- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 3/4 cups pearl barley
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 12 ounces assorted mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 4 cups fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the parley, garlic, and thyme, stirring until fragrant, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour in broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat until the barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper and season with salt and pepper. Saute until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach leaves and stir until they have just wilted, about 1 minute.
Add vegetables to cooked barley and stir gently to mix. Season with vinegar and more salt and pepper if necessary. Pilaf will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.