Asian Shrimp Barley Bowl

This Asian Shrimp Barley Bowl is a healthy, easy to make, make ahead dinner recipe! We love this chewy, nutty barley mixed with fresh jumbo shrimp!


A Healthy Dinner Recipe The Whole Family Will Love!

OK, I know what you’re thinking – barley? I’ve gone totally over the edge. From deep frying whiskey glazed ribs to barley. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, I promise.

Barley is a new food to me, even though it’s not to a lot of people. Christie made it one night and threw in some vegetables and shredded chicken on top and the kids went crazy for it.

It takes about 45 minutes to cook up a pot of barley but you can do it ahead of time and then like rice, it’s something you can add anything you want to. But it’s a lot better for you than plain rice. Even though I’m a big fan of plain rice. So if you can make the barley ahead of time, then when it’s time for dinner you only have about 15 minutes of cooking to get this Asian Shrimp Barley Bowl on the table.

How To Make Asian Shrimp Barley Bowls

In a large pot heat up some olive oil then add in a cup of chopped onion.

Cook that for five minutes, stirring, and then add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. The sugar helps to caramelize the onions and get them sweeter. Another one of my favorite things…caramelized onions…

After the onions caramelize add in 2 cups of diced zucchini and cook that down for another 5 minutes. Throw in 2 minced garlic cloves and a little salt and pepper, then remove your cooked vegetables to a plate.

To the same pot pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the barley and a little more salt and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

After the barley is cooked,  add back in the cooked vegetables soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. A this point, you could let it cool and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook your dinner later…


When dinner time comes, get your barley out of the fridge and warm it up over low heat.

Get out a large skillet for your shrimp…season them with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes until they’re just pink.

And dinner is done.

It might sound like a lot of steps – but it’s really not too bad – especially if you do the barley ahead of time.

So that’s how I do healthy. Not a boring salad or steamed vegetables. Tasty, delicious, full of flavor dinners that just happen to be good for you too!


Looking For More Shrimp Recipes?


Asian Shrimp Barley Bowl

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

This shrimp recipe is a healthy dinner that the whole family will love! Anything Asian flavored is always a hit at our house!



  • 2 T. canola oil, divided
  • 1 c. barley, rinsed
  • 1 c. diced onion
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 3 c. chicken or beef broth
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 c. diced zucchini
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. oyster sauce
  • 1 t. toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 lb. small, peeled and deveined shrimp
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  1. In a large pot, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the sugar to the onions and stir. Cook the onions, stirring often for another 5 minutes until they start to brown and caramelize.
  2. Add the zucchini, garlic, salt and pepper to the onions and stir. Cook for another 5 minutes until the zucchini softens. Remove the vegetables to a plate and let cool.
  3. To the same pot, pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the barley and another 1/4 teaspoon of salt and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.
  4. Place the cooked vegetables along with the soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil back into the pot and stir to combine with the barley.
  5. In a large skillet, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn to the other side and cook for 2 more minutes until pink.
  6. Spoon the barley into large bowls and add the shrimp on top to serve, garnish with sesame seeds.

Recipe Notes

Make the barley ahead of time, then when it’s time for dinner all you have to do is cook your shrimp and add it to the warmed up barley.
You could also leave out the shrimp for a vegetarian meal, or substitute chicken or sliced beef instead.


  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 331
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 1227mg
  • Fat: 6g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5g
  • Carbohydrates: 48g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 22g
  • Cholesterol: 120mg
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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11 Responses
  1. SliCey

    Had some leftover cooked pearl barley and decided to make this recipe. I wanted more crunch, so I added some diced water chestnuts and snap peas. Also added some Asian hot sauce. Very tasty and feels like a healthier dish than one with white rice or noodles.

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