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Baked Green Barley and Kale
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5 from 1 vote

Baked Green Barley and Kale with Lemon Tahini Sauce

Chewy tender barley, colored green with garlicky kale, baked in a casserole dish or in individual ramekins, like shown in the recipe. Served with a creamy tahini lemon sauce.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barley, kale, tahini sauce
Servings: 6 servings.
Calories: 361kcal


Barley and kale:

  • 1 cup pearl barley , rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 bunch kale , stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces mushrooms , sliced
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups hot vegetable broth
  • 1 or 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated white Cheddar cheese
  • Parsley or lemon slices , for garnish

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ cup hot water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • Pinch cayenne pepper


  • Bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add the barley and salt; reduce the heat and cook, uncovered, until the barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, cook the kale in boiling salted water until it is tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain, saving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. In a food processor, puree the drained kale with the water until smooth.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat six individual molds lightly with oil.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium-high flame. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden brown and there is no liquid left in the skillet, about 10 minutes. Remove six browned mushroom slices from the pan and place one slice in the bottom of each cup.
  • Over medium flame, stir the flour into the browned mushrooms, and cook a few minutes to make a roux. Slowly add the vegetable broth, whisking until the liquid thickens a bit. Stir in the garlic, lemon zest and parsley.
  • Mix the barley, pureed kale and the cheese into the mushroom sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into the cups. (see note) Bake about 30 minutes, or until the edges are just browned.

While the barley cups bake, prepare the sauce:

  • Whisk tahini with the hot water until smooth. Whisk in lemon juice, garlic, salt and cayenne. Taste, and add more seasoning if needed.

To serve:

  • Out of the oven, let the ramekins cool 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges and invert onto plates. Serve with the sauce, garnished with parsley leaves or thin lemon slices.


  • You don't have to use individual molds. To make this recipe easier, bake your green barley and kale in one casserole dish.
  • The lemon tahini sauce thickens as it stands. Thin with more water as needed.


Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 710mg | Potassium: 526mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 4728IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 173mg | Iron: 3mg