Christina Clark 10 min. 50 min.

Bean and Barley Burritos copy
This recipe is sort of a serendipitous accident. I made a bean quesadilla recipe and doubled it to freeze for another meal. Then I made a burrito recipe in the crock pot, and it made WAY more than I expected. So one day when I was short on time, I simply mixed the leftovers together and served it in tortillas. The result was delicious! I had been meaning to take dinner to a friend of mine, so I just delivered the rest to her house. And then she asked for the recipe . . . which didn’t exist. So I created the recipe (modified for easier preparation), and here it is, in all its unintentional glory.

This meal does have a longer preparation time, simply because barley requires an hour to cook. But I think the result is worth it, because the combination of barley and beans makes it such a filling meal! I chose to mix in the cheese instead of serve it on the side for two reasons: first, it means you don’t use up all your cheese in the first few burritos and then have to grate more, which happens to me frequently. Second, mixing it all together makes for REALLY easy lunch preparation. You could make this ahead of time (even in the crock pot – just cook on low for 4 hours), and then take a container of filling with a tortilla. Warm it up, roll it up, and your lunch is ready to go!

If someone in your family cannot have cheese, or if you are seeking to make this vegan, just leave out the cheese (and obviously don’t serve with sour cream) or serve it on the side for those who want it.

Barley and Bean Burritos

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup uncooked pearl barley
1/2 red onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp olive oil
1 can pinto beans, or 1-3/4 cups cooked beans
1 can diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Flour tortillas
Sour cream (optional)


Chop the onion; then smash, peel, and mince the garlic. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Saute onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Then add water, broth, barley, tomatoes (undrained), lime juice, and seasonings (through red pepper flakes). Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, drain and rinse the beans. Remove corn from the freezer and thaw. Chop cilantro and lettuce, and grate cheese. Warm the tortillas if desired (cover with a damp towel and microwave for 30 seconds). After 40 minutes, add in the beans and corn, and check the barley. Add a little more water if needed. Cook for 10 more minutes, or as needed until the barley is tender. Stir in the cilantro and the shredded cheese. Serve in tortillas with lettuce and sour cream if desired.

Barley and Bean Burritos copy

Inspired by these Black Bean Quesadillas and these Barley and Corn Burritos