Chicken with Toasted Barley

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Chicken with Toasted Barley

Toasted barley has become a comfort food. Put it with chicken and you have double comfort in a satisfying, tasty dinner. I put this together one day recently trying to use up odds and ends I had. I had a little barley left, and two frozen chicken thighs, and the last of some veggies. Fortunately the ingredients were some of my favorites.


It takes a bit of time for the cooking, but it’s really a simple and easy dish to make in a single skillet. Toast the barley first, set it aside while you sauté the rest, then combine and cook until tender.

I love that it only takes one pan. It also includes a tasty vegetable serving with the mushrooms, spinach, celery and onion. The first batch I made was a half recipe, but it freezes so well that next time I’ll make the full recipe.

If you would like it more soup like, add one additional can of broth. You may need to up the seasonings slightly to taste.

The barley and chicken combination was very filling and rich. Serve it with a little salad, and you have an easy comfort dinner.

Chicken with Toasted Barley


  • 2 cups pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into small pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 8 to 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups roughly chopped spinach
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Prep all vegetables.
  2. Heat large skillet without oil.
  3. Cook barley 6 to 8 minutes until lightly browned. Poor into a bowl.
  4. Add Olive oil to skillet, then sauté chicken for 5 minutes, until chicken is white on outside.
  5. Remove chicken to the same bowl as the barley.
  6. Add onion and celery to pan and sauté 4 minutes.
  7. Add mushrooms, then cook for 5 to 8 minutes until most of liquid has cooked off.
  8. Return chicken and barley to pan, mixing with vegetables.
  9. Stir in the chicken broth, water, and seasonings.
  10. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce to a simmer, and cook 35 to 40 minutes until barley is tender.
  11. Stir in chopped spinach, sauteing 2 minutes.
  12. Serve and eat.


My absolute favorite way to chop everything these days is with my Ninja Master Prep Pro.

This little machine is incredible. Every time it exceeds my expectations. Not sure if it is because of the top mounted motor–so much easier to me, or the double blades.

It works so fast the first time you use it only pulse for three seconds!

You can read my full review and see lots of photos here






Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Jackie Jackson

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  1. Thanks Dreya, I was exactly the same. I LOVE barley in soup, so decided to see how I liked it out! It’s yummy. Hadn’t thought of not having it in France. As a grain, it seems it would be everywhere. I hear things like pumpkin can be hard to find too. Thanks for you comments. I hope you’ll let us know if you find them!

  2. Merry this sounds lovely! I’ve never had pearl barley in this way, it’s always been in soups, (which I’ve loved) so this sounds suitably different and interesting to me. Whether we can get hold of pearl barley here in France is another thing, but we’ll see as I’d love to try this. Thanks for the inspiration! :0)

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