Pearl Barley baked with Spinach, Garlic and Mushrooms

This is a light yet healthy meal, perfect as a light dinner. It is packed with complex carbohydrates, iron, folate and other vitamins and minerals. If you have this for lunch it will last you almost throughout the day. You can use other vegetables such as peppers, celery, broccoli and more. You can also use rice instead of the pearl barley if you are gluten intolerant. If you don't like garlic you can omit it and use more parsley and even other spices if you prefer.

A hearty meal which is very easy on the stomach and packed with vitamins

This recipe is:

  • Egg free
  • Nut free

This recipe is easy to make:

  • Lactose (dairy) free

Pearl Barley baked with Spinach, Garlic and Mushrooms

Serves 2-3


For the filling:

  • 100 grams (3½ oz) pearl barley (or brown rice)
  • 250 millilitres water
  • 150 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms (or other mushrooms with strong flavours), chopped finely
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) fresh or frozen spinach, thawed and excess water squeezed out.
  • 100 grams (3½ oz) low fat cheese, grated
  • 1 onion (red), chopped finely
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoons salt (Himalaya or sea salt)

For the garlic sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoons creme fraiche (light), without gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely


  1. First prepare the sauce: Peel the garlic clove and chop finely or press into a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons yoghurt, 2 tablespoons creme fraiche and 1 tablespoon dried parsley. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Place the 100 grams pearl barley in a small saucepan and add 250 millilitres water. Cook the barley for around 30 minutes or until the water has evaporated (you might start hearing a hissing sound from the saucepan which means there is little water left and the barley is ready!).
  3. Chop the 150 grams shiitake mushrooms finely. You might want to discard the stems from the mushrooms if they are very tough.
  4. Peel the onion and chop finely.
  5. Allow the 100 grams of spinach to defrost (if frozen). When defrosted, squeeze out excess water with your hands. Chop the spinach coarsely.
  6. Grate the 100 grams cheese and set aside.
  7. Place the mushrooms in a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon water and ½ teaspoon salt. Fry the mushrooms for 10 minutes and set aside.
  8. Add spinach to the frying pan and a little water if needed. Fry for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  9. Add 1 teaspoon coconut oil the frying pan and fry the chopped onions for 7 minutes.
  10. Add spinach and mushrooms to the pan along with the 100 grams grated cheese.
  11. Place mushrooms, cheese, garlic, spinach, onions, barley and garlic sauce in a large bowl and give everything a good stir.
  12. Place in 2-3 small ovenproof dishes (or one larger).
  13. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius/350 Fahrenheit/Gas Mark 4, for 20 minutes.



  • Serve with more garlic sauce on the side if preferred.
  • You can use brown rice instead of the pearl barley.
  • If the coconut oil is cold (in which case it becomes solid), place the jar in a bowl filled with hot water for a couple of minutes.