Barley is a grain that is rich in a variety of different nutrients. As a whole grain, it is a complex carbohydrate that is much healthier for you than any type of processed bread or pasta. Additionally, it has a distinctive and appealing taste and a variety of uses in multiple types of dishes of varying styles and traditions.
Preparing barley can be an easy task. While you cannot eat it raw, barley can be prepared by itself by boiling it. Many people find this to be a bit plain and occasionally too bland, so it’s perhaps best used as an added ingredient in a variety of other dishes. Read on for a few of the most tasty ways to include barley in your meals.
1. Barley Soups
While barley soup is one of the most common methods of preparing this grain, there are a host of different options that you have before you when it comes to what type of soup to use. A traditional chicken and barley or beef and barley soup is perhaps the best known, but other types of soups, featuring yogurt bases, cream bases and more, will all play an excellent host to barley. Barley adds a unique texture and a mild flavor to any soup that it’s in.
2. As a Substitute for Rice
Barley can be used as a substitute in certain rice dishes and tastes as good or even better. Try adding barley instead of rice in a risotto for a unique texture and taste combination. Cook plain barley as if it were rice to use as a side for Asian dishes or alongside chicken. Add in vegetable stock and mixed vegetables or meats to produce a tasty side dish that provides a wholesome carbohydrate load, and which is distinctive from a plain rice side as well.
3. As a Tea or Juice
Juicing barley preserves the flavor of the grain without eliminating any of the nutritional benefits. Barley tea is a common drink that mixes the flavor of barley along with the subtle flavors of tea. it is a wholesome alternative to a standard tea and can be either relaxing at the end of the day or a great way to wake up in the morning.
4. In a Salad
Lightly cook barley and then mix it in with a salad for a bit of carbohydrate benefit. Because most salads are light on carbohydrates, this is a good way to incorporate a healthy and nutritious addition into a standard salad, while simultaneously adding in a unique texture and flavor. Beet salad is another popular type of salad to include barley in as well.
5. As Breakfast
Many people enjoy substituting barley for oatmeal or cereal. Mix it in with milk and honey or sugar and microwave it for a few seconds to help soften it up. This is a nutritious alternative to standard cereals.