Low Glycemic Barley Recipes

     Barley recipes can be very savory and barley actually is a very tasty grain with a nutty flavor.    It has an interesting texture and goes well with meat or vegetables in casseroles and in soups.

     It’s certainly nutritious, although pearl barley, which is what is widely available, has the hull removed which is where a lot of nutrients are.   It has some protein, iron and lots of fiber.    Look for whole barley and soak it before cooking for an hour or so to make it easier to digest.

     This is one of our printable low glycemic index recipes.

     I think the only reason people don’t cook more with barley is we are just so used to eating rice which is high glycemic. When you’re on a low glycemic eating plan you need to get to know barley. It has a very low glycemic index.

     Whatever you do with rice you can also do with barley. It combines well with nuts, dried fruit and mushrooms in the recipe below. It could make a main dish. It’s wonderful on it’s own with a salad or with roasted vegetables.

Barley is the perfect substitute for rice when controlling your blood sugar.

  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 6 green onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 T. fresh
  • 1/2 cup barley
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup raisins

     Sauté butter in 2 quart casserole on the stove until melted. Stir in mushrooms, onions, walnuts and thyme. Cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the barley and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in the liquid and the raisins, cover and cook for 35 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4.

     Whole barley is highly nutritious and contains betaglucans which are fiber components that reduce absorption of fats and cholesterol. It also contains fat soluble antioxidants related to vitamin E called tocopherols that reduce cholesterol synthesis in the liver.

Barley Salad With Green Beans

  • 8 oz. trimmed green beans
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 T. chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cups cooked barley

     Cook the barley first: 2 cups water: 1 cup water. Boil water with a little salt, add barley, cover and simmer for about 35 - 40 minutes or until water is absorbed. Drain the barley, toss with a vinaigrette, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

     Cook the green beans in salted water that has been brought to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain well and pat dry. Toss the beans with basil, yogurt, salt and pepper. At this point you can cover the beans and refrigerate. When both beans and barley are chilled toss together and serve.

     Serves 4.

   Two barley recipes to get you started on your low glycemic grain adventures. Barley can help you reduce your cholesterol and it's a great substitute for rice!


* These 2 recipes are modified from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.



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