Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice: 5 Must-Try Pumpkin and Barley Recipes

Nothing quite says fall like pumpkin. This versatile gourd brings on the comforting and iconic flavors we associate with fall, while seamlessly merging with any ingredient it is paired with. When partnered with barley, the results, are fall-tastic. Here is a collection of 5 Must-Try Pumpkin and Barley recipes.

1. Pumpkin & Barley Chili

Warm up from those chilly fall days with a comforting chili loaded with delicious flavors.

Pumpkin and Barley Chili
Bring a taste of fall into your home with this simple and delicious chili.
Check out this recipe

2. Pumpkin Bread

Bake up something delicious with this decadent pumpkin with an extra twist- barley flour.

Pumpkin Bread
Fall in love with barley flour and the perfect pairing of pumpkin in a delicious pumpkin bread.
Check out this recipe

3. Barley Stuffed Pumpkin

Highlight the versatility of barley and pumpkin with this barley stuffed pumpkin packed with fun and fresh flavors.

Barley Stuffed Pumpkin
Enjoy this delicious blend of barley and fruit stuffed inside a pumpkin.
Check out this recipe

4. Pumpkin Muffins

Spice up your routine with these pumpkin muffins- loaded with flavor AND nutrition.

Pumpkin Muffins
Check out this recipe

5. Pumpkin & Barley Risotto

Add some flare and flavor to your dinner with a pumpkin and barley risotto.

Pumpkin and Barley Risotto
Check out this recipe
5 Salads You Don’t Want to Miss

5 Salads You Don’t Want to Miss

Salads do not have to be boring! Adding barley to your salads adds another layer of nutrition and dimension of flavor and texture to your meal. Whether it be warm or cold, a barley salad is a perfect addition to your mealtime.

Here are 5 barley salads you don’t want to miss out on!

1. Kale & Apple Barley Salad

Fresh and flavorful, this salad is loaded with all of the essentials- including barley! Make it today.

2. Barley Chop Salad

Packed with vegetables and loaded with nutrition, this chop salad is perfect for any meal, any time. Make it today.

3. Mediterranean Roasted Barley Salad

Roasted vegetables and bold flavors make this salad a diverse addition to any meal. Enjoy as either warm or cold, and make it today.

4. Charred Corn & Zucchini Barley Salad

Fire up your grill and cook up something everyone will enjoy. With the charred corn and roasted zucchini, it will be as if summer never ended. Make it today.

5. Southwest Barley Salad

The perfect combination of fresh ingredients and fun flavors, the Southwest Barley Salad is easy to make and always a treat. Make it today.

Salads don’t have to be boring, add some variety to your mealtimes with barley. For more barley-based salad inspiration, visit our Recipes page.

Barley Bowls: Your New Go-To Grain Bowl

Barley Bowls: Your New Go-To Grain Bowl

We have all heard of a grain bowl but how about a barley bowl? Rather than using rice, farro, millet, or quinoa, change things up by using barley instead! Barley packs a punch with extra fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, elevating your lunch to the next level and giving you the nutrition you need to conquer the day.

Making a barley bowl is as easy as one, two, three. First, layer your bowl with a good serving of barley. Second, add your toppings, load it up with your favorite vegetables and proteins. Finally, top with dressing and enjoy!

Here are 3 of our favorite barley bowls, each packed with flavor and nutrition!

Greek Barley Bowl

The Greek Barley Bowl ties together the flavors of the Mediterranean with the convenience of at-home cooking. This is easy to make and packed full of bold flavors and hearty nutrition. To make:

1. Add cooked barley to the bottom of your bowl. If you are wanting a whole grain, opt for hulled or hulless barley.

2. Top with spinach, cherry tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and capers. For additional protein, add your favorite protein- chicken, tofu, lentils, etc.

3. Drizzle a light vinaigrette of your choice and sprinkle some feta on top. Then, enjoy!

Thai Barley Bowl

Bold flavors, loaded with fresh vegetables and packed with nutrition, this Thai barley bowl is hard to beat. Easy to make and full of fresh ingredients, this will quickly become a go-to lunchtime favorite. To make:

  1. Add cooked barley to the bottom of your bowl. If you are wanting a whole grain, opt for hulled or hulless barley.
  2. Top with kale, red cabbage, cherry tomatoes, and carrots.
  3. Drizzle a peanut sauce dressing for a fresh, bold flavor and enjoy!

