Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin

Bean and Barley Veggie Chili

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This bean and barley veggie chili is perfect for cooler evenings, Meatless Mondays, and school lunches. No barley? Try quinoa or farro.

Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin

Hi friends! So I was intending to save this recipe for October, but I decided that it’s so good it has to be shared before then. Plus it’s perfect for back to school lunches, just make sure you cook up enough to have leftovers!

Patience and Persistence

This is not a new recipe, in fact, I’ve been making it for over 10 years now, but it wasn’t until this past year that one of my kids started loving it. My older son, who is now 13, never wanted to touch a bean but motivated to eat more vegetarian meals and his love for all things Tex-Mex, he decided to give this a go.

It has now become one of his absolute favorite dinners, right up there with Panko-Crusted Cod Nuggets, Beef and Kale Tacos, and Turkey Bolognese. And now that he realizes beans aren’t so bad, he has started adding them to burritos and tacos too!

Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin

Learning to Like it

His younger brother is still not so sure about beans or chili. He usually tastes a few bites, carefully avoiding the beans, but relies on the sides to fill him up. The sides that I might put out for this dinner include tortilla chips, tortilla wedges, guacamole or sliced avocado, shredded cheese, sliced red bell peppers, sliced carrots, and milk. Sometimes I skip the chips and serve it with cheese quesadilla wedges instead.

Picky Eating Tip: Serve your family less preferred foods alongside liked foods, for example, bean chili and cheese quesadillas. Share on X

Spotlight on Barley

Barley is one of those grains that is often overlooked. With a slightly nutty taste and chewy consistency, barley is versatile and well-suited for everything from soups to salads. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

There are two main types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Like most plant foods, barley has both.

  • Insoluble fiber is great for adding bulk to stools and preventing constipation.
  • Soluble fiber is a prebiotic, meaning it serves as food for the healthy bacteria in the gut (the probiotics) and is good for gut health. Soluble fiber also slows digestion and the release of glucose into the bloodstream, helping to keep you full longer and stabilize blood sugar levels. The type of soluble fiber in barley is called beta-glucan. Beta-glucans, also found in oats, have been shown to lower bad cholesterol levels when consumed regularly.

For this recipe, I used the 365 brand Italian barley, which is different from hulled barley.

Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin

Versatile Chili

Chili, like most soups and stews, is incredibly versatile and forgiving. Don’t be shy about substituting ingredients based on what you have on hand or family preferences. You may recognize similarities between this recipe and the Slow Cooker Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili. That’s because they both were born out of the same base recipe from Cooking Light. Both are delicious, but my older son prefers this Bean and Barley Veggie Chili.

Now let’s get cooking! Also, don’t forget to tag @halsanutrition on social media if you make this.

Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin

Bean and Barley Veggie Chili

This bean and barley veggie chili is both nourishing and satisfying. It's perfect for Meatless Monday, Tex-Mex Tuesday, school lunches, game-nights, and cozy, cool-weather evenings. Be sure to use quick-cooking barley, it will say either pearl or Italian. This recipe freezes well, so make extra for lunch or the freezer.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine Tex-Mex, Vegetarian
Servings 6


  • 1 tablespoon avocado or grapeseed oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (or try 1-2 chopped carrots)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, no salt added want to turn up the heat? look for diced tomatoes with chopped chili
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained want extra beans? add another can, but be sure to add another cup of stock or water too!
  • 16 ounces vegetable stock, low sodium try homemade veggie stock or get the benefits of collagen with homemade chicken stock if not vegetarian
  • 2/3 cup barley pearl, Italian, or quick-cooking OR substitute quinoa or farro


  • Heat oil in a Dutch Oven or heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, and celery and saute for about 3 minutes, until onions are softened and fragrant. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Turn down the heat to medium-low and stir in the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Next add the diced tomatoes, black beans, veggie stock, and barley. Turn heat to high and stir. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat, cover with a lid, and continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Add water or additional stock if needed.
  • Serve with side suggestions and enjoy! Refrigerate or freeze leftovers in air-tight containers.


Side Suggestions (the fun part!)
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime wedges
  • Grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • Sour cream, crème fraîche, or plain Greek yogurt
  • Sliced avocado or guacamole
  • Tortilla chips 
  • Tortilla wedges
  • Quesadilla wedges
  • Sliced bell peppers
  • Sliced carrot sticks
Keyword chili, beans, barley, dairy-free

Bean and Barley Veggie ChiliPin


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