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Kalyn's Kitchen

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms is a unique and delicious side dish, and barley is a delicious whole grain. Use Grains Recipes to find more recipes like this one!

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Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on KalynsKitchen.com

I’m still working on that huge jar of dried mushrooms, so it seemed like a good time to update the photos for this Barley Pilaf recipe from back in 2006.  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 a major ingredient in several hot drinks used as a coffee substitute, especially in Europe.  I loved this dish which is a type of barley pilaf where the barley is sauteed 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 made this a very flavorful side dish.

The idea behind this recipe came from The Best Recipes in the World, a cookbook by New York Time columnist Mark Bittman that I still turn to as a good source for international recipes. And this was so, so delicious!

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on KalynsKitchen.com

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. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes then drain the mushrooms and reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup. Heat the butter or margarine and 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!)  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. 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.

Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms found on KalynsKitchen.com
Add the dried mushrooms and cook about 2 minutes more. 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 KalynsKitchen.com

Make it a Meal:

This would be delicious to serve with something like Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Capers and Sage or Forbidden City Chicken.

More Ways You Might Enjoy Barley:

Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad from The Taste Space
Barley Minestrone with Canadian Bacon, Savoy Cabbage, and Rosemary from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Barley with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms

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 (Porcini mushrooms are great if you have them)
  • 8 ounces sliced white or Portobella mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley (not instant)
  • 3 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 cup boiling water for mushroom soaking liquid, later simmered until reduced to 1/2 cup
  • 1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or more)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder (or more)
  • 1 T + 1 T butter or margarine  use margarine for South Beach Diet)
  • 1 T + 1 T extra virgin olive oil


  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 1 T butter or margarine and 1 T olive oil in dutch oven type pan. (If you’re using a non-stick pan you can use less oil.)  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 butter or margarine and olive oil. 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.


Recipe was adapted from The Best Recipes in the World.

All images and text ©

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms would be a great side dish for 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 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.

Nutritional Information?
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, you can sign up for a free membership with Yummly and use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information. Another option is entering the recipe into this Recipe Nutrition Analyzer, which will calculate it for you.

Pinterest image of Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms

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    32 Comments on “Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms”

  1. Donna, you must try cooking barley in something! It's really tasty.

  2. Confession time: I have never cooked with barley! Your post makes me want to try. Thanks once again for inspiring me.


  3. Kelly, thanks. Glad you like it.

    Kelsum I think barley with Indian flavors sounds great.

  4. I love barley but its been ages i cooked with it. I actually just have a couple of Indian recipes that I cook with it and this and those links are going to my folder of must try recipes

  5. What a great dish, this looks amazing!! Lovely photos! 🙂

  6. Deborah, I do love that idea, thanks!

  7. I have a great way to use some of those mushrooms, powder them. I put them in my spicegrinder and wiz then till they are powdered. You can also do this in your blender. I keep it in a glass jar and use the powder any were I want mushroon flaver. Give it a try! Deborah

  8. Libby, so glad you're enjoying the blog. I do think this will freeze well. Good luck using up those mushrooms!

  9. Hi Kalyn,

    I have the exact same giant container of dried mushrooms from Costco. Not sure I will be able to use the whole jar in my lifetime so am pondering the lucky recipient after I am gone. You might be it!! LOL!

    I love barley and mushrooms and so I am going to make this next week when I am in Phase II. I think this would freeze nicely since I will have to dole it out in increments.

    Also loved the last mushroom recipe with spinach and parmesan. That was "Before SBD."

    Thanks for all that you do. This website is a life saver.

    Peace and blessings,

  10. Isn't it funny to see the old photos? And I was so proud of them at the time. (At that point in time, I was proud that I even knew how to transfer a photo to the computer and post it on the blog!)

  11. Once again, I love that wayback machine that lets us see how much we've learned! Great photos really bring this recipe to life. It's just my kind of dish, for any time of year.

  12. What terrific photos of a difficult to make look good dish. I always have problems with brown food in bowls.

    And I need to make more barley dishes