Barley and Butternut Squash Pilaf

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Unfortunately we had to postpone our Friends Thanksgiving this weekend due to a health scare in the family as my grandfather-in-law recently accepted hospice care.  The news brought a deep sadness into our home, but in this season of giving thanks I tip my hat to hospice and the incredible service that they provide.  Their ability to nurture individuals in their final days while also supporting and educating their family members is without match.  It is people like this, who do purpose driven work, that re-lift my spirits and give me a bit of hope.

As for this dish, I had been searching for a simple grain salad to add to our chicken provencal feast last weekend.  This pilaf stood out to me as it seemed to be filling, consisted of simple flavors,and was made with ingredients that were already in our pantry.  The first recipe I found was this one, but then I decided to follow this one from Eating Well.

Everyone enjoyed this dish, and thought it complimented the rest of the meal, but some did say that it tasted a bit bland on its own. The original recipe says to serve with parmesan cheese which I will try next time, and depending on what else it is served with might experiment with some other flavors like crushed red pepper, curry, or thyme. It feels like a canvas waiting for a bit more!  


  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/5 cups of water
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 1 cups of cubed butternut squash (bite sized pieces)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves – minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley


Steps and Notes:

  1. In a large soup pot, heat a bit of oil and saute the onion. Sprinkle with some of the salt and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 clove of garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Quickly rinse the barley and add it to the pot with the water, broth, and squash. Simmer covered for about 45 minutes (removing at the end if necessary so that all of the liquid absorbs).
  4. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, half of the parsley salt and pepper. Mix gently.
  5. Top the dish with the remaining parsley and serve warm


Thoughts for Next Time:

  • Top it with grated cheese (how did I miss that)
  • Mix in a bit of wilted arugula
  • Experiment with flavors like paprika, curry, or thyme
  • Replace the veggie with another like mushrooms, broccoli, or leeks and lemon!


  1. Oh dear, so sorry to hear about your GIL. It is good he’s getting hospice treatment. I should really make more butternut squash recipes (none are even on my blog!). This looks very tasty, parmesan would be good on it.


  2. I am sorry to hear about your grandfather in law. I hope he will be comfortable now.
    I am a huge fan of butternut, so this I will enjoy 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words. And yes, butternut squash is also one of my sneaky favorites. I often don’t think to make it, but then it always turns out SO well. Let me know if you try it and/or if you have ideas for improvement!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on Heathers' Fresh Cooking and commented:
    Sounds delish. Re-blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been making barley and mushrooms stew for years, and it’s always a winner. Now I want to use your idea to replace mushrooms with squash – let’s see what happens!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yum! Let me know if you come up with a delicious new creation.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Stay tuned, dear Deb! As I will stay tuned for yours!


  5. […] in my almost 2 years of the blog and that has included butternut squash mac and cheese as well as a barley and butternut squash pilaf. I realize that this is a completely different vegetable but I feel the need to prove momentarily […]


  6. […] blog archives currently hold a barley and butternut squash pilaf as well as a potato leek soup, each made for this event. I can’t wait to see what folks […]


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