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Barley--how do you use it?

11 years ago

I just bought a box of barley and am looking for some recipes using it.

Can you help?

Comments (17)

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Which variety - hulled, hull-less, pearled, flakes, grits or flour?

    Medium Pearled Barley or Quick Pearled Barley are the two most popular and readily available. A good place to start for recipes for those is Quaker Oats (, or the web site of the brand you purchased.

    -Steamed pearl barley is like having cooked rice around. It's easy to add to a salad or soup. I used some cooked cooled pearl barley in Barley, Fennel, and Beet Salad.

    -You can use barley in Stuffed Peppers.

    -How about Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and blue Cheese.


    Here is a link that might be useful: - barley info. and recipes

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Pearl Barley pairs very well with beef. I add it to stews and beef based soups. I will not make a beef soup without some barley. I plumps up and has absorbed a ton of flavor when done.

    Dale P

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  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    My standard breakfast porridge is about 2/3 steel cut oats and 1/3 hull-less barley. Only problem is that it takes a huge amount of time to cook, so I do it in a small slow cooker dedicated to this function; I start it at bedtime on low, and it's completely done by morning.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I make barley mushroom soup with it, and it is traditionally made with beef broth, but I use a vegetable or mushroom broth instead. It is just a mushroom broth with mushrooms (fresh and dried) with barley added as needed. I serve it with Parmesan cheese.

    Sadly, I have not used barley for much else, but I will be interested to see what else shows up. I do like the flavor and texture. It reminds me a bit of risotto, and I have used it in place of rice in some risotto recipes, but not for a while.

    I think I have also used it in place of rice in stuffed cabbage.


    This post was edited by publickman on Mon, Mar 4, 13 at 20:00

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Funny you should ask! Just last night, I made a red cabbage and barley salad, which was published in a freebie magazine from my supermarket (Giant Food Healthy Ideas). It was delicious, and the barley could certainly be served on its own, without the cabbage (and vice versa).

    Warm Red Cabbage and Barley Salad

    For the barley:
    1 Tbsp canola oil
    1 cup diced yellow onion [I used sweet onion]
    2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 cup pearled barley
    1/2 cup dark raisins
    2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

    For the cabbage:
    1 Tbsp butter
    2 Tbsp brown sugar, lightly packed
    1/4 cup red wine vinegar
    1/4 cup apple cider or water [I used cider]
    4 cups shredded red cabbage (3/4 lb)
    1 cup chopped apple [I used 1 apple, peeled]
    1/8 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
    1/4 cup walnuts, toasted if desired

    To prepare barley:
    Heat oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion and cook till lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and barley and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the barley is tender, about 25-35 minutes. Add raisins to barley for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Add parsley, and fluff the barley with a fork.

    To prepare cabbage:
    In a large skillet, melt the butter with brown sugar over medium heat. Add vinegar and cider, and bring to a boil. Add the cabbage and apples and cook until the cabbage is slightly wilted but still crunchy, about 10 minutes. Stir in cloves and cinnamon.

    To serve:
    Spoon cabbage onto plates, top with barley mixture, and sprinkle with walnuts. [I served the cabbage topped with barley in a large bowl, with the walnuts served in a separate bowl.]

    Per serving: 290 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 65 mg sodium, 50 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 17 g sugars, 6 g protein


  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I make Sherry's killer Beef Barley Soup!

    Beef Barley Soup
    serves 8

    1-1/2 lbs. boneless beef chuck
    6 cups beef broth (canned)
    2 cup sliced celery
    2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
    1 cup sliced carrots
    1 medium onion, chopped
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
    1/2 tsp. pepper
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1 6 oz. can tomato paste-I would only use 3 oz.
    1 cup quick- cooking barley

    Trim fat from meat, cut into 1/2" cubes, and brown in olive oil. In a Dutch oven, combine the meat, broth, celery, mushrooms, carrots, onions, salt, rosemary, pepper, and garlic. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1-1-1/2 hour or until meat is tender. If necessary, skim fat.

    Stir in tomato paste and barley. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about ten minutes or until barley is done.

    You could make this in the crock pot, and then when you get home, add the barley and tomato paste and heat for 10 minutes on the stovetop until the barley is done.