MexiBarley Bowl

Lunchtime doesn’t have to be boring! Pack up on proteins, veggies and fiber with this MexiBarley bowl. Fun flavors, easy to make, and loaded up on nutrition, make this today and amp up your day.

  1. Add cooked barley to the bottom of your bowl. If you are wanting a whole grain, opt for hulled or hulless barley.
  2. Top with bell peppers, black beans, corn, red cabbage, and carrots.
  3. Drizzle a vinaigrette of your choice, and enjoy!

Try one of these creations today and amplify your lunch time experience!



By: Caroline Sluyter, Program Director, The Whole Grains Council

When you think of barley, do you picture a big bowl of hearty soup? Does your mental image of barley pretty much end there? You may not be alone, but if your use of barley doesn’t extend beyond your mom’s beef and barley recipe, you’re seriously missing out.

When you think of barley, do you picture a big bowl of hearty soup? Does your mental image of barley pretty much end there? You may not be alone, but if your use of barley doesn’t extend beyond your mom’s beef and barley recipe, you’re seriously missing out. We recently spoke with two of the folks behind the Eat Barley campaign and learned that myths and misconceptions about barley seem to abound. So today, with help from Liz Wilder and Laura Wilder of Eat Barley and the Idaho Barley Commission, we’d like to set the record straight.

An Old Grain Meets New Needs

Using traditional cross-breeding methods, the barley we eat today has been bred to optimize many of the taste and health qualities that consumers are seeking from their grain. For instance, today’s barley has a higher beta-glucan content than older barley varieties. Beta glucans are dietary fibers that offer significant health benefits, promoting gut health, lowering blood cholesterol levels, and improving glucose metabolism. Barley and oats are two of the best sources of beta glucans, and barley has them in abundance – 1 cup of barley contains 2.5 grams of beta glucans. Today’s barley is also chock full of polyphenols, compounds found in many plant foods, which have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Traditional barley varieties are somewhat notorious for their thick, stubborn hull. Most grains grow inside hulls, which protect them from moisture and pest predation, but barley hulls are perhaps the most difficult to peel away from their kernels, making it hard to keep the grain’s bran layer fully intact during the hulling process. Relatively recent developments in breeding have led to the introduction of hulless, or naked varieties of barley which grow without that thick suit of armor. And that brings us to our next fact about barley…

How-to guide for cooking barley flakes

There Are So Many Ways to Purchase Barley – and Many of Them Are Whole Grain

Liz and Laura told us many people don’t know that whole grain barley exists. While it’s true that the pearled barley many people grew up eating is not whole grain, there are lots of ways to buy whole grain barley these days. Here’s a guide to the types you may see. 

  • Hulless Barley is that “naked” barley we were just talking about that grows without a hull. This variety requires extremely minimal processing and does not get polished. It’s safe to assume hulless barley is always whole grain. 
  • Hulled Barley has been lightly processed and polished to remove its tough outer hull, but its bran remains almost entirely intact and therefore it still counts as a whole grain.
  • Pot Barley has been processed and polished more than hulled barley, but less than pearled barley. It’s not as common in the US, but you might see reference to it in old recipes or in recipes from Europe or Australia. It doesn’t count as a whole grain.
  • Pearled Barley isn’t a whole grain since it’s undergone significant polishing to remove all or most of its bran layer. However, unlike other grains which lose most of their nutrients and fiber in the process of refining, the nutrients in barley are more evenly distributed, which means that even pearled barley is a healthy choice (despite not being whole).
  • Barley Flakes are similar to rolled oats and can be cooked into porridge or used in granola or bread. Barley flakes are whole grain as long as they were flaked and rolled using hulled or hulless varieties. 
  • Barley Grits are made by finely chopping barley kernels into pieces. Grits can be cooked into porridge or polenta. Barley grits can be either whole grain or refined. 
  • Barley Flour is perfect for use in baking. Barley flour can be used as a substitute for 25% of the wheat flour in most recipes without requiring other adjustments. Barley flour can be either whole grain or refined.

Depending on the size of the grain selection at your grocery store or natural foods store, you may be able to find these different grain types locally, or they can be purchased online from some of our member companies

Barley Pineapple Jicama Salad, a recipe from our book

It’s Not Just for Soup! 

