Pesto Chicken Barley Bowls

These balanced Pesto Chicken Barley Bowls will leave you satisfied!

Healthy bowl with chicken, tomatoes, spinach, barley and pesto

Pesto Chicken Barley Bowls

This bowl is packed with veggies, proteins, healthy fats, and FLAVOR! It will please your whole family and goes together in under an hour.
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Healthy bowl with chicken, tomatoes, spinach, barley and pesto
Prep Time:40 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:40 minutes
Servings: 4


Chicken and Veggies

  • ½ pint grape tomatoes
  • 2 Cups cauliflower florets
  • 4 carrots sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning divided
  • ¼ teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 teaspoon pepper divided
  • 1 pound thin-sliced chicken breasts


  • 1 Cup barley


  • 8 Cups water
  • 15 ounce bag baby spinach
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic sliced – optional
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper


  • ½ Cup pesto sauce


  • ¼ Cup toasted hazelnuts
  • 1 Cup microgreens
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 ounces goat cheese plain or herbed
  • 1 avocado sliced


  • Roast chicken and veggies: Preheat oven to 400℉. Place grape tomatoes, cauliflower, and carrots on one half of sheet pan. Drizzle veggies with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning plus ⅛ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat and spread evenly. Place chicken in single layer on the other half of sheet pan. Drizzle chicken breasts with remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, ⅛ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook 20-30 min until chicken is 165℉ in center and veggies are tender.
  • While chicken is cooking, make barley, spinach, and heat sauce: Cook barley according to directions on package. Cook spinach: heat 8 Cups water and pinch salt to boiling in large pot. Add 1 package baby spinach. Cook three minutes. Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in sauté pan (can add sliced garlic for flavor if desired). Carefully strain spinach and add to sauté pan, season with ⅛ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook 3 more minutes. Turn off heat and set aside. Sauce: When veggies and chicken are nearly done, gently heat sauce to warm in small saucepan or on low in microwave. Do not overheat sauce. If your pesto is particularly thick you can add a touch of olive oil.
  • To make bowls: Place ¼ barley in bottom of wide bowl or plate, add 1 piece of chicken, ¼ veggies, and ¼ spinach. Top with ¼ pesto sauce and then add ¼ of each topping. Repeat for remaining bowls.


  • While this goes together quickly, to make it even simpler you can do either of these steps the night before and store in fridge until you are ready to make your meal: Make barley and prep chicken and veggies.
  • When purchasing pesto, check ingredients for inflammatory oils. Pesto should use olive oil and not have any fillers. Alternatively, you can make your own.
  • Want to make your pesto from scratch? Savored Joy has a recipe for that!
Preferred ingredients – Cooking Olive Oil: McEvoy Ranch Cooking Olive Oil or Thrive Market Organic Olive Oil


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 55.6g | Protein: 43.5g | Fat: 32.2g | Saturated Fat: 6.6g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 1131mg | Fiber: 16.7g | Sugar: 6.2g | Calcium: 214mg | Iron: 7mg
Calories: 652kcal
Author: Emily Haygood

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Why I Love These Pesto Chicken Barley Bowls

  • It has good quality protein (chicken), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado), and fiber (barley, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower)
  • It includes greens in the form of spinach and microgreens.
  • I love a bowl – so many flavors, colors, and textures plus they usually go together quickly
  • I love that it uses a grain other than the typical rice or wheat!
  • My whole family loves this meal.
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