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You'll often find simple barley dishes in Turkey, Morocco, and beyond, since this hearty, nutrient-rich grain has a firm texture that makes it well suited to accompany anything from robust proteins to delicate vegetables. This dish has a judicious mix of bold herbs (fresh thyme, parsley, and chives) for an aromatic, balanced side dish. Cooking an onion and then toasting the barley before adding a measured amount of water enhanced the barley's inherent nuttiness.

Herbed Barley Pilaf [Vegan]

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  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 /2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in barley, garlic, and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, until barley is lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in water and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until barley is tender and water is absorbed, 20 to 40 minutes.
  3. Off heat, lay clean dish towel underneath lid and let pilaf sit for 10 minutes. Add parsley, chives, and lemon juice to pilaf and fluff gently with fork to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.


Do not substitute hulled, hull-less, quick-cooking, or presteamed barley (read the ingredient list on the package to determine this) in this recipe.

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