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Vegetable Barley Skillet Casserole Recipe

Updated on August 15, 2013
donnah75 profile image

I am a high school English teacher who is passionate about writing, theater, directing and enjoying a positive life with family and friends.


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5 stars from 3 ratings of Vegetable Barley Skillet Casserole

A few years ago, I adapted a skillet casserole recipe that I found in a magazine. I don’t recall the magazine, or the exact make up of the original dish. I do know that it inspired this recipe, which I have changed a few times over the years to make it just right for my taste. Somewhere along the line, this Vegetable Barley Skillet Casserole has become my signature dish. When we have a potluck lunch at work, I often make this as my contribution. I knew one of my former co-workers was a vegetarian, and she was pleased when I used vegetable broth instead of chicken to make it veggie friendly. When we have large family gatherings, I make a batch to keep warm in the crock pot. I even made this recipe for a pot luck drama club dinner for my students during one of our late technical rehearsals. Every time, the result is the same. This one is a hit!

A healthy, flexible recipe, this skillet casserole is also easy to make. It is full of healthy, tasty ingredients. I encourage you to try it, adapt it, and make it your own. Enjoy!


Cook Time

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 50 min
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: Serves 6 as a main dish. Serves a crowd as a side


  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, any color, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups (1 container) mushrooms (white or baby bella), sliced or chopped
  • 3 cloves (or more to taste) garlic, pressed or very finely chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked barley
  • 1-3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 box frozen spinach, (Or use fresh greens - spinach, kale, or swiss chard)
  • 1 can small white or navy beans
  • 1 - 2 cups grape tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 1/2 cup (or more to taste) grated parmesan cheese

Preparation Tips

  1. Take the spinach out of the freezer and allow it to thaw while you work.
  2. Coat a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2T), or spray it generously with cooking spray.
  3. Saute the mushrooms until they have cooked down. Add in the bell peppers and garlic a few minutes after the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. After the vegetables are softened, add the barley. Pour in 2 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover the skillet.
  5. Add more broth as the barley cooks and absorbs the liquid, as needed. The mixture should remain wet and should not stick to the skillet.
  6. When the barley is nearly cooked to tender, add the spinach. Mix in and cover. (This will occur after the barley has been cooking for about 20-25 minutes.) Simmer until all the spinach is warmed and mixed in.
  7. Add the white beans, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Mix together and simmer until heated through.

This is a very forgiving recipe.

  • Add more broth to make it more like a soup.
  • Use Swiss chard or another dark, leafy green instead of spinach.
  • Use fresh greens instead of frozen.
  • Experiment by adding different veggies.
  • Add some crushed red pepper for a spicy kick!
  • Use an oven proof skillet and mix some bread crumbs with 1/2 of the parmesan cheese. Instead of mixing it in, sprinkle it on the top and brown in the oven.
  • Make this recipe vegan by using vegetable broth and eliminating the parmesan cheese. Try nutritional yeast in place of the cheese.


Written by Donna Hilbrandt.


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    • donnah75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks. It is always a hit, Rajan Jolly. :)

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Interesting recipe looks tempting.

    • donnah75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hyphenbird: It is a crowd pleaser and is great with veggie stock. Enjoy and thanks for the read and comment.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 

      8 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      YUM. This is healthful and looks delicious. We love barley and I have some now. I will get mushrooms tomorrow and make this (with vegetable stock of course). Thanks for the great recipe.

    • donnah75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      @4wardthinker: Thank you. It is good to mix it up once in a while and take a break from rice, pasta and potatoes, which are the norm in our house.

      @Just Ask Susan: Thank you!

      @Claudia Tello: Thanks so much. I have made this with veggie stock many times and it is delicious. It is fabulous kept warm in a crockpot when you have a gathering as well. I hope you try it.

    • Claudia Tello profile image

      Claudia Tello 

      8 years ago from Mexico

      What an interesting recipe, it looks like the perfect vegetarian meal one could eat as a warm meal in cold days and as a cold salad in hot days. I almost don´t eat barley but your recipe really tempted me. I am definitely going to try it. A useful, interesting, quality content hub :D

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This looks so delicious.

    • 4wardthinker profile image


      8 years ago from Sierra Nevada CA

      Yum! This look so healthy. I'm feeling better already just looking at it. I was watching Dr. Oz this morning and he was saying how barley was a better choice over brown rice. Now I can add this to my recipes.

    • donnah75 profile imageAUTHOR

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      8 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thank you! It is one of my favorites.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      8 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      Fantastic. Love dishes with barley. Will try this for sure. Passing it on.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      8 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      This looks really good. I can just imagine the flavor if you used beef broth and chopped leftover roast. It would be a really good vegetable beef soup.


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