Cooked barley is pleasantly firm and chewy, making it the perfect base for a grain salad, a tasty pilaf, or a rice substitute in curries or stir-fries. “Barley has a really nutty flavor, but also blends well with other flavors, adapting and thriving in most contexts,” Liz told us. She loves using barley in a mushroom risotto with white wine or in a heavy, tomato-based dish. She also highly recommends cooking barley flakes just as you would oatmeal. “It’s a great way to get used to the flavor and they hold their structure better than oats, so the texture is really nice.”

Laura loves hulless barley, though she recognizes that its cook time (45-60 minutes) can be a barrier for some. She recommends batch cooking and then storing in the refrigerator for a few days or freezing for future use. Using an Instant Pot can also speed up the cook time significantly.

If you’re looking for a few inspirational barley recipes to get you going, here are two of our favorites:

Barley Pineapple and Jicama Salad with Avocado

Strawberry and Barley Scones

Barley: The Whole Grain Your Heart Needs

Barley: The Whole Grain Your Heart Needs

If you could predict your future, would you be doing anything differently? If you knew you were the one in two Americans that would someday have heart disease, would you want to change your lifestyle? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. It is an alarming statistic, but heart disease is being diagnosed at an earlier age than ever. 

Good news! 

February is National Heart Health month, a great time to focus on getting your risk factors under control. Adding in whole grains, such as barley, can help improve high cholesterol and high blood pressure. 

Whole grains include the entire grain seed: bran, germ, and endosperm. If the grain has been cracked, crushed, or flaked, it must retain the same relative proportions of these components to be called whole grain. Examples of whole grains are barley, bulgur, oats, brown rice, buckwheat, corn, and quinoa.

Refined grains have been processed to remove the bran and germ to create a finer texture and improve shelf life. Processing removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Examples of refined grains are sugary cereals, cookies, pastries, white rice, and white pasta. 

The Whole Grains Council recognizes Barley as February’s whole grain of the month, and for a good reason. Barley is a good source of: 

  • Protein
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Niacin
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Selenium
  • Thiamin

In addition to these nutrients, barley is around 17% fiber. To be sure you are getting whole barley, look for the 100% Whole Grain Stamp and barley labeled as whole, hulled, or hull-less, instead of pearled or semi-pearled.

Barley Reduces “Bad” Cholesterol Levels

Due to the fiber present in barley, studies have shown eating barley significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Soluble fiber present in barley keeps your digestion regular and healthy. It also helps reduce the number of cholesterol particles that enter your body by binding to it in the small intestine.  Fiber can move the cholesterol out of the body before it is absorbed.

According to www.lipid.org, eating 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day can help lower total and LDL-cholesterol by 5 to 11 points. Be sure to drink extra water as you increase your daily fiber intake. Fluid needs vary, but 9 to 12 cups of fluid a day are recommended for most healthy people. 

Barley Reduces High Blood Pressure Levels

A diet high in whole grains will be high in total fiber, which helps control weight and blood pressure levels. Whole grains also increase your intake of potassium, which is linked to lower blood pressure, therefore reducing damage to your blood vessels. Barley is naturally low in sodium. Eating a diet low in sodium and exercising 30 minutes a day will also help improve your blood pressure numbers.

Barley is an Inexpensive Addition to Your Plate

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet both recommend including whole grains as part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, the average American eats less than one serving per day, and almost half of all Americans never eat whole grains at all. 

Eating foods rich in soluble fiber is easier than most people think. The recommended fiber intake for adults is 25 g to 35 g daily. One serving, ½ cup of cooked barley has 8 grams of fiber. Here are some tasty ways you can add whole-grain barley to your meals and give yourself a heart-healthy boost:

Barley fruit muffins are the perfect snack- try them today!
  • Breakfast: 1/2 cup cooked whole barley in place of oatmeal, with berries and 2 tbsp ground flax 
  • Lunch: 1 cup chili made with beans and whole-grain barley
  • Snack: 1 small muffin partially made with barley flour
  • Dinner: Replace white rice in soups and casseroles with barley

Put together some healthy habits this month, and your heart will thank you. Expand your cooking skills and be sure to browse all the great recipes at https://www.eatbarley.com/recipes/.  In combination with eating more whole grains, work on eating more fruits and vegetables, exercise 30 minutes a day, and adopting some stress-relieving activities such as meditation and yoga. Together we can reduce the impact heart disease makes in our country and live long, happy lives.

April Bruns RDN, LD