Barley and Spinach Mujaddara | Pushing the Wave

Barley and Spinach Mujaddara

Recipe, 24 May 2023
by L.A. Davenport
Pearl Barley Grains
Pearl Barley (국립국어원, CC BY-SA 2.0 KR, via Wikimedia Commons).
For the purists out there, look away now…. This is a take in the very loosest sense on the classic Mujaddara, which I love and have used as the starting point of many different dishes over the years.

The original uses rice instead of barley of course, and there’s no spinach. Not only that but fried onions are placed on top at the end, so this is somewhat of a departure. However, I improvised this version of that Middle Eastern classic as an accompaniment to some fresh sea bass poached in herbs, and they went together very well.

Add a fresh leafy salad on the side, and some roasted cherry tomatoes for a nice contrast.


  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3-4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 heaped tsp good quality vegetable bouillon
  • 2 tsp dried or large handful fresh parsley
  • Three large handfuls of fresh spinach, washed, or a good quality frozen equivalent
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Heat the olive oil in a heavy, flat-bottomed pan, and add the cumin. Then fry the shallots until soft and they sort to caramelise.

Stir in the lentils and barley, add the parsley, the bouillon, and five cups of water. Bring to the boil and then simmer with the lid on until almost all the liquid almost reduced. Stir in the spinach until wilted, cover again and cook down until the liquid has almost gone.

Take off the heat, season to taste and rest for five minutes before serving.

© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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Barley and Spinach Mujaddara | Pushing the Wave