Apple Walnut Barley Stuffing

Bread stuffing is traditional for Thanksgiving, but I like to switch it up and use grain for stuffing.  Wild rice is delicious, but if you have never tried barley stuffing, it is just as wonderful!  Pearled barley cooks up faster than wild rice, so you spend less time cooking.  I pair the barley with apples, crunchy walnuts and cranberries in this recipe and it goes perfect with any type of protein for a hearty side dish, or stuffed into something like squash.  Also, it is much healthier than traditional stuffing with much less fat, no animal products and more fiber.  So if you are looking to change up your stuffing game, give this a try!

Author: Amy Lyons O’Neil

Amy has worked for Fresh and Natural Foods since 2006 contributing to the variety of healthful foods we offer. She graduated with a degree in studio art from Bethel University in 2007, but in her senior year of college, found that her passion was with the art of food. She later used her photography and culinary skills to create a vegan food and recipe blog, Fragrant Vanilla Cake. She has also written 3 cookbooks. She specializes in vegan and vegetarian recipes. Local, fresh and organic food has always been her focus in whatever she creates.



  1. Add the pearled barley to a large pot, and add the stock and just enough water to cover by several inches.  Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for about 35-40 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat about 2 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat, and add the onions, celery, garlic, and thyme and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the apples and continue to cook until they are tender as well. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Once the barley is finished cooking, drain and add to the veggies in the pan.  Add the walnuts and stir to combine.
  4. Spoon onto a serving plate, and enjoy!


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Recipe Type

  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Heart Healthy
  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian

Course Type

  • Side Dish

Skill Level

  • Beginner
  • Easy