Photo of Barley and roasted vegetable pilaf by WW

Barley and roasted vegetable pilaf

Total Time
58 min
23 min
35 min
Aromatic, warm spices like cinnamon and cumin mixed with the sweetness of dried fruit and nuts give this sweet-and-savory pilaf its hit of Moroccan flavor. Serve it with baby bone-in lamb chops or grilled, flavored tempeh for a delicious, vegetarian meal. Leftover pilaf can be retooled in myriad ways. It is delicious spooned into hollowed-out sweet bell peppers and baked as a delicious dinnertime side dish. Try it reheated and topped with a fried egg for a savory whole-grain breakfast. Make lean ground meat go farther by mixing it with leftover pilaf before forming into meatballs to cook. The meatballs are great atop spiralized vegetables or dropped in a steaming bowl of vegetable broth.


Table salt

1¼ tsp, divided

Uncooked pearl barley

1 cup(s)

Cooking spray

1 spray(s)

Uncooked butternut squash

2 cup(s), cubed, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks

Uncooked turnip

2 cup(s), cubed, peeled, cut into 1-inch chunks


1 medium, red, cut into 8 wedges

Olive oil

2 tsp

Cayenne pepper


Dried currants

2 Tbsp

Ground cumin

½ tsp

Ground cinnamon



6 Tbsp, natural, chopped and toasted


  1. Bring 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add barley, cover and simmer until tender, about 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and coat foil with cooking spray.
  3. Place squash, turnips and onion on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Roast, tossing vegetables once or twice, until lightly charred and tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  4. Drain barley and return to pot. Stir in currants, cumin, cinnamon and roasted vegetables. Toss with almonds just before serving. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


This recipe can be kept for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.