Vegetable Barley Skillet Casserole Recipe
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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!
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- 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
- Take the spinach out of the freezer and allow it to thaw while you work.
- Coat a large skillet with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2T), or spray it generously with cooking spray.
- 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.
- After the vegetables are softened, add the barley. Pour in 2 cups of broth and bring to a simmer. Cover the skillet.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.