Nov 192013

Barley is a wonderfully nutritious and versatile cereal grain with a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy texture. Its appearance resembles wheat berries, although it is slightly lighter in color, and is prepared similar to cooking rice. In other words, it’s easy—so there’s no reason why it can’t be a part of a nutritious and healthy diet, unless you have dietary restrictions.

I have to admit I haven’t used barley in years—probably because I haven’t made a turkey in as many. I used to use the leftovers and stock to make a nutritious Turkey Mushroom Barley soup. It was loaded with onions, garlic, carrots, celery—all the fixings of a great post Thanksgiving soup.

What is the Nutrition in Barley?

One cup of cooked barley has about 198 calories, is fat and cholesterol free, has 45 gm. carbohydrate, >1gm sugars, 3.6 gm.of protein and a whopping 6.2 grams of fiber. It is a good source of potassium and iron.

What are Barley’s Health Benefits

According to WebMD Barley is used for lowering blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol, and for promoting weight loss. It is also used for digest complaints, including diarrhea, stomach pain, and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Barley is an excellent food choice for those concerned about type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes because the grain contains essential vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Research shows that barley beta-soluble fiber promotes healthy blood sugar by slowing glucose absorption.

How can I add Barley to my diet?

Think barley’s just for soup? You’re in for a delicious surprise. This wholesome grain adds a delightful nutty flavor, pleasant chewy texture and fiber to hot and cold dishes of all kinds. You can substitute barley for rice in almost any dish, and it is well suited for vegetarian and vegan diets.

• Stuffed tomatoes or peppers
• Try a barley mushroom risotto or pilaf
• Add to chili, soups, or stews
• Use as a part of a veggie burger
• Make a chilled tropical fruit salad using papaya, mango, and pineapple with a squeeze of lime, ginger and honey. Fold in barley.
• Buy barley flakes and have a hot cereal.

Barley is available in natural food stores in the bulk bins or the baking section. Some regular grocers stock barley in the natural foods aisle or next to the beans and lentils.

The most common type is pearled barley. Quick cooking barley is just as healthy, and only takes only 10 minutes to cook.

Barley can also be pre-soaked in water overnight to cut down the cooking time, reducing it to 15-20 minutes instead of the standard 30-40 minutes.

With Thanksgiving upon us, try this weeks recipe for a warm Barley and Brussel sprout salad, as a side dish, or used topped with warm turkey leftovers and cranberries….if you have any left!


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