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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!

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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

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

Nutrition Information:
382 calories, 7 g fat, 49 g carbs, 32 g protein (from

Slightly adapted from Taste of Home


25 Responses to “Barley Beef Skillet”

  1. #
    Anonymous — August 15, 2011 @ 3:27 am

    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. #
    FelixAndAva — September 28, 2011 @ 6:16 am

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

  3. #
    Shannon — February 13, 2012 @ 12:30 am

    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! 🙂

    • emilybites replied: — February 13th, 2012 @ 3:44 am

      I’m so glad it was a hit with the whole family!

  4. #
    Anonymous — February 16, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    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!!!

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 12:57 am

      Yum, glad it worked well with the rice! 🙂

  5. #
    mzsura — February 29, 2012 @ 1:07 am

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

    • emilybites replied: — March 1st, 2012 @ 12:56 am

      Glad it was a hit!

  6. #
    bc — March 21, 2012 @ 12:24 am

    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.

    • emilybites replied: — March 21st, 2012 @ 1:52 am

      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 🙂

    • bc replied: — April 14th, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

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

  7. #
    Judi — March 21, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    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!!

    • emilybites replied: — March 26th, 2012 @ 11:40 pm

      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 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. #
    Irene Callaghan — March 30, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    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.


    • emilybites replied: — March 30th, 2012 @ 11:06 pm

      Glad to hear it, Irene! I haven;t made this in forever and now I want to. I’m happy your family loved it 🙂

  9. #
    Anonymous — April 29, 2012 @ 12:17 am

    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. #
    Juliann — November 15, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

    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. #
    Anonymous — January 26, 2013 @ 7:54 am

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

  12. #
    Stephanie101 — January 29, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

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

  13. #
    M Breeder — December 19, 2013 @ 4:10 pm

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

  14. #
    Amy Shannon — January 16, 2014 @ 9:22 pm

    could i use rice instead and get the same result?

  15. #
    Carol Munka — February 4, 2014 @ 5:58 pm

    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. #
    Stephanie — January 28, 2015 @ 8:57 am

    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. #
    Heather Willis — August 20, 2017 @ 4:13 pm

    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.

    • Emily Bites replied: — August 23rd, 2017 @ 2:42 pm

      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!

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