Portobello mushrooms and barley over mesclun

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
47 min
14 min
33 min
This warm salad takes advantage of the restaurant technique of reducing balsamic vinegar with brown sugar to a thick syrup to help intensify its flavor. It’s great for coating these portobello mushrooms and creating a rich dressing, which also features olive oil, shallots, salt, and pepper. You'll find yourself using this method over and over again with balsamic vinegar as the taste and consistency are irresistible and can complement a variety of dishes. You should try drizzling the reduced balsamic vinegar decoratively on dinner plates around chicken or pork chops, spooning a bit of it over fresh fruit, or whisking it into a favorite salad dressing.


Balsamic vinegar

½ cup(s)

Packed brown sugar

1½ tsp

Olive oil

1 Tbsp, extra-virgin

Uncooked shallot(s)

1 Tbsp, finely chopped

Table salt

½ tsp

Black pepper

tsp, freshly ground

Portobello mushroom(s)

12 oz, stems discarded, caps wiped clean

Uncooked pearl barley

½ cup(s), quick-cooking

Uncooked carrot(s)

¼ cup(s), chopped

Fresh mixed greens

6 oz, or 4 cups of mesclun


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line the broiler pan with heavy-duty foil.
  2. To make the dressing, bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan; boil until it is reduced to 3 tablespoons, 4–5 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the oil, shallot, salt, and pepper.
  3. Scrape away the black “gills” from the underside of the mushroom caps with the tip of a small spoon; discard. Place the mushrooms, rounded-side up, in the broiler pan. Brush the tops of the mushrooms with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Bake 15 minutes. Cover the mushrooms with a foil tent and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the barley according to package directions, adding the carrot during the last 3 minutes of cooking time; drain.
  5. Slice the mushrooms and toss with the barley and 2 tablespoons of the dressing in a bowl. Toss the mesclun with the remaining 1–2 tablespoons dressing and divide between 2 plates. Spoon the mushroom mixture on top of the salad and serve. Yields 2 1/3 cups barley mixture and 11/2 cups salad per serving.