Barley with Mushrooms is a unique and delicious vegetarian side dish, and barley is a delicious whole grain that’s easy to cook.

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Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on

After I got a huge jar of dried mushrooms from Costco, it seemed like a good time to update the photos for this Barley with Mushrooms that’s such a tasty idea for a whole grain side dish. I loved this barley pilaf recipe where the barley is browned in butter or olive oil and then cooked in hot stock.

Adding both dried and fresh mushrooms and using some of the the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms to cook the barley gave this extra mushroom flavor. And this was so, so delicious!

What ingredients do you need?

  • dried mushrooms
  • sliced mushrooms
  • pearl barley (not instant)
  • canned vegetable broth
  • boiling water for mushroom soaking liquid
  • Dried Thyme (affiliate link)
  • Onion Powder (affiliate link)
  • butter

What is Barley?

Many people don’t think much about barley, but actually barley is a major food crop, fourth in the world of cereal crops, according to Wikipedia. Barley is used as a grain, and is an ingredient in several hot drinks used as a coffee substitute, especially in Europe. It’s also delicious in soups and salads.

What kind of mushrooms should you use?

The inspiring recipe used dried Porcini mushrooms, but if those aren’t in the budget any type of dried mushrooms will work. I love brown Cremini Mushrooms for the fresh mushrooms, but regular white mushrooms will also be good.

How can you make this recipe vegan?

If you want a vegan version of this recipe for Barley with Mushrooms, just switch out the butter for olive oil.

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms process shots collage

How to make Barley with Mushrooms:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. Start with one ounce of dried mushrooms. The original recipe used Porcini mushrooms which are great if you have them, but since I have that huge jar of dried mushrooms I just used what I had. Break the mushrooms apart if they’re large.
  2. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes. Then drain the mushrooms and simmer to reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup.
  3. Heat the butter or olive oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid; then add barley and saute for 3-5 minutes.  (Oops, forgot to take a photo of that step!)
  4. Then add the stock and mushroom liquid, thyme, and onion powder, lower heat, and simmer covered until the barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. (Photo shows this before I covered the pan.)
  5. When the barley is done, saute the fresh mushrooms in butter or margarine and olive oil until they’re soft and the liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the dried mushrooms to the fresh mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes more.
  7. Then stir in the cooked barley and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on

Make it a Meal:

This would be delicious to serve with something like Peanut Butter Tofu or Cauliflower Gratin for a meatless meal. Or for people who really love mushrooms, pair it with Tofu and Mushrooms.

More Vegetarian Dishes with Mushrooms:

Lentil and Barley Greek-Style Salad

Mushroom Lover’s Egg Skillet with Spinach

Balsamic Spinach Salad with Mushrooms and Feta

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on
Yield: 6 servings

Barley with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms is a unique and delicious side dish, and barley is a delicious whole grain.


  • 1 ounce (or more) dried mushrooms (see notes)
  • 8 ounces sliced white or brown mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley (not instant)
  • 3 cups canned vegetable broth
  • 1 cup boiling water for mushroom soaking liquid
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or more)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder (or more)
  • 4 T butter (see notes)


  1. Put dried mushrooms on cutting board and coarsely chop with chef’s knife, then place them in bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over. Let stand 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 minutes, strain mushrooms (a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth would work for this) catching liquid. Boil mushroom liquid to reduce to 1/2 cup.
  3. Heat 2 T butter in dutch oven type pan. (If you’re using a non-stick pan you can use a bit less.)  Add barley and saute 3-5 minutes, until barley is slightly toasted and well coated with oil.
  4. Add stock, reduced mushroom juice, thyme, and onion powder, bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 30-35 minutes. Add more liquid and cook longer if needed to get the barley to the degree of tenderness you want.
  5. When barley is tender and all liquid is absorbed, turn off heat.
  6. In very large deep frying pan, heat remaining 2 T butter. Saute fresh mushrooms 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are softened. Add dried mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes more, then stir in barley and heat through.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.


Porcini mushrooms are great for this recipe if you have them. For a vegan version of this recipe just substitute olive oil for the butter.

Recipe was adapted from The Best Recipes in the World (affiliate link).

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 135Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 398mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

Did you make this recipe?

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating (under the PRINT button in the recipe) or share a photo of your results on Instagram! THANKS!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms would be a great side dish for the original South Beach phase 2 or 3, or for most low-glycemic diets. It’s too high in carbs for traditional low-carb diet plans.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Side Dishes to find more recipes like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Historical Notes for this Recipe
This recipe was posted in 2006. It was last updated with more information in 2021.

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