Superfood – Vegetable Barley Pilaf

Today’s recipe adventure took me “down the rabbit hole” so to speak. It all started with the spices. I wanted to use a spice called Herbs de Provence. I didn’t have this spice in my cupboard so I decided to make my own. But, one of the ingredients in the mix of spices in Herbs de Provence is Savory. I couldn’t find that spice in any local store, so I had to start by making the Savory spice to add to the Herbs de Provence spice mixture. So here’s where one thing led to another thing and down the rabbit hole I went. 

I looked up what ingredients were in savory spice. I found a recipe that I liked from Whitney Wright. Here’s her recipe: Savory Spice. One spice made!

Savory spice mixture.

With the savory spice made, I was now ready to put together the ingredients for Herbs de Provence. I looked for a recipe and found several, some using similar ingredients and others using very different ingredients. That being the case, I decided to make up my own recipe which I think worked quite well. 

Herbs de Provence mixture which included savory spice as one of the ingredients.

Here’s the recipe for this Herbs de Provence:

Herbs de Provence

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  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons dried savory
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 4 teaspoons dried parsley


  1. Mix together and store in air tight container.


Calories: 75 cal
Carbohydrates: 18 g
Fat: 2 g
Sodium: 20 g
Protein: 3 g
Fiber: 11 g
Spices made, NOW I’m ready to put the Vegetable Barley Pilaf recipe together. I used Pearl Barley instead of rice for the “pilaf” because I was trying to make this dish a little more nutritious. Here’s what I found out about Pearl Barley: 

“Barley is a very healthy grain. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial plant compounds. Barley has twice the calcium and fiber and about 30 percent fewer calories. Rice and barley are essentially equivalent in protein and fat content. Although pearl barley is not a whole grain, it does have more fiber than white, brown and wild rice.” [source:]

For more about Pearl Barley, here’s another article: Pearl Barley.

The zucchini from our garden has started producing for the summer so of course, I included zucchini in the recipe. Start by frying zucchini and onions in olive oil. Then add spinach and tomatoes. 

Add pearl barley and Herbs de Provence spice.

This side dish turned out delicious. Now that I have the Herbs de Provence spice in my cupboard, I will be making it again!

While I enjoyed the challenge of making up the spices included in this recipe, I realize you may not. So if you don’t want to make your own spices, you can find them on Amazon at Savory Spice and Herbs de Provence Spice.

Vegetable Barley Pilaf
Serves 4
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  1. 1 1/2 cups zucchini, halved and sliced
  2. ½ cup onion, chopped
  3. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  4. 2 cups fresh spinach
  5. 1 cup tomatoes, diced
  6. ½ teaspoon herbs de Provence, crushed
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  9. 1 1/2 cups pearl barley, cooked
  10. 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated
  1. Cook Pearl Barley according to package directions. It takes about 45 minutes so start cooking first so that it is done about the time you want to add it to the rest of the ingredients.
  2. In a large frypan cook zucchini, and onion in olive oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until tender and lightly browned, stirring often.
  3. Stir in spinach, tomatoes, Herbes de Provence, salt, and black pepper; cook until spinach wilts. Stir in hot cooked pearl barley.
  4. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over mixture.
Christina's Food And Travel
If you like barley, here is another recipe you may like to try: A grainy experience: Barley & Edamame salad.  

And if you are interested in making more of your own spices, here’s a chart I found from Women’s Health Magazine with other spice blends you can make. 

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