vegetables
Virtually Homemade: Spring Couscous Salad With a Citrus Vinaigrette
Made By Michelle: Really Good Granola
Cooking With Elise: Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Thursday Night Dinner: Quinoa Salad With Cucumbers, Tomatoes and Mint
FN Dish: Good Grains Make for Balanced Meals


Mushroom Barley

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Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 Tsp sugar
  • 1 Cup Mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, chopped
  • 1 Tsp salt, divided
  • 1 Cup Pearl Barley, rinsed
  • 3 Cups low sodium chicken stock


  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the sugar and cook for another 5 minutes or until onions start to caramelize.
  • Remove the onions to a plate and add the mushrooms, garlic and 1/2 tsp salt to the pot. Cook for 3 minutes or until the water from the mushrooms start to evaporate, then remove to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the chicken stock into the same pot and bring to a boil, add the barley, 1/2 tsp salt, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.*
  • Add the onions and mushrooms to the pot to combine and cook until heated through.
  • Serve.
  • *Cooking in the same pot allows all of the flavors to combine.


Calories: 320kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 850mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 5g
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.


    1. Hi Jess! Thanks for your comment. My website just went through a major redesign and some of my older posts are having issues. I’ve added the instructions back to this recipe! Hope you can make it soon 🙂

  1. I love, love, love this recipe and have been making it for years. My kids love it so that I x4 the recipe and add diced chicken to make it more complete. I dice the mushrooms fine as one of mine don’t like mushrooms but she eats it every time 🙂 Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

  2. What kind of mushrooms do you recommend? Also is this recipe using the quick cook barley? If not how can I alter it to use the quick cook barley. As this is what I have on hand. Thanks you!

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  7. I made this tonight using Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend instead of barley (and followed the package directions instead of the recipe steps for cooking the barley). So good! Next time I will double the amount of mushrooms.

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  10. Just made this and is was great! I added some finely chopped carrots and sweet potatoes and omitted the sugar. This will be a staple in my house. My daughter is a very picky eater and she just polished off a second helping.

  11. This was awesome! My husband was a bit skeptical of barley in anything but soup however he did go back for a large second helping! My 14 month old and I both LOVED it!

  12. Hello, I am a dietitian that works with food allergies and I just wanted you to know that barley (in any form) is not gluten free, nor can you buy it gluten free.

  13. The pot barley make take a bit longer to cook. Follow the recipe directions and just increase cooking time if it isn’t soft yet (you might need to add a little hot liquid at this point, too, if the barley has soaked it all up)!

  14. Hi there, I just love your recipe book. I made dinners and cookies all week from your book and my 2yr old toddler is gobbling them up – thank you!

    I’m about to cook the mushroom barley but only have pot barley in hand. Can I use this instead if the pearl barley?

    Many thanks

  15. Hi. I made this last night and after 45 minutes of simmering with lid on, it was still very soupy. I was thinking there might be a typo and I was on ly supposed to use 2 cups of broth?

  16. I made this for the first time tonight, and it was a SMASHING success! What a tremendous flavor. I can’t wait to find out what leftovers taste like tomorrow!

  17. I just want to point out what a huge hit this recipe has been. My 14month old began eating this at about nine months and she still loves it whenever I make it! (I TRY to give her something new at least three times a week). I have made this for guests and they all love it. And it is SO EASY to make. I don’t say that often. If it wasn’t for my little girl I would probably still be boycotting the kitchen. Seriously.

  18. Hello! I love your blog, but I can’t seem to open your site in Internet Explorer 7. Should I disable cookies or something else? Thanx! x Trena

  19. I just made this tonight for our family and it was a huge hit! My 14 month old adores mushrooms, where as daddy and I aren’t such big fans (only eat them because our son likes them so much), but this recipe mave have made us converts! I added a little diced red pepper for color. Sooo yummy!! This will defiantely become a staple in our house!

  20. I’ve been meaning to tell you this for a couple of months but our kids L-O-V-E this! Our 3.5 YO asks me for it every week. I was surprised. I had been a little skeptical at your claim that your kids were fans, but wanted to give it a shot, and what a good choice that was! Thanks for sharing!

