Mushroom and Barley Bake

Hearty baked dishes don't always have to be pasta and rice-heavy. Try a beautiful nutritional change by using cheap and filling pearl barley instead. Serve with a green salad as a main course or as a side to steak or chicken.

prep time
cooking time
Recipe by Christie Connelly


190g (1 cup) pearl barley

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or sunflower oil)

1 small leek, green and white parts finely sliced

1 small green capsicum, finely diced

1 carrot, grated

2 garlic cloves, finely diced

350g Swiss brown or button mushrooms, thickly sliced

2 ripe tomatoes, diced

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese if not vegan)


White Sauce:

2 tablespoons cornflour

2 tablespoons dairy free spread (or butter)

500ml Vitasoy Soy Milky Regular*

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Pinch of white pepper

*Any soymilk in the Vitasoy range can be used


  1. Rinse the pearl barley in a sieve under running water until the outer starch comes off. Place into a large saucepan and fill with cold tap water to cover the barley with a good 5cm of water. Boil over high heat for 20-30 minutes until just tender. Taste a few grains to check they are bite-tender. Drain and place into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan and add the leek and capsicum and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Then add the carrot and garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned and wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and a splash of water and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until tomatoes are softened, then mash roughly into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the vegetables into the bowl with the barley and mix to combine. Heat the oven to 180C.
  5. Make the white sauce. Melt the spread or butter in a small saucepan. Add the cornflour and quickly whisk to form a smooth paste. Gradually pour in the soy milk, constantly whisking, for 5 minutes or so until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in the mustard and white pepper.
  6. Pour the white sauce into the bowl with the barley and vegetables and mix to combine. Then pour into a 2L, ovenproof casserole dish and sprinkle with nutritional yeast or parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes until piping hot and browned.