top down view of vegan barley bowl.

Healthy Barley bowl with roasted butternut squash, beans and spinach is a bowl full of simple goodness! Change up the beans and grain to suit your taste.


  • 1 cup dried pearl barley
  • 2 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 small butternut squash (about 2 1/2 cups), diced
  • 1/2 small onion, sliced
  • 1 can (15 oz.) great northern or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 23 handfuls baby spinach
  • generous dash of garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
  • mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • avocado, to serve


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cook grain: In a medium size pot add barley, a pinch of salt and water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove cover and let set 5 – 10 minutes, fluff with a fork. Drain any remaining liquids. If using quick cooking barley, follow package instructions making 4 servings (1 cup barley + 1 1/3 cup veg broth).

Roast squash: While your barley is simmering, prepare your butternut squash by cubing into 3/4 – 1 inch pieces. Place on roasting pan lined with parchment paper, a silpat or lightly greased. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with the thyme and salt. Place on middle rake for 25 – 30 min, stirring once. Squash is ready when fork pierces easily.

Beans: In a medium size pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat, add onions and cook about 5 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted (using a cover will help wilt the spinach faster), add beans and a dash or two of garlic powder, cook until heated through.

Serve: In individual bowls, add a portion of barley, beans and butternut squash. Add a side of sliced avocado.

Serve with avocado and season to taste with salt & pepper.

Serves 3


Switch up the butternut squash with sweet potato.

If you like this bowl, but prefer gluten free options you can sub with brown rice or quinoa.

Just about any bean will work here, use your favorite or what you have on hand.

Other herbs to use are rosemary or sage.

Nutritional values are estimates only. See our full nutrition disclosure here.