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Pearl Barley - favorite recipes?

OK, I love barley. I just made a quick beef barley vegetable soup a few days ago with leftover pot roast. Mom will get some packaged up in containers for her freezer.

But how else do you use barley other than in soup? I've seen a couple of recipes for a barley risotto, including a barley butternut squash risotto I might make this weekend.

I've seen it for salads as well, although they seem more summery to me, like a couscous salad.

How else do you use it? Any favorite recipes?

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  1. Sorry, not a recipe, but I made cabbage rolls with barley for the rice a couple of times. Shredded carrots, onion or scallions, the smallest cabbage leaves shredded, small chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower. I didn't add meat, but you certainly could. I'm pretty sure I used chicken stock to braise. As you know, you should probably use fully cooked barley. It won't get mushy even after the braise, and it would never cook from the raw state before the rolls dissolved (I favor Savoy).

    There's always mushroom/barley soup and lamb/barley soup or a combination of the two. Hey, it's soup weather!

    1 Reply
    1. re: nemo

      The lamb barley soup was what Mom was *supposed* to get, but it's a bit expensive for me right now, so she'll "make do" with the beef barley soup. :-)

    2. It's traditional in the UK to add it to some stews and casserole dishes - like this one:

      And,as you've already spotted, it works really well as a risotto

      1 Reply
      1. re: Harters

        Ooh, Harters, that lamb shank hotpot looks great! Now to keep my eyes peeled for a sale on them. Thanks!

      2. barley is lovely cooked like risotto, especially with fresh and dried mushrooms.

        4 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Oh, my dear ghg, Supreme Highness of Googledom, how do I ♥ thee? Let me count the ways. :-)

            Both the Moroccan Chickpea Barley Salad and Curried Barley with Raisins and Almonds sounds great! Thank you, m'dear! These recipes should clear out the 2 bags of barley I have!

            1. re: LindaWhit

              anything for you, my friend! i had a feeling you'd like those :) i'm big on the Moroccan spices & curry - the flavors work really well with the earthiness of the barley.

            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Just made the curry/raisin/almond barley dish; very very nice. Thanks!

          2. Sometimes I just eat it like rice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ipsedixit

              We do too. I often cook it in broth though, just to add a bit of extra flavour.

            2. I love barley as well Linda and made a yummy soup from the COTM last weekend that won my barley-hating mr bc over. Admittedly, there were a lot of other ingredients in the soup, but it was a start so I'll follow this thread w interest.

              The first unusual application of barley that came to mind for me was barley water. I lived in England for a couple of years and barley water was a pretty common beverage. I especially enjoyed the one flavoured with lemon. I did a quick google search and see there's now an orange version as well which I'll bet would be would be very tasty. This drink is especially refreshing over ice in the summer time. I'm betting the lemon version would be lovely w some fresh mint! I did find a recipe from Alton Brown jic this holds any appeal:


              I've bookmarked it myself as I'd like to give this a try in the summer . . . maybe w lime or basil & lime....

              I also thought of a dish I've had flagged for some time for a barley side dish. Not sure if you have this book but I thought the recipe sounded tasty:
              Barley with spinach and shallots from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian: Over 700 recipes and ingredients from all over the globe by Madhur Jaffrey

              Finally, I purchased Good to the Grain last year and recall there were recipes using barley flour...something I'd never heard of prior to that.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                The barley with spinach and shallots sounds good! I don't have that vegetarian cookbook, but I do have Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" - and now that I have finally unpacked the cookbooks, I have easy access to it! Don't know why I didn't think to pull out that and several other vegetarian cookbooks to see what's what as it relates to pearl barley - thanks for the idea!

              2. I have made this Beef and Barley Chili with good results.


                1 Reply
                1. re: valerie

                  I like the idea of adding barley to chili as well - thanks, valerie!

