Please think of the trees before you print this page. looks great on mobile devices too!

Viewing this page on an iPad? Rotate the screen to switch to kitchen mode.

Barley with Green Asparagus and Spinach

Barley with Green Asparagus and Spinach

This sort of recipe is what most people imagine when they think vegan. Only they also think it’s boring, tasteless, and lacking ‘something’ nutritional. But here at, we don’t do boring and we certainly stay clear of tasteless. Our barley with green asparagus and spinach packs a punch, and I’m so excited to share it with you! 

Food is an extremely important part of our lives – it gives us the fuel to keep going! Most of love food and love to eat. In fact, a good portion of us take pictures of our food to show people we are eating amazing food (you can laugh, but you know you have done it at least once). But food can also be stressful. All of the importance around getting a balanced diet and making sure we eat right, it can become very overwhelming. So recently I have been focusing on making recipes that are balanced dishes to help take the stress out of your life. And this is one of those meals. 

green asparagus on a chopping board portrait

Let’s take a look at what makes this dish so amazing.

In the spirit of keeping things less stressful, I have made this as easy as possible to make. All you are going to need is 9 ingredients and 30 minutes. Don’t let the time fool you, most of this is just for cooking the barely.

barley in a bowl on a chopping board portrait

We start of this delightful little dish with, you guessed it, barely. Barely is a great source of dietary fibre and manganese, while also having a good level of copper and vitamin B1. Not to forget, it has an amazing nutty flavour and gives us a chewy texture throughout. 

You then add in some asparagus, garlic, and spinach. Together, the ingredients offer us a protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, iron, and folate (just to name a few). To top it off, we add some salt, pepper, and almonds for taste. And BOOM! You’re all done.

green asparagus in a pot with minced garlic portrait

The barley with green asparagus and spinach recipe is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner because it’s: 

  • Well balanced in taste and nutrition. 
  • A great source of protein – 12g per serve
  • Moderate calories – only 301 per serve
  • A great source of fibre – 13g per serve.

As with most foods, this dish is best served hot, straight after cooking. However, if you need to store any left overs or prepared lunch, you can do so by using an airtight container and placing it in the fridge. Please, DO NOT store this for any longer than 24 hours (unless freezing your meal). Barely, like rice, can cause sickness if left for long periods of time and then re-heated. 

So, what are you waiting for? Go get cooking! 

Liked this recipe? Why not check out our Black Rice with Coconut Milk and Spicy Chickpeas for more lunch and dinner ideas.

barley with green asparagus and spinach landscape

Prep time
5 minutes
Total time
Category: Lunch, Dinner
Serves: 4
Allergens: Gluten


For the barley

  • 1 cup barley
  • 3 cups water

For the vegetable

  • 16 oz asparagus (washed and chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 8 oz spinach (washed and chopped)

For the seeds

  • ½ cup sliced almond (roasted)

For the seasoning

  • 1 dash black pepper (ground)
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  1. Cook the barley in water until soft for about 30 minutes.
  2. Boil the chopped asparagus for about 3-5 minutes in water until it's still a bit crunchy.
  3. Preheat a big skillet and roast the garlic for 1 minute, then add the asparagus and fry everything four another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, barley and seasoning and stir everything well until the spinach wilts.
  5. For serving, adjust taste and sprinkle the roasted almonds on top.

Did you make this recipe? Please take a photo, share it on Instagram and tag it with #veganio. We love to see your photos.

Get Weekly Meal Plans sends weekly meal plans straight to your inbox along with grocery lists and nutritional information.

Find Out More!