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This recipe courtesy of Cooking Matters®

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 22 minutes
Course: Mains & Sides
Servings: 6


  • 1 cup instant pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium green red, yellow, or orange bell pepper
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 ounces ground turkey
  • 2 14½-ounce cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • In a colander, rinse barley under cold water.
  • 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.
  • In a colander, drain barley. Set aside.
  • Peel, rinse, and dice onions. Rinse and dice celery and pepper. Peel and mince garlic.
  • In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil.
  • Add onions, celery, pepper, and garlic to pot. Mix well. Cook until veggies are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add ground turkey. Cook until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
  • Add tomatoes and their juices. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add spices. Stir to combine. Cover and reduce heat. Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Add cooked barley to the mixture. Stir to combine. Add more water or broth, if needed. Cook over low heat to blend flavors, about 5–10 minutes more.
  • Remove bay leaves and serve.


If instant barley is not available, use regular pearl barley or brown rice.
Use turkey sausage or soy sausage instead of ground turkey, if desired.
For a vegetarian option, use cooked or canned pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained, in place of meat.

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