Barley Jambalaya

Source: Cooking Matters

Serving size: 1 ¼ cups (302g)

Servings per recipe: 6 servings

This traditional Louisiana Creole dish is nutritious and delicious! Spice it up by adding extra cayenne pepper!

View Nutrition Facts


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
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Can opener, colander, cutting board and knife, measuring cups and spoons, large pot with lid, medium pot with lid, mixing spoon


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 turkey is cooked through, 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 blend flavors, about 5–10 minutes more.
11. Remove bay leaves and serve.


To save time, cook barley up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate until ready to use. Add to pot in step 10.

If instant barley is not available, use regular pearl barley. Cook following package instructions, about 45 minutes.

When doubling this recipe, do not double cayenne pepper unless you prefer a very spicy dish.

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.

Use brown rice instead of barley, if you like. Cook rice following package instructions. Add cooked rice in place of barley in step 10.

More About Bell Peppers

How to Select

Choose peppers that are brightly colored and firm with tight skin. Avoid dull or shriveled peppers.

How to Store

Refrigerate bell peppers and use within 5 days. To freeze, remove seeds, cut, and store in plastic bags.

How to Prepare

Rinse in cold water. Peppers can be eaten raw, grilled, baked or sauteed. Add them to pizzas, scrambled eggs or salads. Stuff and bake them for a delicious meal!