    This soup will also freeze well. Freeze in 1 cup portions for a fast, hot lunch. Just micro for about 5 minutes until thawed and hot

    This one is on my "to try" list. It was posted by Rachelellen a couple of years ago and I still haven't gotten around to making it! Mixed grain salad with roasted butternut squash A mixture of grains…try to use at least 3 kinds, of different colors. I use varying combinations of basmati rice, long grain brown rice\*, barley, bulgar (tabuleh), quinoa, wild rice, millet, and sometimes, to lighten the texture, I add couscous. Onions, celery, carrots\-chopped Green peas (frozen are fine…if you have fresh, blanch them first) Roasted butternut squash cubes\*\* Cranberry vinaigrette\*\*\* Chopped parsley & green onions Chopped, toasted nuts (I like pecans or hazelnuts) Cook grain selections separately, according to directions, but remember that they will absorb dressing and soften, so a bit al dente is better than over cooked. Saute onions, celery, carrots until tender, but not too soft. Toss with grains, parsley, green onions and vinaigrette. Gently fold butternut squash cubes in. \*Short grain rices are too sticky for this dish, in my opinion. \*\*Roasted butternut squash. Peel squash. Cut into ½ inch cubes. toss in olive oil and roast in the oven, checking frequently until just cooked, but not mushy. If it doesn’t brown at all, pass under a broiler after cooking just to brown the edges a bit. \*\*\*Cranberry vinaigrette. Make a basic vinaigrette with olive oil, red wine or champagne vinegar, garlic & onion powders, salt & pepper. Put the vinaigrette in a blender with about 3/4 Tablespoon dried cranberries per cup vinaigrette, and puree until smooth. Then, add about a quarter cup of dried cranberries for every cup vinaigrette, and pulse blender until cranberries are chopped, but not pureed. Let vinaigrette sit over night. Before tossing the grain salad in the dressing, taste the vinaigrette for sweetness and add a bit of sugar if need be. It shouldn’t be too tart or too sweet. Sprinkle the toasted chopped nuts on top and garnish with sprigs of parsley, green onion tassels or carrot curls and a few whole dried cranberries. Linda
  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Wow, I am two for two, tonight! Linda (doucanoe), I made Rachelellen's recipe when we had company at the end of December. That's the reason I bought the barley, in the first place. I also used basmati rice, brown rice, and bulgur wheat (actually, I cheated and used a packaged tabouli mix, including the spice packet).

    As you may have noticed, the recipe does not give quantities--it probably doesn't matter, as the proportions could easily vary. However, when I started to make it, I had no idea of the volume of the final product. I made 2 to 4 cups of each grain, as well as massive amounts of veggies, and I ended up with about 14 cups of the mixture! Next time, I would use only 1 to 2 cups of each, unless I was serving it to a large crowd.

    This was an impressive, attractive, and delicious dish, and I will definitely make it again. It's especially handy, because it can be made ahead of time and served cold, from the fridge. I heated the leftovers, and it was good that way, too.


    p.s. And that is the extent of my barley experience! ;-) (I don't even drink beer.)

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I also use barley in soups and stews once we were snowed in and was making bean soup. I was a little short on beans so I added barley with the beans and veggies. The next time I made bean soup the kids keep asking where those little things were in the soup. I finally figured it out and always added them after that. Patty

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like barley a lot and love Sherry's Beef Barley Soup, although I leave the tomato paste out altogether. I've also been known to have a bowl of that for breakfast.

    I cook barley and put it in the refrigerator in a container, then in the morning I slice it and put it in a pan and brown it, much like Grandma used to do with cornmeal mush. No syrup on barley for me, though, I top it with an egg.


  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Roasted barley tea is popular in some parts of Asia. Pan roast it in a dry pan till it's golden brown (or darker if you prefer) and then steep it in hot water. Serve cold on a hot day, or can be served hot as well. I think it's very refreshing and tasty!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Home Made Mugicha

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've only ever had barley in beef vegetable soup,
    And I love it!
    I can't even imagine beef soup without it.
    I don't think I've ever in my life used a recipe for soup,
    I make it like my mother did,
    Whatever is on hand and sounds good.

    Now I'm anxious to try some of the barley ideas listed here.

    Thanks for asking this question, cmama.


  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    This is my T&T Crock Pot Beef Barley Soup. Not only is it a family favorite, but the band kids all love it too - to the surprise of many of their mom's who emailed me for the recipe! :-)

    This is a Cook's Illustrated Recipe.

