Let’s face it, when we watch what we eat we feel better and look better and knowing that you are eating healthily gives you that extra spring in your step that helps you through the day. That is why barley is so great. Barley is a whole grain carbohydrate, so it has that slow release energy that keeps you feeling fuller for longer, giving you the energy to make it through the morning without snacking.

Whole grains like barley are packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and a whole lot of good. So when choosing your next carbohydrate for your family dinner, swap rice or pasta out for barley and feel the difference! You could even try mixing barley together with other healthy carbohydrates such as quinoa, bulgur or millet. Let’s learn how to cook barley today!

Barley has also got that extra special charm to it because it is just so easy to make. In a pressure cooker, it can steam up nicely in as little as half an hour. It also tastes great with a number of sides, both sweet and savory. I have put together some great barley recipes below for you to try out in case you get a little stuck for ideas and would like some inspiration.

What Can You Add Barley To?

Not sure what to put with your barley? Don’t worry, barley is such a versatile food I am sure you will find a recipe that you and your family will love. If you are looking for some light summer recipes, why not put your barley together with a smoked trout salad, a hot pink beetroot salad with feta cheese and red onion or toss it into a roasted onion, tomato and mushroom soup.

If you are looking for something a little heavier, to feed the whole family this Sunday, why not try cooking lamb shanks with preserved lemon and dill to accompany your barley? It also goes down a treat with a beef stew with dumplings or a pot roast with mixed vegetables.

Last- but by far means the least, barley is exceptionally delicious when enjoyed as part of a healthy breakfast. Fancy shaking up the most important meal of the day? Try putting your barley together with anise seeds, raisins and roasted almonds or pop it into a bowl with a splash of milk and stir in some honey as a great alternative to porridge.

Best Method To Cook Barley

Before you dash to the supermarket, it is good to be in the know about the different types of barley out there and which one is best for cooking.

What is the difference? Well, while pearl barley is the most common form of barley, it isn’t necessarily the healthiest. Pearl barley has had the bran removed from the outside. Why is this important? Because bran is the nutritious part of the barley and when you take that away all that you are left with is the starchy center. On the other hand, hulled barley still has its bran intact. Try using hulled barley when making a recipe as it is a more nutritious option for you and your family.

Soaking your barley is a great way to get it cooking faster, leaving it soft and tender but not only that, there are some health benefits to doing so too. Soaking your barley in water overnight, or for a few hours in a bowl before you come to cook it helps the complex sugars, tannins and gluten to breakdown making them easier for our bodies to digest.

This method is so quick and easy, after soaking your barley you will have all the preparation done in 5 minutes and the cooking time for this recipe is just one hour. The best thing about it is that there are next to no ingredients, all you need is the barley and you are pretty much set. That means less time in the kitchen and just one pot to wash up… (now that is the best news I have heard all day).

  • 3 cups of water (or stock if desired)
  • 1 cup of barley (preferably hulled barley)
  • Sea salt

Isn’t that a simple looking list of ingredients? You will be excited to see that the instructions for making the best barley are just as straight forward.

  1. Boil the 3 cups of water (or stock) in a medium-sized pan.
  2. Add the cup of hulled barley to the pan and then reduce the temperature to low and cook for 50 to 55 minutes.

*Note* if you are cooking pearl barley reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes. If you did not pre-soak your barley increase cooking time to 1 ½ to 2 hours.

  1. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to sit for 10 minutes then use a colander to drain off the excess water. Add a pinch of sea salt and mix together.
  2. Prepare a tasty side dish and serve.

And there you have it, a scrumptious and nutritious guide to cooking the best-hulled barley. Taste the goodness!