This article was originally published in January 2017
With a robust, nutty flavor and chewy texture, barley is a versatile grain that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
It long has been viewed as a nutritious staple: Roman gladiators were called hordearii, which translates to “eaters of barley” or “barley men.” Packed with fiber and a number of trace minerals, barley may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
You’ll find two kinds of barley — hulled and pearl — in our bulk department, along with barley flakes and barley flour. Hulled barley has had the tough, outermost hull removed but still retains its bran, whereas pearl has been polished to remove the bran and therefore cooks quicker but is not considered a whole grain. One cup of cooked barley will yield about four cups cooked.
Think rice pudding but heartier; this breakfast custard is a delicious addition to weekend brunch and even could be served for dessert on a cold night. It’s also versatile: Eat it hot or cold, change up the fruit based on what’s in season and substitute the milk for one that’s nondairy.
A fantastic winter salad, this dish combines pearl barley with roasted beets and fennel along with bright citrus. It’s delicious served warm and satisfying enough to fill you up for lunch.
Chase away the chill with this robust soup that is satisfying but not heavy. Double the batch and freeze extras for an easy weeknight meal.