    Slow-Cooker Beef and Barley Soup

    Serves 6 to 8

    1 Boneless beef chuck roast (3-pound), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    Table salt and ground black pepper
    2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    2 Onions , chopped medium
    2 Carrots , peeled and chopped medium
    1/2 Cup dry red wine
    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    4 Cups low-sodium beef broth
    4 Cups low-sodium chicken broth
    1 Tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
    1 Cup pearl barley
    1/4 Cup minced fresh parsley leaves

    1. Dry the beef with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown half of the beef, about 10 minutes, then add to the slow cooker. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and repeat with 2 more teaspoons oil and the remaining beef.

    2. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half, about 1 minute, then pour into the slow cooker.

    3. Add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Cover and cook, on either low or high, until the beef is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high. Before serving, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

    To Make Ahead

    The night before (or a day in advance), prepare the recipe through step 2. Instead of adding the ingredients to the slow cooker, refrigerate them, but be sure to store the browned meat in one container and the vegetables and wine in another container. In the morning, add the chilled ingredients to the slow cooker, then add the tomatoes with their juice, the broths, thyme, and barley to the slow cooker. Proceed with step 3. The cooking time will run to the high end of the range given in the recipe.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I do a chicken barley mushroom soup in mass quantities that I freeze by the serving after we eat on it a couple of days.

    I don't measure anything on this soup but what looks good in the pot:

    Brown chunked up pieces of chicken (boned thighs are the best but any parts will do
    Add 1 tablespoon butter and diced onion, diced carrots, and diced celery to sweat
    Add Mushrooms canned or fresh chunked up
    Add garlic to taste, I add a lot
    Add at least eight cups of a good flavorful stock (when I'm out I "cheat" by buying two quarts of chicken soup broth only from my local deli which makes great chicken soup)
    Add three cups of pearled barley
    Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
    Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and come back in an hour or two. The longer you simmer the better it tastes.

    Add more chicken broth if you need to after the barley absords its moisture.

    Recheck seasonings.

    If you want, add minced fresh basil, cilantro or parsely just before serving. This should be a thick stick to your ribs dinner-in-a-bowl soup.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    this is my favorite recipe for barley. It's really good, the cayenne adds a nice bit of heat. I originally found the recipe here.

    Smothered Chicken and Barley

    2 tsp cumin
    1.5 tsp chili powder
    3/4 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    1/4 tsp cayenne
    1/2 tsp mexican oregano
    6 chicken thighs, skinned
    1&1/2 cups chopped onion
    1 chopped red bell pepper
    1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
    3&1/2 cups low salt chicken stock
    1&1/4 cups pearl barley
    1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

    Combine spices in bowl and rub chicken with half of the mixture. ( I think I usually boost the amount of spices in this, so add them liberally)

    In large heavy pot add some oil and brown chicken. Remove chicken from skillet, and add onion, and bell pepper, saute until slightly browned.

    Add broth, barley, tomatoes, and remaining spice mixture and stir well to scrape up all the browned chicken bits. Add chicken back to the pot, nestling it into the barley / veggie mixture. Cover, and simmer about an hour until the chicken is done.

    Serve with a big sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

    there's a very similar recipe that uses mint, from cooking light magazine.

  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mtnester, thanks for the review of that salad! I will definitely have to make it soon!


  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago
  • 11 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I try to limit my wheat consumption so I very often put barley in soups where I might have used ditalini or acini de pepe in the past. I love it in mushroom barley soup but also in my various versions of minestrone. I also eat it as a pilaf. I only have one barley salad but I hope to add more to my repertoire.

    Barley Salad

    I cup reg. med. grain barley
    1 package (10 oz. frozen peas)
    1 large carrot, coarsely shredded
    Basil Dressing
    Lettuce leaves

    Basil dressing: 2 TBLSP each lemon juice and cinder vinegar, 1/2 tsp. each dry mustard, sugar and basil, 1/4 tsp. of pepper. Add 1/4 cup olive oil. Makes about 1/2 cup.

    My recipe card has no instructions but I imagine you would cook the barley with twice that amount of water and some salt. I use 1/2 tsp. but I am a low salt person. After it is cooled add the veggies and dressing and serve over lettuce leaves.

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