Sausage and Barley-Stuffed Peppers

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup pearl barley
2 tsp olive oil
1 lb sweet Italian-style turkey sausage, casings removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8-oz package sliced mushrooms
5-oz package spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2 cups marinara sauce (if using jarred, choose low-sodium)
2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
4 red bell peppers, cut in half and blanched
1. Preheat oven to 400° F.

2. Bring the broth and water to a boil. Add the barley, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the barley until soft but not mushy, about 55 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.
3. Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and brown. When the sausage is partially cooked, add the onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and black pepper. Cook until the onion is soft and sausage is fully cooked, about 2 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside and keep warm.
4. Add the mushrooms to the pan and sweat until they release most of their liquid. Add the spinach to the pan and cook just until wilted but still bright green. Add the mushroom mixture to the sausage mixture. Add the marinara sauce, barley, and one-half of the cheese.
5. Stuff each pepper half with 1 cup of the filling. Cover the stuffing of each pepper with a square of foil coated in cooking spray. Place the pepper foil side down in a baking pan. Bake until the juices are bubbling, about 30 minutes.
6. Turn peppers over and remove foil. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and serve.
Nutrient Analysis per serving Serves 8
Calories: 286; Protein: 18 g; Carbohydrates: 31 g; Fiber: 6.5 g; Total fat: 11 g, Sat fat: 1.5 g, Sodium: 585 mg