Our 18 Best Barley Recipes to Help You Get to Know This Ancient Grain
Somewhere along the way, barley was deemed bland and unappealing. We're here to dispel that myth, because truth be told, barley is anything but boring. Barley is an ancient grain, meaning it has remained largely unchanged over the years. This means it's lower in gluten than modern more processed grains. It's also rich in nutrients, budget-friendly, and most importantly, it adds a chewy texture and nutty flavor to any dish. New to this ancient grain? Try incorporating more barley into your diet with our best barley recipes.
Beef Barley Vegetable Soup
"Threw the all the ingredients in the crockpot except the barley from the start," says reviewer BEBOC. "Cooked for 12 hours on low and added barley for the last half hour on high. This was very good. Easy and hearty for the winter!"
Beaker's Vegetable Barley Soup
Barley makes this vegetable soup as filling as it is nutritious. Reviewer Carrie says, "This is a great hearty soup with lots of flavor! Perfect for a cold day."
Barley Risotto Primavera
"Easy to make and bursting with flavor, this risotto uses barley instead of rice for an extra nutritional punch," says recipe creator Jen.
Kerry's Beany Salad
This nutritious and colorful salad makes a great weekday lunch or potluck addition. "This is fantastic," says reviewer Susan Yeatts. "I served it as a side dish today, but I think it is hearty enough to be a main course for a light summer meal! The flavors all work very well together and it is hard to believe all of the nutrition it packs!"
Sausage Barley Soup
Reviewer SMIDGEN describes this recipe as, "a wonderful cold weather dish that tastes as good as it smells when cooking!"
Chicken Vegetable Barley Soup
Use leftover chicken to make tonight’s warm and comforting barley soup. "It's an unexpected combination (the almonds with the veggies and the barley) that is delicious and leaves you very satisfied," says reviewer DANIEDB.
Tomato Barley Soup
This budget-friendly soup is guaranteed to become a part of your regular dinner rotation. "I didn't have fresh tomatoes so just stuck with canned," says reviewer thebrokedown.
Brussels Sprouts and Barley Soup
Reviewer cookie_cooker says, "So many of my favorite veggies & nutrient super stars are in this soup!" This hearty soup is chock full of veggies including green beans, turnips, leeks, carrots, bell pepper, and Brussels sprouts.
Ash-e-jow (Iranian/Persian Barley Soup)
"My best friend is Persian, and I love the rich flavour of Persian food," says reviewer pinkypink. "This soup is great and full of flavor. I've always tried to make Persian food myself, but whenever I've tried it doesn't taste the same as my best friend's mom. This is the closest I've gotten so far! Excellent recipe and really easy."
"When I serve it as a main dish, I double the amount of mushrooms, that really gives it a meaty flavor without the meat," says reviewer Frann R. "Leftovers are good cold for summer outings." This simple recipe goes straight from the skillet to the oven, making for few dishes and little prep work.
Barley Lime Fiesta Salad
"This was DELICIOUS! Was trying to find a vegetarian based recipe and came across this one which surprised me because I happened to have most of the ingredients on hand and already chopped...the flavors just popped and even my husband, who could care less for barley, thought it was good," says reviewer OraProNobis. This chilled salad makes for great, no-reheat leftovers.
Indian Curried Barley Pilaf
"Made this for the first time this evening for dinner and it was a huge hit," says reviewer Bayla Meltzer. "In fact this was the first time I ever cooked barley in my entire life, but now thanks to this recipe I'll definitely be making it again." Curry powder gives a bold flavor to mild barley.
Mediterranean Barley Salad
"A great chilled whole-grain salad to serve with grilled chicken, or on its own for lunch. Can be improved with a combination of whole grains, but the barley works on its own," says recipe creator DrkEyedCajn.
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie II
Lentils and pearl barley make this classic recipe vegetarian, but still just as filling as the original. "I made this for a dinner I had for several friends and everyone liked it. It presents well and is a good hearty vegetarian dish to serve," says reviewer BRH.
Barley Mushroom Risotto
"I might never make risotto with rice again," says reviewer KimFitzgerald. "The barley gives it a wonderful, nutty and chewy texture."
Barley, Shrimp, and Corn Salad
This bright and zesty seafood salad screams summertime. “I made this for a family picnic and everyone seemed to like it. The lemon gives it a nice tangy flavor, perfect for a hot day," says reviewer LINDA LASHLEY.
Barley Chicken Casserole
Change it up from the usual chicken and rice casseroles. "It's shocking how much this recipe makes. I was a little skeptical when I had all my ingredients prepped and was about to start cooking but was pleased when I was cleaning up and saw I had enough for lunch the next day. Thanks for the great recipe! It's an instant classic," says reviewer Archimedes.
Mushroom Lentil Barley Stew
Recipe creator diggergirl says it best: "This crock pot recipe is easy to assemble and needs no attention while it cooks. The flavors blend nicely to give it a wholesome earthy flavor that is unbelievably vegetarian. Serve with garlic bread."