Slow Cooker Italian Barley & Sausage
I think I use my slow cooker in a backwards manner. I don’t mean that it’s physically turned around on the countertop, although it has a really short electrical cord, so sometimes. I mean that I think I use it at the wrong time of year. I know a lot of people rave about using their slow cookers in the summer, as it’s a great way to make a hot meal without heating up the house with the oven. That totally makes sense, but that’s what we use our grill for.
For me, prime slow cooker season seems to be January, when it’s frigid cold outside. I love the hearty, comforting meals that come from my slow cooker, even if it doesn’t help warm up the house at all. Other people seem to agree with me, as the Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup recipe I posted last January went on to become my most popular recipe (by FAR) of all time.
The theme of today’s #SundaySupper, hosted by TR of Gluten Free Crumbley is “A Lighter New Year.” I figured I could highlight my love of January slow cookin’ while still making a wholesome, healthy meal. After discovering how well barley works in the slow cooker, I knew I wanted to use that again.
For this simple Slow Cooker Italian Barley & Sausage, just combine the barley with garlic, onion, marinara sauce, chicken stock and sundried tomatoes. Then, toward the end of cooking time, stir in smoked turkey sausage and spinach, and garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. This was my first time cooking with smoked turkey sausage, and I was surprised with how much it tasted like traditional smoked sausage, but with less fat and fewer calories.
Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2015!
Slow Cooker Italian Barley & Sausage
Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2-1/2 hours
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jar (14 ounces) marinara sauce
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 3 cups chicken stock, divided
- 1-1/4 cups pearl barley, rinsed and drained
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced sundried tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 package (13 ounces) fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, thinly sliced
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- Chopped fresh basil and grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)
- In bowl of slow cooker, stir together garlic, marinara sauce, onion, 2 cups chicken stock, barley, sundried tomatoes, oil, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until barley is tender and most liquid is absorbed.
- Stir in sausage, spinach and remaining 1 cup stock; cover and cook on low 10 minutes longer or until sausage is warmed through and spinach is wilted.
- Serve barley and sausage mixture garnished with basil and cheese, if desired.
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Don’t forget to check out all the other great recipes from the Sunday Supper group!
- Almond Mocha Smoothie from The Foodie Army Wife
- Chocolate-Covered Berries Green Smoothie from Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Citrus DeTox Spa Water from La Bella Vita Cucina
- Peachilious Smoothie from Peanut Butter and Peppers
Blissful Breakfast Items
- Apple Crumble Smoothie Bowl from Try Anything Once Culinary
- Light Eggs Benedict from Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
- Multigrain Scones from The Texan New Yorker
- Nutty Granola Bars from Pies and Plots
- Reduced Sugar Donuts from The Ninja Baker
- Broccoli Pesto from Curried Cantaloupe
- Fava Bean and Avocado Guacamole from Pancake Warriors
- Homemade Snickerdoodle Peanut Butter from Wallflour Girl
- Norwegian Egg Benedict from Brunch with Joy
- Roasted Pumpkin and Chevre Bruschetta from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
- Spicy Curried Lentil Spread with Winter Veggies from Lifestyle Food Artistry
Savory Soups and Sides
- Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Soup from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Light Creamed Roasted Vegetable Soup from Kudos Kitchen by Renee
- Detox Chicken Bok Choy Soup from Nosh My Way
- French Potato Leek Soup from Curious Cuisiniere
- Gluten Free Chicken Pho Soup from Gluten Free Crumbley
- Marinated Tomato and Mozzarella Salad from From Gate to Plate
- Quinoa Mango Pomegranate Spinach Salad with White Balsamic Vinigrette from Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Red Cabbage and Golden Raisin Salad from girlichef
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts and Endive Slaw with Champagne Vinaigrette from Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Spinach and Black Bean Ravioletti Soup from Big Bear’s Wife
- Black Pepper Tofu with Black Garlic Sauce from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Fish Steamed with Spicy Couscous from Food Lust People Love
- Greek Style Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce from Nik Snacks
- Kale Pesto with Squash Noodles from Ruffles & Truffles
- Mexican Turkey Cutlets from Magnolia Days
- Meyer Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs, Fennel & Sweet Potato from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Portuguese Kale Soup from Recipes Food and Cooking
- Salmon with Mushroom Sauce from Cooking Chat
- Skinny Chicken-Leek Pot Pie from The Weekend Gourmet
- Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Quinoa from Bobbi’s Kosy Kitchen
- Slow Cooker Italian Barley & Sausage from Foxes Loves Lemons
- Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches from Food Done Light
- Tomato Goat Cheese Arugula Flatbread from Family Foodie
- Easy to be Green Chocolate Chip Cookies from What Smells So Good?
- Fruit Parfait from Desserts Required
- Maple Pear Scones from Killer Bunnies, Inc
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