Photo of Wild mushroom-barley stuffing by WW

Wild mushroom-barley stuffing

Total Time
53 min
23 min
30 min
This delicious barley stuffing is a wonderful alternative to the more standard bread versions with much less fat—and much more fiber. It's full of smoky bacon, fresh herbs, and wild mushrooms for a hearty, earthy side dish. We suggest using baby bella, oyster, and or shiitake mushrooms. We used low-in-fat Canadian bacon to replace the sausage found in typical stuffings, but feel free to omit the bacon, and swap vegetable broth for the chicken broth to make a vegetarian version. You can prepare this recipe a day in advance. When ready to serve, coat a shallow 2- to 3-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Spoon in stuffing, cover dish, and bake at 350ºF until heated through for about 30 minutes.


Table salt

2 tsp, divided

Uncooked pearl barley

1½ cup(s), pearl variety

Olive oil

2 tsp, divided


1 medium, chopped

Uncooked Canadian bacon

5 slice(s), diced


2 small, diced


1 pound(s), fresh, assorted wild-varieties, sliced*

Jarred minced garlic

2 tsp

Fresh thyme

2 Tbsp, fresh, chopped

Fresh sage

2 Tbsp, chopped

Black pepper

¼ tsp, freshly ground

Chicken broth

1 cup(s)

Fresh parsley

2 Tbsp, fresh, chopped


  1. Bring 8 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a large saucepan; add barley. Cover saucepan, reduce heat and simmer barley until tender, about 30 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick stockpot over medium-high heat; add onion, bacon and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until onion is lightly browned and almost tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring often, until all vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes more.
  3. Stir in thyme, sage, pepper, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and remaining teaspoon of oil. Reduce heat to low; stir in broth to achieve desired consistency. Add cooked barley; toss to coat. Remove from heat; transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with parsley. Yields about 1 cup per serving.