Pearl Barley Pilaf with Porcinis & Peas

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I have some exciting news, Dear Readers!  You might have noticed the Cooking Light Bloggers’ Connection Member badge on the right sidebar – I’m happy to announce that I’ve partnered with Cooking Light and a couple times a month I’ll be sharing some of their fantastic recipes and food-related articles. 

Get ready to be inspired, in a very healthy/delicious way… 

Now that spring has arrived, I’ve been looking for fresh ideas to spring clean my go-to sides…when I found a recipe for barley pilaf I couldn’t wait to give it a try.

I’m not going to share the full recipe here because I hardly made any changes to it at all.  The original recipe (Barley Pilaf with Sautéed Mushrooms) calls for sautéed button mushrooms, but to give this dish more of a springtime flair I went with peas instead.  (I used frozen peas that I thawed – I just stirred them in at the end along with the parsley; you could use blanched fresh peas instead of frozen if you prefer.)  In addition to peas, I would have also added some chopped fresh mint if I had it on hand.  Or I think asparagus would have been fantastic.  (I still used the porcini mushrooms that the recipe calls for – their earthy, umami flavor was the perfect compliment for the nuttiness of the barley.)

It was a lovely side, very hearty and earthy, but still with a springtime touch.  If you’re planning to serve lamb for a springtime fête (or for Easter dinner!), I think this dish would be a perfect addition to the meal. 

What are some of your favorite side dishes?  Please feel free to share in the comments, and leave a link if you want!

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    • says

      Duckie, I love sweet potatoes too! A few of my favorite ways to eat them are baked (topped with butter and brown sugar), mashed, cut into French fries and roasted, in curry, and pureed in soup. I just recently used sweet potato to make baked sweet potato chips in the oven for the first time — it was delicious! :)

  1. says

    Omg omg that’s great news Faith :) I really like your healthy recipes and how you always manage to make healthy food look and be so delicious ~ I just need to find away to make Mr Bao eat more healthy foods with me hahaha even though I’m not really a good role model either ~

  2. says

    I love this dish – hearty enough to be filling but also so suitable for spring! I really want to try cooking with pearl barley as I haven’t before.

  3. says

    This is so funny, Faith, as I was typing in the security code, I was already imagining my enthusiastic comment to you and I put an exclamation point at the end of it!! You know me, I love my exclamation points. :) Anyway, congrats on partnering with Cooking Light-that’s exciting! I just bought some barley but it’s not pearl-the package says it takes 1 1/2 hours to cook! Ouch. It might still work here, not sure, maybe the mushrooms would be overcooked by the end. My favorite side dishes are usually roasted or steamed veggies-I’m not very creative or fancy with the sides, usually. Boring! lol

  4. says

    If you allow me to place a few shavings of Parmiggiano cheese on top…I’m up for a place at your table Faith ;o)

    Cooking Light has just scored big time with a dedicated foodie like you…congrats!

    Have a great day and flavourful wishes,

  5. says

    That sounds like a great partnership! This dish looks delicious. I like the combination of the earthy mushrooms with the sweet peas. I have been trying to come up with more creative side dishes – this one is a must try.

  6. says

    I just “discovered” a lot of great stuff in my pantry like quinoa, spelt and barley that I had forgetten about. I am determined to use them up within the next few weeks so as not to waste them so your recipe comes at a perfect time.

    Congrats on the Cooking Light collaboration. Very cool!

  7. says

    I have a real soft spot for barley- I just love that hearty, toothsome grain. Now that I have a pressure cooker, it doesn’t take forever to cook it, too. This recipe looks so good, I want to drop everything and start it cooking right this minute!

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