But it is absolutely necessary if you are looking for simple, healthful, delicious side dishes to compliment a myriad of main entrees. This barley pilaf is no exception. Not only does it introduce a nutritious grain into your diet, but the high-protein, high-fiber barley makes a delicious baked pilaf that is flavorful, tender and pairs wonderfully with many dishes, not the least of which I’ll be sharing later this week (think: broiled parmesan and lemon chicken – yum!).
My kids, the ultimate skeptics, didn’t bat an eye at devouring this tasty side dish. Granted, they’ve become accustomed to eating barley in one of our favorite chilis, but I also helped alleviate their worries by telling them it was like rice – just chubbier and chewier – and for some reason, that sealed the deal and they gobbled it right up.
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup medium pearl barley (not quick cooking barley)
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup pine nuts or almonds, optional
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the barley, nuts (if using), garlic and onions. Saute the mixture, stirring frequently, until the onions are tender and the barley is golden. Scrape the mixture into a 3-quart baking dish and stir in the salt, pepper and chicken broth. Bake uncovered for 60-80 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is tender. Garnish with green onions, if desired.