This filling vegan casserole with barley, bulgar, and lots of vegetables is so satisfying, with protein, fiber, and most importantly, flavor!

Barley vegan casserole served on a square white plate with fork alongside.
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I go on spurts where I make this casserole repeatedly. I make it, eat it for lunch for a week, and then make it again. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s filling and SO healthy. It’s one of my mom’s favorite recipes.

It’s not some wimpy salad where you eat it and then 30 minutes later you eat a Snicker’s bar because you’re still hungry. It is hearty, full of protein and fiber. And soooo good. Did I mention that?

Okay vegans — plug your ears (cover your eyes?) for a minute. Vegetarians, you can listen. I titled this vegan, which it is, but it’s really good with a little bit of melted sharp cheddar on top. Our little secret.

And meat eaters – feel free to use chicken stock if you don’t have vegetable broth/stock on hand.

front view of a serving of bulgar vegan casserole on white plate

What Is Bulgur?

If you’re not familiar with bulgur, you can read more about in this article written in Wikipedia. It’s a whole grain with lots-o-fiber. I typically buy Bob’s Red Mill Bulgur.

If you’ve ever eaten tabbouli, you’ve probably had bulgur. Bulgar is similar to cracked wheat, made out of wheat berries, but is parboiled before the drying process for quicker cooking.

The combination of barley and bulgur in this casserole makes it nutty, chewy, and so flavorful. The black beans give a creamy smoothness and then you get lots of added flavor from the vegetables and the herbs: thyme and parsley.

Closeup front view of bulgar vegan casserole garnished with fresh parsley

So if you’re like me and hate making lunch, this is your perfect solution. Maybe I need to make another batch of this so I will eat something besides popcorn for lunch.

Storage Tips

Refrigerate/Freeze: Cool casserole slightly before covering and storing in the refrigerator. It will keep for 4 to 5 days. Freeze in individual freezer-safe containers for up to six months. Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

Reheat: This casserole reheats really well. Sometimes I make it in the morning or even in the evening before bed and then it’s all ready to eat. Simply warm it up in the microwave until warmed through.

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Healthy Casseroles


Barley, Bulgur and Vegetable Vegan Casserole

4.25 from 16 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4 main course servings
This filling vegan casserole is great for meat-eaters too! It’s a favorite lunch of mine – tons of protein, fiber, and most importantly, flavor!
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  • 2 medium carrots, diced small (¾ to 1 cup)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • cup chopped fresh parsley, loosely packed
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 ¾ cup vegetable broth (low sodium preferred)
  • cup quick-cooking bulgur
  • cup pearl barley
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper, or to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In a lightly greased casserole dish, combine all ingredients. Cover tightly with foil.
  • Bake in preheated oven for one hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 30 minutes or until barley is cooked through and tender.
  • Serve immediately or keep covered until ready to serve.


  • Don’t overcook the casserole as it will dry out.
  • I like to add a generous handful of shredded cheddar cheese to the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so of baking. Use a vegan cheese if you like. 


Calories: 256kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 0.3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g, Sodium: 440mg, Potassium: 851mg, Fiber: 14g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 5630IU, Vitamin C: 18mg, Calcium: 76mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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4.25 from 16 votes (15 ratings without comment)

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  1. Cherry says:

    2 stars
    I baked this recipe for an hour and a half and the paralyzed barley was still hard and crunchy. I didn’t like the flavor, nor did my guests. Being given some idea of how much salt to add would have been helpful from the beginning.

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I’m guessing “paralyzed” is an autocorrect issue or a typo and you’re referring to pearl barley? I’m sorry you didn’t love this recipe. I will agree about the salt. This is an older recipe and we’re slowly going back and retesting and updating all our old recipes (but with 1200 recipes, you can imagine this is quite a job!). When we update them, we always include measurements for salt and pepper. I’m sorry you didn’t like the flavor. I’ve made this quite a few times (although not recently) and we always love it.

  2. Char says:

    What if you use regular bulgar?
    Add more liquid?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I haven’t tested it that way, so I’m not sure, sorry.

  3. Char says:

    how would you reheat if made the day before for a covered dish meal?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      I would reheat it either in the oven or microwave.

  4. Charlene Nieb Eredics says:

    How would you reheat if made a day ahead?

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      This reheats well in the oven or microwave!

  5. Bonnie McGinnis says:

    I love this recipe! So simple and satisfying, and great reheated as well. Makes a fantastic lunch.

  6. Peggy says:

    Nutritional yeast is great sub for cheese! Gonna try that when I make. Thank you much!

    1. Rachel Gurk says:

      Great idea! Let me know it turns out!

  7. Carol+at+Wild+Goose+Tea says:

    I can see the cheese on this—or not. Wonderful combo of ingredients. I started liking barley and bulgur as a kid. So this fits right in with my taste buds. You make a good point that it’s hearty and thus you fill full when you get done. Important point.

  8. Kristy at Chocolate Slopes says:

    Ever since Rachel made this for me during a play date I have been making it on a regular basis. It really is a satisfying, healthy meal option!

  9. Katrina+@+Warm+Vanilla+Sugar says:

    I am dying for a casserole like this. I just had an entire week of pasta and pizza. Gimme!!!

  10. Taylor @ greens & chocolate says:

    I love dishes like this that can be eaten over and over for lunch! This looks perfect for the cooler weather when I tend to cringe at the thought of a cold salad for lunch!