Quick and Easy One-pot Vegan Barley Pilaf Recipe made with Pearl Barley, Green Beans, Chick peas and Carrots. It’s a quick, healthy side dish with a little spice. This recipe has me looking at barley in a whole new light. Its so easy to work with and can be flavored so easily.

I have never used Barley in a savory recipe before and I don’t know why!

This pilaf recipe turned out so delicious that its now permanently on my Saturday lunch menu! I put all the ingredients into one pot and let it cook by itself!

What I ended up with was MAGIC!

Front View of a Copper Bowl Filled to the Top with Barley Pilaf Recipe with Naan on the side

This recipe is a fusion of Indian spices and American ingredients.  They blended so well together and I just fell in love with barley all over again.

I have to admit that I have used barley in soup only and never tried to venture into experimenting with other types of meals.  It never occurred to me that I could put it into something where the barley was full frontal and the main ingredient!

To make this pilaf recipe, I put toasted the barley with other ingredients which is what I usually do in a rice pilaf like my Brussels sprouts rice pilaf.  It makes the barley very soft and practically melt in your mouth when you eat it.

Closeup View of a Copper Bowl Filled to the Top with Barley Pilaf Recipe with Naan on the side

One of the derivation of the word pilaf is from Sanskrit. Pulaka, translated, means “a ball of rice” because it was normally a giant ball of rice put on a plate.  Then, everyone would eat from that ball and it was a great bonding experience.

Barley is one of the easiest grains to cook at home. Check out this super easy guide on how to cook barley! You must bookmark it because it’s very informative.

For the Indian version, “pulau” is always made with fresh vegetables.  I like experimenting with all kinds of vegetables like corn, potatoes and even artichokes.  I also put a heavy dose of turmeric in it because I love that vibrant yellow color.  If you aren’t afraid of turmeric, then you have to try my Turmeric Smoothie Bowl.

Saffron also plays a huge part in this recipe.  It adds a nice yellow color, but, adds a nice exotic aroma to it.  If you haven’t heard me proclaim fierce proclamation for Saffron, you have to read all about it in my Saffron Yogurt Mayo recipe

Saffron also makes for a very aromatic rice recipe.

Overhead View of a Copper Bowl Filled to the Top with Barley Pilaf Recipe with Naan on the side

This recipe also uses Cardamom which is my favorite Indian spice because its so aromatic.

Now that you have tried this barley pilaf recipe, are you ready to try other savory barley recipes?

Front View of a Copper Bowl Filled ot the Top with Barley Pilaf Recipe with Naan on the side

Vegan Barley Pilaf

A simple Barley Pilaf made with fresh veggies and Indian Spices
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 38 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Indian
Servings 4 People
Calories 713 kcal



  • In a hot pan, add the oil and the cumin seeds
  • In a bowl, add the water and saffron.  Set it aside
  • Add the onions after 30 seconds, add the onions and cook until transluscent
    Onions in pan
  • Add the green beans and carrots to the pan
    green beans, carrots added to the pan
  • Add the shredded ginger and mix well
    ginger added to the pan
  • Cook for about 5 minutes before added the pearl barley
    Barley added to the pan
  • Add the Chick Peas
    Chick Peas added to the pan
  • Add the Turmeric, Cumin-coriander powder and red chili powder
    Spices added to the pan
  • Add the salt
    Salt added to the pan
  • Add the Saffron water
    Saffron added to the pan
  • Peel the Cardamom pod a little to expose the seeds in it. Put them into the pan.  See notes
    Cardamom added to the pan
  • Add the water and aquafaba to the pan
    Liquids added to the pan
  • Add the whole peppercorns
    Whole Peppercorns added to the pan
  • Close the lid and let it cook on medium heat for about 32 minutes or until all the water has dissipated. 
    Overhead view of barley pilaf completed cooking
  • Add the almonds, cashews, raisins and coriander.  Mix well before serving


– I used Cardamom with the pods because it add so much aroma. If you don’t like the pods, just use about 1.5 tsp of cardamom seeds
– Your cooking time will vary depending on the size of the pan you are using. For best results, use a 12″ or wider pan. You can also put all the ingredients after step 13 into a slow cooker and let it cook on its own for about 3 hours or until the water has dissipated


Calories: 713kcalCarbohydrates: 118gProtein: 19gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gSodium: 654mgPotassium: 957mgFiber: 23gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3305IUVitamin C: 9.2mgCalcium: 124mgIron: 8.4mg
Keyword pilaf recipes, what to make with barley
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  1. I use California raisins because they are grown right up the road from us here in Fresno! 😀 True story!! But let’s talk about this pilaf. I love the vibrant color from the tumeric and can only imagine how deliciously it’s flavored with the saffron! Thank you for another amazing recipe, can’t wait to try this one!