Superfood: Barley

Improve your health by adding more barley recipes to your meals. You can use this hearty whole grain in a variety of recipes from salads and soups to dessert.

  • Health Benefits of Barley

    Health Benefits of Barley

    This whole grain is packed with fiber, contains vitamins B and E, iron, and selenium, is low in fat, and, like all plant products, cholesterol-free. Because barley contains soluble fiber, it may play a role in controlling blood sugars in Type 2 diabetes. Barley does contain some gluten, so it’s not a grain that is advised for people with gluten intolerance.

  • Fruited Breakfast Barley
    Photography: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Lydia DeGaris-Pursell

    Fruited Breakfast Barley

    Take a break from oatmeal and try a bowl of barley for breakfast. Sweeten it with brown sugar and stir in apricots, raisins and almonds for a nutrient-packed morning meal.
  • Toasted Barley and Berry Granola
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Toasted Barley and Berry Granola

    This granola recipe features rolled barley flakes, which look similar to rolled oats but have more fiber. Combine the barley flakes with pumpkinseed and sunflower seed kernels, dried fruit, and wheat germ for a crunchy granola that’s ideal for a quick breakfast or snack.
  • grain-flapjacks
    Beatriz Dacosta

    Four-Grain Flapjacks

    Barley flour, whole wheat flour, oats and stone-ground cornmeal provide the four grains in these hearty breakfast pancakes. One serving will have you well on your way to meeting your recommended intake of fiber for the day.
  • Barley and Black Bean Salad
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Barley and Black Bean Salad

    Adding black beans to the barley increases the fiber in this colorful salad and also adds protein. Using quick-cooking barley and canned beans helps keep the prep time short.
  • Fresh Vegetable Barley
    Becky Luigart-Stayner; Leigh Ann Ross

    Fresh Vegetable Barley

    Fresh zucchini and cherry tomatoes add both color and nutrients to this barley side dish. You only need a small amount of feta since it’s a strongly flavored cheese, so the total fat per serving is 3.3 grams.
  • Barley "Pasta" Salad
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Barley "Pasta" Salad

    The flavor and texture of barley are similar to that of pasta, so we combined it with the typical pasta salad ingredients (tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, mozzarella cheese) for a side dish that’s higher in fiber than a traditional pasta salad.
  • Thai Chicken Barley Risotto
    Photography: Randy Mayor; Styling: Jan Gautro

    Thai Chicken Barley Risotto

    Instead of using arborio rice to make risotto, use high-fiber pearl barley instead. The Thai flavor comes from cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, and red curry paste, and the protein comes from the lean chicken in this satisfying one-dish meal.
  • Mushroom, Barley, and Beef Soup
    Becky Luigart-Stayner

    Mushroom, Barley, and Beef Soup

    Mushrooms are rich in umami—a savory, rich, meaty taste sensation that offers a sense of complete flavor. Umami counterbalances saltiness, so when you have mushrooms in a soup, you can use less salt and still have a tasty dish. The mushrooms, barley and lean stew meat all contribute to the rich, satisfying flavor of this soup.
  • Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Pine Nuts and Currants
    Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

    Barley-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Pine Nuts and Currants

    In this meatless version of cabbage rolls, ground beef is replaced with hearty barley and feta cheese. Cooking the cabbage rolls in a slow cooker helps keep both the cabbage and the filling extra tender.
  • Grilled Tuna over Lemon-Mint Barley Salad
    Photo: Oxmoor House

    Grilled Tuna over Lemon-Mint Barley Salad

    Serving fish over a bed of veggie-packed whole grains is a great way to meet the USDA My Plate recommendation to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Plus, tuna is a source of heart-healthy omega-3 fat.

  • Greek Chicken and Barley Salad
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke

    Greek Chicken and Barley Salad

    Dress up a Greek salad by adding barley to the cucumber, tomato, feta and kalamata olives. The addition of chicken makes this a one-dish meal that’s high in fiber and also a source of vitamins A and C.
  • Lentil-Barley Burgers with Fiery Fruit Salsa
    Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Cindy Barr

    Lentil-Barley Burgers with Fiery Fruit Salsa

    Use leftover cooked pearl barley with lentils, veggies, and seasonings for a hearty meatless burger sans the bun. The fruit salsa adds bright flavors as well as fiber and vitamin C.
  • Noah's Pudding
    Photo: Karry Hosford

    Noah's Pudding

    Also known as asure, this unique Turkish dessert is made with barley, legumes, dried fruits, and nuts. Traditional folklore holds that Noah gathered all of the remaining foodstuffs to make this sweet pudding when he and his family left the ark. Today it is customary to share the dish with others.
  • Toasted Barley, Green Bean, and Shiitake Salad with Tofu
    Photo: John Autry; Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine

    Toasted Barley, Green Bean, and Shiitake Salad with Tofu

    Toasting the barley before it boils brings out nutty flavor. Pressing and draining tofu helps it take on flavors more readily and improves its cooked texture.

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