Barley Jambalaya

Barley Jambalaya


1 cup instant pearl barley
4 cups water
2 whole bay leaves
3 medium onions
2 small celery stalks
1 cup diced green, red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
2 medium cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 ounces ground turkey
2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomato (no salt added)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


In Advance

1. In a colander, rinse barley under cold water.

2. In a medium pot over high heat, bring barley, water, and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook barley until tender and water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes.

3. In a colander, drain barley. Set aside.


4. Peel, rinse, and dice onions. Rinse and dice celery and pepper. Peel and mince garlic.

5. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil.

6. Add onions, celery, pepper, and garlic to pot. Mix well. Cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.

7. Add ground turkey. Cook until internal temperature registers 165 °F on a food thermometer, about 5 minutes more.

8. Add tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a simmer.

9. Add spices. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes.

10. Add cooked barley to the mixture. Stir to combine. Add more water or broth, if needed. Cook over low heat to bled flavors, about 5-10 minutes more.

11. Remove bay leaves and serve.


  1. To save time, cook barley up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use. Add to pot in step 10. Or, use another whole grain you have made in advance, like brown rice.
  2. When doubling this recipe, do not double cayenne pepper unless you prefer a very spicy dish.
  3. For a vegetarian option, use cooked or canned pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained, in place of meat.

Materials: Can opener, Colander, Cutting board, Large pot with lid, Measuring Spoons, Medium pot with lid, Mixing spoon, Sharp knife.

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