  21. No, it would be a different texture and the recipe would be different than what the directions call for. You can test it out and see if it works though, let me know how it goes! 🙂

  22. Could you swap out the barley for quinoa for a bit of protein, and if so, how would you change the cooking time?

  23. I saw your comment and just wanted to say that our daughters aren’t big mushroom fans either. I used a Pampered Chef chopper and just chopped them up really small, so they were about the same size as the barley. Our kids didn’t notice them. They are small, though (3.5 and 1) so a little easier to trick than older kids. 🙂

  24. Hi,

    Thanks a lot for the recipe. My daughter doesn’t like to eat mushrooms … is there any substitution that you can give to make this. Would like to try this. She is 2.5 years old.

    Many thanks.

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  26. Hey Brett I found your rad video section too late to vote, but I just want to say how glad I am to know there’s great srfreus with the love of God in their hearts and hope that you win, but even if you don’t, you’ve still won the most important prize of all -redemption!

  27. Thank you! We absolutely loved it! We love mushroom and we love barley, but we never cooked them together until now. So, so yummy! I made a lot and I was counting on leftovers for lunch, but my 4 years old thought otherwise… A

  28. WOW – This was so tasty, shame my 4 year old didn’t go anywhere near it. Great for us though ….love the left overs. I doubled the mushroom serving !!!

  29. This was so delicious! I added a bit of grated carrot for color. The only leftover I had was enough to put in my daughter’s lunch the next day. This makes a great “meatless Monday” main dish.

  30. I don’t know what breed the roestor was, but I have found that a large breed roestor some of the more calmer varieties, can and generally will not be nasty, although no roestor can ever be trusted.I made sure I talk to my roestor, drop him some scratch to give is girls. It seems to help. A lot depends on how much you work with them. Most people put too much roestor with too few hens. A roestor for 8 or 10 hens is plenty, I had a young roestor and he kept the eggs for 35 hens fertile.I have also heard that if you have too many hens, they can’t keep up and it breaks their spirit. Either way, they seem to rip the feathers off.l

  31. I made this once and found the barley was a little firm so will be making it again today and this time I have been soaking the barley for about 2 hours now so hopefully that will make a difference. Otherwise, tastes heavenly!!!

  32. I just cooked a batch while my son is sleeping. It smells heavenly and the taste lived up to the smell. Even if my son doesn’t like it Mom has a new favorite recipe in the rotation. Thanks to Chloe for inspiring this one!!

  33. I made this for lunch today but changed it a little. I used 1 3/4 c chicken broth and quick cooking barley (less broth so all the liquid is absorbed. I also used 1 Tbsp of olive oil, but it made the mushrooms and garlic a little stickier. Trying to make it more weight watchers friendly (btw, worth 6 points for one 3/4c serving) if you make it the way I just described. Next time def using double the mushrooms because they are SO good!! We all loved this recipe!

  34. I am realy shoced how nice a Toy Gune is abel to Look I was one of the 109 Peopel How was luky to don’t miss the you Transmission and the Light Thinks make the gun realy wwlkoirl you make an articel about the Treaking dvies?PS.: Cowboy and Bebop hase oneof the Fines OST and is gread for work 😀

  35. Trader joe’s only had a combo of rice, barley and spelt. I really hope this turns out as good as all of the reviews! My girls are so picky!

  36. Ummmm, WOW! I have already made this 3x since last week. Everyone loves it! My 16 month old and 9 year old ate it all up! It’s even better the next day- so creamy. :O)

  37. I hate to admit it, but here goes: I have a phobia of mushrooms. I can’t stand even looking at them, let alone eating them. Strange, I know. That being said, this still sounds delicious. Could you recommend using another veggie in lieu of the mushrooms? Thanks!

  38. Okay I have the HARDEST time with grains in my house. My husband likes pasta, rice and potatoes. Period I picked up a packaged mushroom risotto last weekend for the hubby for dinner this week, but didn’t really want to feed it to my 15-month old because it was relatively high in sodium and low in fiber. Then you posted early in the week. I happened to have all the ingredients in the house and made it that night. I didn’t tell the hubby what I was making, but made him try it first. To sum it up, he LOVED it. He was even happier when I told him how much healthier it was for him than the risotto (lower fat, higher fiber). I’ve added into a regular meal rotation because the toddler loved it too and I thought it was amazing. The ingredients are so simple, but the onions give it such fantastic flavour.

  39. Made tonight and oh, yummy! My husband who doesn’t often try new things even had some and liked it. Thanks for discovering, tweaking and sharing your latest culinary find.

