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barley bowl

Herby Barley Bowl with Mushrooms, Kale, & Bacon

  • Author: Megan B-L
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entree


Herby barley bowl with shiitake mushrooms, bacon, caramelized onions, kale, white beans, fresh herbs, topped with parmesan.


  • 1.5 cups uncooked hulled barley
  • 4.5 cups beef broth
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 16 oz shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch kale
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 115 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained
  • 5 ounces shredded parmesan
  • salt & pepper


  1. Rinse barley. Add barley, beef broth, thyme, rosemary, and red pepper flakes to a pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes. 
  2. In a sauté pan, cook the bacon. Meanwhile, cut onion in half length-wise, then slice. Roughly slice mushrooms.
  3. When bacon is finished, move slices to a paper towel-lined plate. Reserve 3 tablespoons bacon grease in the pan, discard the rest.
  4. With the pan on medium-low heat, add the sliced onions and mushrooms. Salt and pepper them. Sauté for about 20 minutes, turning the heat down if they are browning up too much.
  5. At the end of the 20 minutes or until onions & mushrooms are caramelized to your liking, add minced garlic and red wine vinegar, stir for about a minute, then turn off heat.
  6. Chop up the bacon, strip, wash, & chop kale, and drain that can o’ beans!
  7. Mix everything together, removing herb sprigs from barley and adding the juice of 1/2 lemon, most of the parmesan, and salt & pepper to taste. 
  8. Serve with extra parmesan on top! 


  • The equipment section above contains affiliate links to products that could help you make this recipe! 
  • If using pearled barley, check doneness after 20 minutes instead of 40. 
  • Want this to be vegetarian? Easy. Get rid of the bacon. Vegan?? Use veggie broth, no bacon, no parm. It will still be super yummy. 
  • This recipe is so easy to modify to your preferences. I have made it with all kinds of different veggie subs like broccoli or cauliflower, and different meats too like sausage or ground beef. You really can’t go wrong! 

Keywords: barley, mushrooms, onions, kale, bacon, parmesan