1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 pound mushrooms (cremini & button), chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1, 5-ounce bag of baby spinach
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons flat-leafed parsley, minced
Using a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender (about 10 minutes). Add the parsley and garlic and cook for about a minute.
Add the barley and 3 cups of broth to the saucepan and bring to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until almost all the liquid is absorbed (about 30 minutes).
Add 1/2 cup of the remaining broth, along with the tomatoes, if using. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the barley is tender. Add the additional 1/2 cup broth for more of a creamy mixture.
Add the spinach to the mixture and stir it so it wilts. Season with the ground black pepper and serve.