We often think of barley as a nice, plump grain to toss into a pot of soup. But this ancient grain actually boasts an incredibly high fiber content, has a wonderfully creamy texture, and delightful nutty flavor. If you've made quinoa and experimented with other whole grains like farro or wheat berries, it's time to pick up a little bag of barley and get cooking!
One quick note on buying barley: I like to buy my grains in the bulk bins because they tend to turn over more quickly than the bags you see sitting on store shelves for awhile. When you go to buy barley, you'll have a choice between pearled, semi-pearled or hulled (or whole-grain) barley. Don't let the distinctions throw you off. Pearled barley is what you'll most commonly find in the grocery store and it's what I generally buy. It has been processed to remove most of its bran, giving it a squattier, rounder appearance, like a pearl. It's quick-cooking and I find it to have a creamier flavor. Hulled barley (whole-grain barley) has a really long cook time and is tough to come by.
What's your favorite way (besides soup!) to use barley in your cooking?
Try a Recipe:
1. Chickpea, Barley and Zucchini Ribbon Salad (pictured) - The Kitchn
2. Cilantro-Lime Veggie Kabobs with Barley Kale Salad - Naturally Ella
3. Meyer Lemon Risotto - 101 Cookbooks
4. Barley Salad with Basil Pesto - Eat This Poem
5. Ratatouille Barley Salad - Sprouted Kitchen
6. Mushroom, Leek and Barley Bake - Good Things Grow
7. Bacony Barley Salad with Marinated Shrimp - Eating Well
Related: Five Ways to Eat: Barley
(Image: Anjali Prasertong)