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Barley Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers are delicious with a variety of fillings and this version includes barley in the filling, adding flavor and texture! Once the barley is cooked and the peppers are stuffed, this meal bakes in the oven for 30 minutes, giving a busy parent some hands-off time before the meal is ready.


1 1⁄2 c barley
4 1⁄2 c water
1⁄2 lb Italian sausage (lean, ground - can substitute turkey or beef)
1 onion (diced)
1 t oregano (dried leaves)
15 oz spaghetti sauce (canned)
1 c mozzarella cheese (shredded)
4 bell pepper (red or green)

Yield amount

8 Servings

Preparation time

5 minutes

Cooking time

1 hour, 50 minutes

Total time

1 hour, 55 minutes


  1. Wash hands and then rinse bell peppers before getting started.
  2. Add barley and water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes or until barley is soft and water is absorbed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Sauté ground meat and onion in a large skillet over medium heat until browned. Pour off any excess fat.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and stir in oregano, spaghetti sauce, cooked barley, and ½ cup cheese.
  6. Cut the tops off the peppers and slice in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Arrange in a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  7. Scoop even amounts of barley mixture into peppers, mounding on the top.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of cheese on the tops of the stuffed peppers. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes.


You can replace the sausage with 1 can of beans (drained and rinsed) or tofu for a vegetarian version.

You can also use other whole grains in place of barley, like brown rice or quinoa. It may be helpful to review the cooking time on the grain package though since different grains have different cooking times.

Equipment you’ll need:

  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large pot with lid
  • Large skillet
  • 9x13 inch baking dish
  • Mixing spoon
  • Foil
  • Bowl
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