Barley is a great alternative to rice and a great way to include more whole grains and fibre into your diet, but unfortunately it is often neglected! This recipe is a simple way to incorporate barley into a meal as either a side dish or main dish. The onion and toasted almonds make it really flavourful and the slow baking in the oven makes it so creamy and rich - I know it's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it tastes amazing!
1 cup pot barley
1 small sweet onion or 1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 and 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
3 and 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a frying pan over medium heat, toast the almonds until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside.
Saute the barley and onion in butter/margarine for in a frying pan over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the onion is tender. Transfer to a large bowl stir in the mushrooms, almonds, soup mix, and parsley. Evenly pour into an ungreased 2 qt. baking dish. Add 3 and 1/2 cups of broth.
Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Check halfway through baking time, adding more broth if it is too dry. Once out of the oven, let the casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. This recipe yields 8-10 servings.
*Recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine