Cheesy Stove-Top Barley and Swiss Chard

cheesy stove-top barley and swiss chard served with fresh basil
Photo: Nico Schinco
Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
50 mins

When barley is prepared risotto-style, it comes out just as creamy as the original but with lots more filling fiber. Here, we add handfuls of sliced Swiss chard and shiitake mushrooms for an extra boost of nutrients. And because healthy food can be delicious too, a little cheese for creaminess and diced tomatoes for brightness make this a well-rounded meal for fall and winter.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cups chopped shiitake-mushroom caps (5 ounces)

  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, stems thinly sliced (1 ¼ cups), leaves chopped (about 5 cups)

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 2 cloves)

  • 1 cup pearled barley

  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes

  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated (½ cup)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or red-wine vinegar

  • 3 ounces Gruyère or white cheddar, grated (1 cup)

  • Fresh basil leaves, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a large straight-sided skillet or braiser over medium-high. Add mushrooms and chard stems; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add barley and cook, stirring, until toasted, about 1 minute.

  2. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and creamy, 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Stir in chard leaves, Parmigiano, and lemon juice; cover and cook, stirring once, until chard is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Season, top with Gruyère, cover, and heat until melted, 2 minutes. Serve with basil.

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