  40. Looks super yummy. My son can’t eat gluten, what other grain would you suggest to substitute? How do you think Millet would do?

  41. This was soooo good! Like the other toddlers, my son gobbled up two servings. I topped it with some parmesan cheese.
    I used Bob’s red mill brand barley, simmered, lid on, for an hour. It had a nice texture. Softer than bulgar but not mushy. It was similar to the Crockpot steel cut oatmeal. This is going to be a new staple in our house. Thank you and keep them coming!

  42. YUM! I moved away from NYC not too long ago, and Zabars had a version of this, and I miss it!

    OK, I’ll try it soon…

  43. I have the same question as Jules, do you simmer with lid on or off? Should the barley be completely soft or will it have some crunch to it?

  44. As described; my 18mo old gobbled thisdown like there was no tomorrow…even more fun, so did his mushroom hating daddy 🙂

  45. I was actually going to make mushrooms and brown rice tonight without a particular recipe…think I’ll make this recipe sans the barley since I only have brown rice on hand

  46. This looks delicious! My 2 year old nephew absolutely loves mushrooms… he will even pick them out of whatever I am eating and put them in his bowl lol!
    – Brittany

  47. Made this for my family and we LOVED it!! My 5 yr old loves mushrooms and gobbled down a whole bowl. Next time I will add in some carrots and other veggies as well.
    So delicious!! Thanks a ton for sharing!!

  48. Okay.. So I tried it tonight, I actually halved the recipe (to control the portioning) and still used a full cup of the veggie, which was zucchini. AMAZING! Delicious!

  49. I was thinking the same thing as Kelsey. I’m looking for something I can do as a side for Salmon tonight.. but I don’t have mushrooms and I’ve already been out to the store today. But I do have some great fresh zucchini.. or spinach. I think zucchini would make a great sub. I think I’ll try this tonight!

  50. Mmmm, I love,love, love mushrooms! I will def have to make this. Do you think you could make it with veg. stock instead of chicken or would it change the taste too much? I wish more parents cared about food for their kids like you!!

  51. Wow this looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing this recipe–I’m excited to give it a try.

  52. I love mushrooms so I am definitely making this tonight! Your blog is the first thing I check in the morning… I am pregnant and have a hard time with food so coming here makes it so easy to find things that sound appealing to me and my little tots!

  53. It sounds a lot like risotto to me! I can’t wait to try it. I bet you could use other veggies, maybe asparagus or broccoli?

  54. What a truely nice idea! I think it would be so fun to open your maoiblx and find such a fun present that you were absolutely not expecting! I would love for you to send it to my mom. She has been such a huge help to me and my whole family for the past few months, I’d love for her to be able to enjoy a “just because” present!

  55. This looks good though my 9 year old and 4 year old don’t like mushrooms. they say it has a funny texture. I bet my husband and our 1 year old will like it. I love mushrooms!

  56. A trick I learned is cooking the bird breast down! Then all the juices soak to the bottom and make for very tender juicy chicken.

  57. This looks like something my 3 year old would love! We tried the crock pot chicken last night and it came out great. Next time I will follow your directions more closely. I used a 3 lb chicken and cooked it all day on low. The breasts were really dry. Next time I will do the 2- 2 1/2 hrs you suggested.

  58. Oh I love this idea. My friend Maureen is a tcaheer and an artist. For the past year she has been fighting an aggressive form of cancer. It has knocked her for a loop. As an artist Maureen loves fiber and textile arts. I think receiving a surprise gift in the mail of any kind would be fun but this book would be right up her ally. Fingers crossed that she is the lucky winner. Peace!

  59. Hope you make a video of this one. My “almost three” daughter tends to eat dishes from your website that she and I prepare while watching the videos. She’s a fan of Kenya so she eats (or at least try) what he eats in the videos. Thanks in advance.

  60. We were taught that certain foods – like mushrooms and lamb – are hard to digest and therefor better left for older kids. My daughter started eating mushrooms around 2.5, and did have some growlies after the first time, so we waited another few months. Just a thought.

  61. My 12 month old eats mushrooms. The pedi said that she could eat everything we eat except peanut butter, choking hazards like nuts and no honey until 15 months.

  62. Oh I’m definitely goingto make this tomorrow. I justspent two hoursprinting out recipes from here to make for my one year old and family. Do you think my 12 month old can eat the mushrooms in this?

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