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This Hearty Wild Mushroom and Barley Stew served over a 1/2 open-faced baked potato is to die for. I made it last night and it’s a “10”. It was my first test drive cooking in an Instant Pot and I’m a believer!

I spotted this on one of Jane Velez-Mitchell’s #LunchBreakLive shows when Lisa Karlan, of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, shows her best friend from elementary school, who is on the path to becoming vegan, how easy plant-based cooking can be. 

As usual, I made some of my own tweaks and twists and it came out exactly to my liking and you can do the same thing, too. The more you cook and play around in the kitchen, you start to get a feel for your own preferences – degree of creaminess, how spicy, what color and texture of veggies to throw together, what kind of greens might be good to slip in – I chose swiss chard for this one: one because the idea of it sounded good, and also because I had some in the fridge that needed to be used!  

It only takes eight minutes to cook in the pot (plus another 10 minutes to just sit there with the valve still closed to cook it perfectly). NO OIL is used, but it comes out thick and creamy. The barley expands as do the mushrooms and gives it such a woodsy creamy dreamy quality to it. 

This is GUILT-FREE, heart healthy, “home and hearth” eating. Enjoy! 

Dare to make a difference. Go vegan.



1 cup diced onions

1/2 cup sliced leeks

1/4 lb shiitake or other wild mushrooms, chopped

1 lb crimini mushrooms, chopped

3-4 leaves of swiss chard, chopped 

3 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (I forgot to include the soy sauce in the photo of ingredients, but don’t forget to add it!)

3 sprigs fresh thyme + 2 Tbsp chopped thyme 

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 cup pearl barley (or farro soaked for 4 hours). I used one little bag of par-boiled barley from Trader Joe’s and highly recommend.

4 cups hot vegetable or mushroom broth 

2 baked potatoes – 1/2 open-faced potato for each person (and they’re high in vitamin C!)

Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning (in grinder) – several grinds

Garlic powder to taste – about 1 tsp

1 tsp Red pepper chili flakes (optional if you want to kick it up a notch. Be careful, too much can be too much).

Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4 


Bake potatoes in oven at 375 degree oven (about 45-55 min)

In the Instant Pot, broth saute onions and leeks over medium heat until onions are slightly brown (about 3 minutes) Use about a cup of the heated broth for the sauté. 

Add the mushrooms, swiss chard, barley, the remaining broth, the Tamari or soy sauce, 

the thyme and rosemary sprigs to the Instant Pot.

Pressure cook at high pressure for 8 minutes and let sit for 10 min BEFORE releasing the pressure.

Remove thyme and rosemary sprigs

Stir and serve over 1/2 baked potato 

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp chopped parsley on each dish

Serve over a baked potato cooked until soft inside and crispy outside, in a 375 degree oven (about 45-55 min)

*Original recipe inspired by “The New Fast Food” by Jill Nussinow

Categories: Get Cooking