Try This Easy Summer Recipe: Barley Chicken Pilaf With Burrata

July 28, 2021

Summer is the perfect time to catch up with dance friends outside of the studio.

My friends and I have been having dinner parties lately, and, recently, it was my turn to host. I created a barley chicken pilaf with burrata, seasoned with a citrus-honey dressing and dill—an easy recipe that’s perfect for summer. The dressing’s tangy sweetness and the fresh dill add a wonderfully light flavor.

This dish is rather simple to make and is also dancer-friendly, with a mix of nutrients we want to see consistently in our diets. The pilaf will freeze well, too, so it’s ideal for meal prep once we step back into the studio.

Barley Chicken Pilaf With Burrata (Serves 4)


2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 medium yellow onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, crushed

2 tsps dried oregano

zest of 1 medium lemon

1 cup pearl barley

3 cups (750 ml) vegetable or chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Citrus-Honey Dressing

juice of 1 medium lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup honey

salt and pepper to taste

Toppings to Serve

handful of pine nuts, toasted

1/2 lb burrata or fresh mozzarella

large handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped


1. Add the olive oil to a large, deep frying pan or shallow iron casserole dish. Set heat to medium-high and add the chicken thighs. Season with salt and allow to cook until golden (about 2 to 5 minutes) before flipping and repeating on the other side. Once browned, transfer to a plate. The chicken won’t be entirely cooked through at this point.

2. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion into the same pan. Season with salt, then sauté (stirring throughout) until the onion begins to become translucent. Add the garlic, dried oregano and lemon zest and cook for another 2 minutes before stirring in the barley and vegetable stock.

3. Lay the chicken thighs evenly in the pan and season with black pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid or foil. Set heat to low. Cook for 40 minutes, then remove the lid and cook for another 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put all the citrus-honey dressing ingredients into a jar and give it a good shake. Set aside until serving. 

5. In a clean, dry frying pan or saucepan, add the pine nuts and set heat to medium. Toast, stirring throughout, until golden and fragrant, then transfer to a bowl. (Be sure to watch the nuts—they can burn easily!)

6. Dish the barley into four bowls and top with the cheese (burrata tends to come in one ball—I like to tear it with my fingers), followed by the chicken. Shake the citrus-honey dressing before generously drizzling over the dishes. Garnish with lots of fresh dill, pine nuts and freshly ground black pepper.

 For more of Alexandra McMaster’s recipes, go to or follow her on Instagram at @ballerina_bites.