Barley Hotdish

This is truly a unique recipe that I have not seen anywhere else other than a Midwestern family potluck or my mom’s kitchen table back in the day. The original base recipe is from my aunt Joyce. Honestly, I don’t ever remember having it anywhere but at home, but I am sure I have had it at many church basement potlucks growing up! I have added quite a few ingredients to the base recipe to jazz it up to my liking. The best way to describe this is maybe an Italian twist on tater tot hotdish? But not really…because hot dish is not Italian and neither is barley…and there are no tots in this sooo…maybe a tomato beef stew? You be the judge!

This is a comfort food change up if you’re looking for something other than the standard chicken and rice hotdish. Something new the whole family will enjoy! Pair with some toast, flaky biscuits, or crescent rolls, yum!

Barley Hotdish

Servings 6
Author Laura Doerr


  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup carrots diced
  • 1 cup barley (quick cooking kind)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 can cream of celery, fat free
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes half drained
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • plenty black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese grated


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9x13 (or slightly smaller) baking dish.

  2. Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Stir in 1 cup quick cooking barley, turn down to low and cover stirring occasionally so it does not boil over. Cook for about 5 minutes, it will continue to cook while baking. Similar to minute rice, the barley will keep absorbing liquid the longer it sits.

  3. Meanwhile in a large skillet, cook chopped carrots and onions with olive oil over medium heat, about 5-6 minutes or until vegetables soften, season with salt and pepper. Add in ground beef and garlic, cook until beef is browned and cooked through. Drain if necessary. 

  4. Stir in tomato and cream of celery soups, diced tomatoes, and peas. Season with onion and garlic powder, seasoned salt, 1 tablespoon of grated parm, and pepper. Stir in the cooked barley. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper to taste if needed.

  5. Transfer to greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, sprinkle hot dish with remaining 3 tablespoons of grated parm, and turn broiler on. Broil for a couple minutes until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven.

  6. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, and serve with extra parm if desired. Great with toast, biscuits, or crescent rolls!

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