Whole grain barley was grown as an ancient crop but because it has a low gluten content wheat became the superior choice for bread-making. Pearl barley isn't technically a whole grain as it's hulled to remove its outer layer however, barley is a highly nutritious ingredient that can be incorporated into a variety of dishes. It is a great source of fibre, protein, and several key vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6, magnesium, and iron.
It's an excellent substitute for rice or couscous and can even replace breadcrumbs in stuffing for roast meats or vegetables.
Here are some additional ways to enjoy barley:
- Add cooked barley to salads for a satisfying crunch and boost of fibre.
- Use barley as a base for grain bowls, topped with roasted vegetables and a protein source like grilled chicken or tofu.
- Make a barley risotto by cooking barley in a mixture of broth and white wine, and stirring in parmesan cheese and sautéed mushrooms.
- Use barley flour in baking for a nutty flavour and added fibre. It works well in bread, muffins, and pancakes.