                2. I call my favourite pearl barley Chinese Chestnut Chicken. I measure out and wash some pearl barley into my rice cooker. I measure the water for barley and add the ingredients: a coarsley chopped stick of chinese sausage 'lap cheong'; some dried shitake mushrooms (with stems removed); some prepared chestnuts finally I add some chicken thigh pieces. I stock up on foil packs of prepared when I'm in Chinese grocery stores. When the 'casserole' is cooked, I drizzle some oyster sauce and fold in and enjoy. It makes me think of my mom, so it's real comfort food.

                  1. Sorry folks, I couldn't resist.

                    Pearl Barley??? She had a great voice but I didn't know she was a good cook also.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mucho gordo

                      ROFLMAO!!! Nicely played, mg - nicely played. Tee hee!

                      1. Barley is easily my favourite grain. My favourite recipes are ones from an almost infinite number of variations of a stew where you cook the barley fairly slowly, by allowing it to just simmer for a while with a ratio of 4 parts water to each part barley. The water can also be almost any sort of stock - the best ones are lamb stock, beef stock and mushroom stock.

                        To that you add some diced vegetables - many things work; carrots and mushrooms work especially well and there are many, many others depending upon your personal preference, and either a diced meat (which can be either precooked or not - but precooked usually turns out slightly nicer) or a bean - peas are excellent and so are lentils, but again most beans are suitable.

                        You can add verious spices/ herbs; this depends upon what slant you want to give it; some good combinations are: cumin and garlic; chile powder and coriander leaf (cilantro); pepper and parsley; nutmeg, ginger, and pepper.

                        Of all, I suppose I find lamb or better still mutton, carrots, celery, peas, pepper, and parsley to be the very nicest of all, but there are so many good ones it's hard to choose. The basic theme, however is clear; it's tremendously satisfying right now, during winter.

                        1. I love the Barley Risotto from the Jerusalem cookbook.


                          Hearty, Tomatoey and Smokey.

                          1 Reply
                          1. Cholent. Pearl barley, potato, lima beans, beef if wanted. Slow cooked for many hours. Winter delight. Eat it after you have taken care of everything because after you will want a nap. Perfect for warming the kitchen and wonderful aroma when you are snowed and frozen in.

                            Many recipes online.

                            1. Growing up in the Alps, there were four items to be found in our meals on a regular basis:

                              1. Fresh Milk.
                              2. Cheese.
                              3. Barley.
                              4. Potatoes.

                              This dish is found everywhere in the mountains, under a number of different names, such as Graupensuppe, or Minestra d' Orzo.

                              Great year round, but especially when it is cold. Easy to prepare in about 60 minutes.

                              3 ounces Speck, or smoked Bacon
                              1 small Leek
                              2 stalks Celery
                              2 medium Carrots
                              2 medium Potatoes
                              1 bunch Italian Parsley
                              1 cup Pearled Barley
                              1 Onion
                              2 cloves Garlic
                              1 Bay leaf
                              8 cups Beef broth
                              2 tbl Olive Oil
                              Salt & fresh ground Pepper to suit your taste

                              1.) Cut the Speck or Bacon into thin strips.
                              2.) Soak, and clean the Leek and Celery, slicing thin.
                              3.) Slice the Carrots and dice the Potatoes.
                              4.) Saute the Speck in oil. Add the vegetables.
                              5.) After 5-8 minutes, add the Barley, broth, and bay leaf.
                              6.) Bring it up to a boil.
                              7.) Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 minutes.
                              8.) Remove the bay leaf and serve with chopped parsley.

                              When the snows are heavy, I've used Bressaola I keep in the freezer to replace Speck. This is alpine air cured beef that is pressed together in wood slates. One 2 pound piece has been known to last 2 years in our freezer, shaved into slices little by little for meals.

                              This soup is excellent at mid-day as an energy starter, or in the evening with fresh hot bread and a glass of good white wine by the fire.

                              1. Lentil barley pilaf with spinach- i add more raw veggies (shredded carrots, cherry tomatoes, more spinach) and take for lunches. Keeps great in the fridge.

                                This barley Khichdi has some great spicing, very comforting dish: