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Barley with Butternut Squash, Apple & Onion

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This is one of the “meals” (it’s really a side dish but I like to eat it as a meal) I’ve been making for years and usually resurrect come fall/winter.  My family absolutely loves it too, even my little nephew (or at least he did at 4 years old, the last time he ate it)!  I appreciate delicious vegetarian meals that satisfy me and this one fits the bill fo sho. The combination of the creamy squash, chewy barley, crisp red pepper & apple, and the contrasting savories and sweetness–it’s all just magic to me.  And I guess if a four year old boy will relish something that only contains unrecognizable healthy ingredients, it is pretty magical.

Barley with Butternut Squash, Apple & Onion

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 cup uncooked barley
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups butternut squash, peeled & diced
1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper, diced
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup fat-free chicken or vegetable broth

Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan; add barley. Cover saucepan and simmer barley until tender, about 30 to 35 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add squash and cook, stirring often, until it’s starting to soften–about five minutes. Add the onion and red pepper and cook for an additional 3 minutes.

Stir in apple, garlic, thyme, black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring, until apple is almost tender, about 2 minutes; stir in broth, scraping bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Stir in cooked barley; toss over low heat to mix and coat. Remove from heat and serve.

Serves 4, about 1 cup per serving.

Per serving: 192 calories; 4.2 g fat; 0 g cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 8 g fiber; 5 g protein; 5 Points Plus

Recipe source:

About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

25 responses »

  1. i love meals like this! they are pretty much my staple school lunch these days. :)


  2. Barley is just something that is not on my radar – this looks delicious! (sans the onions!!)


  3. thebetterbaker11

    I love dishes like this and could eat it for a meal also. Very unusual combo of flavors, but I am printing it and trying it soon. Thanks much for the WW points too.


  4. Hey Veronica, I signed up for the candy swap but I need to make an adjustment on it, could you amend it to be no nuts? Thanks so much, Juliana


  5. You make barley look very very enticingly delicious :)

    Choc Chip Uru


  6. I know I would love this dish as it contains all my favorite foods! So glad you had the nutritional info to share as well. Have a great week!


  7. I like all the different combinations you have going on. I can often make a meal out of a side dish too :)


  8. I haven’t thought about barley in that form in so long, thanks for the reminder, V. I love the flavor combinations you put together for this dish. Thoughtful and very “Wintery.” Great colors too!!


  9. Love this Veronica! It looks delicious and the colors are gorgeous. I truly believe we eat with our eyes before the food ever hits the taste buds and my eyes are smiling at this one! :)


  10. That looks delicious and good for you too! I hope you have a great week!


  11. This is definitely my idea kinda lunch! I love a good butternut/grain salad!


  12. Pingback: Butternut Squash Barley Risotto – Expert Flavour « jittery cook

  13. Perfect for this time of year and I love the yellow-through-red color spectrum of this dish with the apples, squash, and red peppers! Most of the veggies you include (and of course the apple) are somewhat sweet, I’m sure that helps make it a hit with everyone. Yum!


  14. Pingback: Butternut Squash Barley Risotto – Expert Flavour

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