These barley stuffed peppers make a great vegetarian entrée that packs a punch. You’ll never miss the beef with the low fat bean and barley stuffing. Use red, yellow or orange peppers for color.

These low fat and high fiber peppers are filling, and can be made vegan by omitting the cheese or using a vegan cheese substitute. At 53 grams of carbohydrate this entrée would count as 3 and a half carb servings for those on a diabetic diet. Using a low sodium tomato sauce and vegetable broth help keep the sodium milligrams down, and omitting the cheese would reduce it even more for those looking to keep salt intake at a minimum. Barley is a cereal that is high in the mineral manganese, along with B vitamins, and protein and fiber. A whole grain, barley can improve blood sugar response because it digests slowly, but if you’re on a gluten free diet, beware that barley is not a safe choice as it naturally contains gluten. A gluten free swap for barley in this recipe would be quinoa, cooked according to its package directions.

Theresa Jackson RD, CSOWM, CDN

Clinical Nutrition Manager, Kenmore Mercy Hospital


  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup diced zucchini
  • 1 cup black beans puréed
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups no salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
  • 4 bell peppers tops cut off, seeds and ribs removed


Preheat oven to 350°. In a small saucepan over high heat, boil barley in broth until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. In a large bowl, combine barley, zucchini, black beans, corn, onion, garlic, cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of tomato sauce, chili powder and cayenne pepper and mix together thoroughly.

Spoon mixture into peppers. In a small casserole dish, spread 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Place stuffed peppers, standing, in casserole dish. Pour remaining tomato sauce on top of stuffed peppers.* Bake for 45 minutes, covered.

*Make ahead tip: Keep covered stuffed peppers in refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

Yield: 4 servings

Heart Healthy Recipe

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 stuffed pepper

Calories: 293

Sodium: 268mg

Fat: 3g

Carbohydrates: 53g

Saturated Fat: 1g

Fiber: 13g

Cholesterol: 6mg

Protein: 17g

* Nutritional information is based on ingredients listed and serving size; any additions or substitutions to ingredients may alter the recipe’s nutritional content

Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Copyright indicia (© 2007 – 2017 Baldwin Publishing, Inc.). All rights reserved.

Health eCooking® Trademark indicia (® Health eCooking is a registered trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc.)

No information provided in any recipe and/or other product or service is a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be interpreted as treatment recommendations. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF A PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER WITH ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING A MEDICAL CONDITION.