Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Cindy Barr 
Hands-on Time
35 Mins
Total Time
1 Hour 5 Mins
Serves 8 (serving size: about 1 cup)

Very few things embody comfort food like this hearty, warming Mushroom & Bacon Casserole.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Step 2

Bring stock and 3 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan (do not boil). Keep mixture warm.

Step 3

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in pan; set bacon aside. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, and garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add mushrooms and salt; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in barley; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add Madeira; cook 1 minute or until liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in 2 cups broth mixture; cook 4 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 30 minutes total). Stir in 2 ounces Gruyère, tomatoes, soy sauce, pepper, spinach, and bacon. Place barley mixture in a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Remove foil, and bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Let stand 5 minutes.

Chef's Notes

MyRecipes is working with Let's Move!, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA's MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit

Ratings & Reviews

September 21, 2016
Would you be able to quinoa instead of barley ?

Time is way off

June 03, 2017
In the cooking light book where this appears it hilariously says 45 min to prepare.. beginning to end it's a two hour process. That's not including cleanup. It's a fine casserole, but money and time are way underestimated. Would never make again.

Good but it does take awhile

October 24, 2018
Basically it's a risotto-ized barley casserole. We loved it. It did take a good chuck of time so it's not going to be your weeknight go-to, but it was perfect for a weekend dinner, and the leftovers warm up nicely. I enjoy the chew of the sun-dried tomato and the stick-to-your-ribs-ness of the barley, the umami of the mushrooms, the salt of the bacon, the ooze of the cheese, and the hit of spinach for something "healthy" :-) . We could only find QUICK pearlized barley, while the recipe calls for (I guess) regular pearlized barley. So in the making of it I compromised between this recipe and the box's recipe for liquid and timing. Timing I mostly used my own judgment, really. We're considering adding this to our Thanksgiving lineup, though I'm not sure about whether the timing makes it a good candidate. I give it 4 stars because I'm just that kind of judge - something has to REALLY knock my socks off to give it 5. So 4 is pretty damn decent. 

reneefromboston's Review

November 27, 2013
This is a wonderful recipe. I made it for Thanksgiving. It's worth the extra effort for a special occasion. Nice to have a recipe using narley.

drmeghan's Review

May 08, 2014
Really did not care for this recipe at all. It just didn't work. The flavor of the barley overwhelmed the bacon and the sun dried tomatoes, which you really just couldn't taste. We have half of it left, but not even sure we're going to eat it for leftovers. Very disappointing. And yes it is true it takes a long time to cook, but that is not the reason for the 1 star review.

Gaianna's Review

November 23, 2013
I would agree with others that this is definitely a risotto and not worth the time it took to make the recipe. The flavor in the end was overwhelmingly barley. I will not make this again.

jjk010's Review

November 11, 2013

CarrieLMB's Review

March 04, 2014
New and different recipe; very nice. DH liked addition of bacon!

mpdurfee's Review

October 10, 2013

JanetinWa2's Review

October 31, 2013
Tasty, but time consuming. A good meatless dish, just add salad to make a complete meal. I used fresh spinach, and it turned out fine.