Butternut Barley Pilaf

Yield: 6-8 side servings

I adapted this recipe from Heidi Swanson’s 101 Cookbooks website – a great source for recipes focused on healthy, natural foods.


  • 2 cups pearled barley
  • 3 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons walnut oil (or more olive oil)


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Bring a pot of water (about 6 cups) to boil in a large saucepan. Add the barley and salt (should taste like sea water). Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until chewy and firm. Remove from heat, drain any excess water, and set aside.
  3. Toss the squash, onion, and thyme with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a couple big pinches of salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes. Toss the squash and onions every 5-7 minutes to get browning on multiple sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. In a large bowl gently toss everything with the walnut oil (or olive oil). Season to taste with salt.

Note: to toast the walnuts, place them on a baking sheet and put them in the 375 oven for 6-7 minutes or until fragrant. Let them cool; then chop.

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