3 tsp chicken bouillon granules (for vegetarian version, see note in Step 1)
1 small red onion, chopped (or 1/4-1/2 cup chopped onion)
3 or 4 portabella mushroom caps, chopped (I use 3)
2 heaping tsp garlic, minced (I use the kind from the jar)
3/4 cup pearl barley (not quick cooking)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Additional 1/2 cup water
garlic salt, to taste
2 tsp lemon zest (I don't recommend using any more of this than called for)
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
Plain, fat-free yogurt (optional, use as topping when serving)
Boil 3 cups water. Remove from heat, add chicken bouillon granules. Keep covered if possible. (NOTE: If you don't have bouillon granules, substitute 3 cups of canned fat-free chicken broth for the 3 cups of water and the bouillon granules.)
*** To make vegetarian version, use 3 cups of vegetable broth. ***
In the meantime, in a hot, non-stick skillet cook the barley for 2 to 5 minutes, until it starts to brown (might have to cook it a little longer). Remove barley to a bowl. Pour the olive oil into skillet. Cook onions and mushrooms, stirring frequently, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add barley and sprinkle liberally with garlic salt. Cook for 2 to 5 minutes. Add the additional 1/2 cup water and stir. Cook uncovered until water has been absorbed (won't take long).
Stir in the 3 cups of chicken broth. Cover and simmer for about 50 minutes, or until barley is soft (might need an extra 5 minutes or so of simmering). Stir in the lemon zest and parsley.
Serve immediately. I like topping mine with a large spoonful of plain, fat-free yogurt. I stir it into my bowl a little and it helps balance the taste of the lemon and parsley. Really delicious flavors when cooked together this way.
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