Creamy Barley with Lentils & Shrimp

Fondation OLO | Recette | Orge crémeux aux crevettes et aux lentilles
the illustrated version
of this recipe
  • Servings: 4
  • Preparation time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking time: 45 minutes
  • Cost per serving: $2.49
  • Storage: 3 days in the fridge. Can be frozen.
  • Kitchen tools: Measuring cups and spoons, cutting board, sharp knife, small pot, large pot, ladle, colander, can opener, grater, wooden spoon
  • This original recipe was developed by Extenso—the Université de Montréal reference centre on human nutrition.


  • 500 ml (2 cups) milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 5 ml (1 tsp) canola oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 250 ml (1 cup) dry pearl barley
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
  • 1 can (540 ml) lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 250 ml (1 cup) grated cheddar cheese
  • 175 ml (¾ cup) frozen green peas
    Or another green vegetable chopped into small pieces (green bell peppers, green beans or broccoli, for example)
  • 150 g (1/3 lb) northern shrimp, shelled
    Or any kind of fish of your choice.


1. In a small pot over medium heat, warm the milk and water. When the mixture first starts to bubble, turn off heat, cover and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

3. Add the barley and stir to ensure the barley is covered in oil.

4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until all the broth has been absorbed.

5. Add a ladle of the milk mixture and continue to stir until there is almost no liquid left.

6. Repeat step 5 until there is no milk mixture left.

Tip: If the barley still isn’t soft after using all the milk mixture, add 60 ml (¼ cup) of water at a time.

7. Add the lentils, cheddar cheese, green peas and shrimp. Mix until the cheese has melted. Variation: This recipe can be prepared without the shrimp.

Nutritional balance

This recipe provides foods from the following food groups:

  • Grain products
  • Meat and alternatives
  • Vegetables
  • Milk and alternatives

Serve with:

  • Vegetables (salad or cooked vegetables, for example) to round out the serving, and a fruit