Yield: 6, 1¼ cups per serving


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 2 medium celery stalks
  • 1 medium green bell pepper
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • 4 ounces turkey ham
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 (14½ ounce) cans diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Place barley in a colander and rinse under cold water. Bring water, bay leaves, and barley to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to low, cover saucepan and cook barley until tender and water is absorbed, about 45 minutes. Place barley in a colander, draining any excess water, and set aside.
  3. Rinse celery and green pepper. Peel onions and garlic and rinse onions.
  4. Dice onions, celery, and green pepper and mince garlic.
  5. Dice turkey ham into 1⁄4-inch pieces.
  6. Add oil to large soup pot and heat over medium-high heat.
  7. Add meat, onions, celery, peppers, and garlic to the soup pot. Mix well.
  8. Sauté 5-10 minutes, scraping bottom of pan periodically.
  9. Add tomatoes. Turn heat to high and bring to boil.
  10. Add the 4 spices and stir to combine.
  11. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  12. Add cooked barley to the meat and vegetable mixture, stir to combine. Add more liquid, if necessary.
  13. Cook over low heat for an additional 5-10 minutes to blend flavors together.
  14. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Notes: Try ham, turkey, or turkey sausage instead of the turkey ham. Substitute brown rice for the barley, if you like. Cook rice according to package instructions. Add cooked rice to jambalaya in step 12.To save time, the barley can be cooked up to two days in advance, refrigerated, and then added to the soup pot in step 12

Recipe provided by: Chef Sarah McKay – Detroit, Mich.

Courtesy of Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters


Recipe By: Cooking Matters Colorado