This barley pilaf makes a nice light meal on its own, or a delicious side.


Autumn is a wonderful time for hearty home-cooked meals, which can still be achieved with low-calorie, healthy ingredients.  
Makes 4 servings
Cooking time: n/a


  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) quick-cooking barley
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp (25 mL) canola oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) diced onions
  • 1/2 package (4 oz./230 g) sliced mushrooms
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups (500 mL) loosely packed baby spinach
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp (3 mL) salt 


  1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in barley, reduce heat, cover tightly, and simmer 10-12 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 mL) canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt skillet to coat bottom evenly; add onions, and cook 6 minutes or until richly browned, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook 4 minutes or until tender, using two utensils to toss. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat. Add spinach, oregano, salt, and undrained barley. Toss well to blend. Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon (15 mL) canola oil evenly over all and toss gently until just coated.


Makes 4 servings, Serving size: 1/2 cup (125 mL) 

Recipe courtesy of The Heart-Smart Diabetes Kitchen: Fresh, Fast, and Flavorful Recipes Made with Canola Oil from the American Diabetes Association and CanolaInfo, copyright 2009. 

Nutritional Information

Per Serving
Calories 150
Total fat 6 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Trans fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 300 mg
Carbohydrates 24 g
Fiber 4 g
Sugars 3 g
Protein 3 g

Donate to diabetes research today!

Keep diabetes research moving forward

Your donation will ensure research never stops – help End Diabetes Now.