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Jan 04

Barley Beef Skillet

Take my advice, stop what you’re doing and make this right now. Seriously. I saw this recipe in Taste of Home’s Dec/Jan 2011 issue of their Healthy Cooking magazine. It looked really good so I decided to try it, and now I can’t wait to make the other recipes I had bookmarked from that issue! If any of them are nearly as good as this one I will have found a new favorite recipe source. The serving size for this is huge (which is good because if you’re like me you won’t want to stop eating it) and very filling. I also like that you can get in meat, veggies and whole grains all in one dish!



Barley Beef Skillet

Yield: 4 (1-½ c) servings


  • 1 pound 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Beef Broth
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  1. I put my carrots and zucchini in my food processor to finely chop them and I liked the results so I recommend doing that first. I did chop the tomatoes and onions by hand with my awesome new Paula Deen knives (thanks Santa!)
  2. Bring a large skillet to medium heat and cook ground beef and onion together, breaking up meat until it is browned. Drain if necessary (it was for me). Add minced garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the broth, tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the vegetables, barley and seasonings.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45-50 minutes until barley is tender.

Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoints:
8 per serving (SP calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Weight Watchers Points Plus:
9 per serving (P+ calculated using the recipe builder on weightwatchers.com)

Nutrition Information:
382 calories, 7 g fat, 49 g carbs, 32 g protein (from myfitnesspal.com)

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home

26 comments on “Barley Beef Skillet”

  1. super yummy! i had to add extra water and cook it longer before the barley i bought was not chewy, but that’s part of the variability with grains like this 🙂

  2. My DH, being a Campbell’s employee, insists this would be better with Swanson broth instead of Progresso. 😉

  3. This was really tasty! I subbed mushrooms and bell pepper for the zucchini and 93% ground turkey for the beef. My husband told me several times how much he liked it and my uber picky 2 year old ate it; both are rare occurrences! I also served along side a large salad so only 1 cup servings with my adjustments were 7 points+. Definitely will make again, thanks! 🙂

  4. I made this last night and it was great! I didnt have barley on hand, but I had a ton of pre-cooked brown rice so I did some math…1 cup uncooked barley=3 cups cooked=3 cups cooked brown rice. I added the rice a little after the veggies and didnt add the water. I just let the rice heat up and bit and it turned this into a quick 15 min meal for the same PP value!!!

  5. It looked tasty and easy so I gave it a try for dinner. Delicious!

  6. This is a great recipe! Made it tonight, added mushrooms (just because we like them) and wow. It is not just tasty, it is so filling too! Hubby (also doing WW) loved it too, especially the filling “stick-to-your-ribs” quality. Thanks so much! Going to try next time with Mexican-type seasonings instead, think that would be a good variation too.

    • I’m happy you loved this dish! Mushrooms sound like a great add-in. Let me know how it turns out with a Mexican twist! Great idea 🙂

    • I’ve now made this again and instead of using Italian seasoning I used some cumin and chili powder – it was delicious!

  7. this looks delicious — but do you know the fiber grams…. as I am doing the old point system… and need the fiber count to calculate my points. thanks!!

    • I started calculating the nutrition information for all my recipes at the beginning of the new year and have slowly but surely been working my way backward through my older recipes and adding it. It’s time consuming since I have so many recipes, so I haven’t gotten through all of them yet. I use the recipe calculator on myfitnesspal.com to figure out the nutrition information, so if you want it before I get to this recipe, feel free to plus in the ingredients there and figure it out!

  8. Hi Emily,

    I made this dish last night. It was the perfect stick to your ribs comfort food while eating healthy that I was looking for. Thank you very much, my whole family enjoyed it.


  9. Planning on making this this week – can’t wait! Wondering if you know the fiber grams per serving – it’s not listed above. TIA!

  10. I loved this recipe too!
    So far every recipe of yours I have tried have been home run hits.
    I did add a can of petite diced tomatoes instead of the fresh, just because I had no fresh and a few splashed of Worchestire sauce because it seemed to go with it and I always put it in my beef recipes.
    my son even ate some and he doesnt usually try anything 🙂
    thanks for the great recipe

  11. This was so good. My husband and my 1-year-old loved it!

  12. I made this last night, Amazing! I didn’t change anything!

  13. Ate this last night, Delightful!!! And totally filling! 🙂

  14. could i use rice instead and get the same result?

  15. I made this last night, not changing a thing. It was absolutely wonderful. The whole family liked it, which is rare! Thank you so much for posting!

  16. I found your site recently, hoping to start the New Year eating and cooking more healthy. Beef Barley is one of my favorite soups so I thought I would give this recipe a try. Love it, so easy and tasty. THANKS

  17. Hi there! Love all your recipes! Are you going to update this one with the Smart Points? I just found it in my cook book and had made it a while back and LOVED it and had forgotten about it.

    • I have been meaning to! I love this one too. There are still a few of my oldest posts I haven’t updated yet (oops). I just got back from vacation and am trying to get caught up on everything, but I will put this on my to do list to do next. Thank you!

  18. This is a family favourite of ours! Its so good. has anyone tried to adapt this for the Instant pot?

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