This Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage started off as a pantry meal.

Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage

I keep track of what my Savour meal planners have in their pantries as we’ve cooked together over time. I want to make sure that I don’t tell them to buy ingredients they’ll never use again, for one. For another, it’s inspirational to look back at some of what they (and I) have bought and think about how we might use those items in an unpredictable way.

I’m awful fond of barley. It’s nutritious, chewy, and flavorful. I love cooking it in broth and tasting the flavors it absorbs. It’s a great bringer-together of other things to form healthy, hearty meals. I, and my meal planners, keep it in stock.

Earlier this month, I was looking through our pantries and feeling the desperate need for comfort food.

I volunteer in animal rescue, and over the years I have collected a crew of amazing and somewhat special needs animals. My senior cat passed away at the end of June after a long journey with lymphoma. At the same time, likely exacerbated by the stress of their elder’s death, two of my other animals developed very serious and acute illnesses. They have since turned the corner and are both making full recoveries, but for a little while it was touch and go.

Y’all, I have a full-time job, an online business, and a volunteer gig I care about deeply. I was spending every second I wasn’t working hand-feeding, giving medicines, or administering fluids. I was down to the bone scared, but I didn’t want to let my meal planners feel any of that. I wanted them to feel nourished. *I* wanted to feel nourished.

And so, this bowl was born.

close up of Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage

The barley is lightly seasoned with chicken broth, garlic, and thyme as it cooks, then combined with sweet dried apples, another pantry staple.

Chunks of spinach and feta chicken sausage add savoury flavor as well as textural difference to each bite. I’m a big texture person when I eat. I like food to feel good in my mouth.

Crisp fresh spinach leaves added just before eating lighten everything up.

For a week, this Apple Barley Bowl became my everything.

I made extra and lived off the leftovers before even considering eating anything else. This is one of those recipes that just gets better the longer the flavors have to meld together.

The third time I ate it, I fried an egg and stuck that on top. Oh, that was good. I did it again the next day.

This bowl is easy peasy, and it’s good for dinner. It’s good for breakfast. It’s good to make ahead. It’s whole grain and whole-self food. It’ll fill you up and comfort your soul. Be well, friends. Be well.

Print Recipe
Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage
Dried apples and chunks of spinach and feta chicken sausage adds savoury flavor as well as textural difference to each bite of this nutritious barley bowl.
close up of Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Passive Time 40 minutes
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
close up of Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized pan with a tight-fitting lid, mix together one cup barley, 3 cups water or chicken broth, 1/2 tsp. table salt, 1/2 tsp. thyme, and 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until barley is chewy in texture.
  2. Drain barley and set aside.
  3. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 tsp. olive oil to the same pan and return to heat. Add 9 oz. sausage links and cook until warmed through. Drain water.
  4. Add 1 tsp. olive oil to pan and return to heat.
  5. Slice sausages into bite-sized slices and return to pan to crisp the skins.
  6. In a large bowl, combine cooked barley, sliced sausage, 1 cup dried apples, and 1-2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and stir well.
  7. OPTIONAL: If you crave a little extra, fry an egg and place that on top of the bowl.
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Recipe Notes

The sausage I prefer for this recipe is Kirkwood Never Any Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage from Aldi.

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Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage
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