Barley is a chewy, earthy grain that can benefit your body in several different ways. Healthline reports that consuming barley can possibly assist with weight loss, boost the health of your GI tract, and keep blood sugar levels at bay. There are numerous types of barley, with hulled and pearl being the most common types. You can also incorporate it into your diet by using barley grits or flakes! If you’ve never tried this wonderful grain, now is the time.

It is relatively easy to cook, especially if you purchase pearl barley because manufacturers remove the bran for quicker and easier cooking. However, hulled barley is considered a whole grain; since it is less processed, it takes longer to cook. Each type has pros and cons, so deciding what is best for you and your family is essential. Nevertheless, you won’t need to search hard for recipes that include this grain because we have 21 fantastic options for you here. Try the Layered Mexican Barley Casserole, Pearl Barley Salad, or another option from this list, and see for yourself how delicious and nutritious it is!

1. Barley, Spinach, and Mushrooms

Here is a delicious side dish for you to try out. It pairs with various main courses ranging from grilled salmon, roasted chicken, or even tofu. This recipe contains tons of nutrient-rich ingredients such as mushrooms, garlic, spinach, white beans, and, of course, barley. This is an easy stovetop recipe you can make while you have your main course in the oven or slow cooker. We suggest sprinkling on extra parmesan cheese when serving!

2. Barley Risotto with Italian Sausage and Peppers

A Communal Table created this luscious main course dish, including barley, meat, and veggies. Some of the most important ingredients include Turkey Italian sausage, quick-cooking barley, onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. However, it also has some other ingredients to give it flavor. The garlic, cooking wine, parsley, and low-sodium chicken broth provide plenty of umami flavor to the meal. We suggest sprinkling on crushed red pepper flakes if you want some spice!

3. Barley Pilaf

We love an excellent pilaf recipe, which is why this unique dish stands out to us. The main component is pearl barley, but it also has carrots, peas, parsley, garlic, and more. You can also top it with parsley leaves when you serve it. This is a wonderful side dish to protein, like chicken, beef, or turkey. The turmeric provides it with a vibrant color that upgrades its presentation.

4. Layered Mexican Barley Casserole

Layered casseroles are suitable for serving at get-togethers since they have a gorgeous, appetizing look. This specific casserole is ultra-healthy since it combines chicken broth, barley, onions, peppers, and ground turkey. What makes this dish so unique is the chili powder, oregano, fresh salsa, and cheese that you can see layers of as you slice into it. For best results, top it with green onions, which provide a bright and refreshing finishing touch.

5. Mushroom Barley Soup

With carrots, onions, and mushrooms, this soup gives you a nice serving of vegetables. However, it also has quick-cooking barley, milk, and beef broth, as well as seasonings. When all of these ingredients meld, you end up with a savory soup that leaves you feeling satisfied. Finding a quick soup recipe that you can whip up in about 30 minutes is always nice! Don’t forget to decorate it with fresh herbs before you enjoy it.

6. Tuscan Bean and Barley Stew with Kale

Here is a vegan-friendly option for folks who can’t have any dairy or animal products in their diet. Although this stew is vegan, anybody can have it, and everyone will enjoy it! This fantastic recipe by Skinny Spatula contains celery, garlic, cannellini beans, pearl barley, and vegetable stock. There’s also an array of seasonings and herbs, as well as chopped kale. This is the perfect stew to serve alongside a panini!

7. Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables Barley

If you like Mediterranean-style food, this exquisite roasted vegetable barley recipe will catch your eye. It has a colorful, gorgeous display but tastes even better than it looks. It has nutritious components like red onion, bell pepper, pearl barley, and zucchini. Its flavor comes from the harissa spices, smoked paprika, garlic, lemon juice, and more. The best part is arguably the feta cheese and the delicious toasted pine nuts you can sprinkle on top before eating it.

8. Pea Barley Risotto

Peas and barley are a fantastic match because of their contrasting textures. Barley is nice and tender and chewy, while peas are plump and softer when you chew them. This vegan-friendly side dish has green onion, garlic, vegetable broth, and white wine to flavor the main components. Remember that it only makes two to three servings, so if you plan to make it for your family, adjust the amounts!

9. Fall Harvest Barley Bowl

Cait’s Plate provided this recipe, including vegetables, fruit, chickpeas, nuts, and cheese. As you can see, this is a highly versatile dish that hits many food groups. With fresh arugula, pearl barley, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and candied pecans, every single bite is a heavenly experience. The goat cheese is creamy and balances the crispy textures of the dish. As far as dressing goes, mix olive oil and apple cider vinegar, which is healthier than store-bought dressing!

10. Pearl Barley and Pumpkin Risotto

You can use pumpkins for more than just desserts! This wonderful dish is just one example. It has diced red kuri pumpkin, pearl barley, vegetables, and cooking cream. The red onion and garlic are wonderful additions. You can enjoy this as a main course since it is so rich! It is even suitable for meal prep, so try making it in advance and taking it for lunch!

11. Tomato Pearl Barley Risotto

Here is another risotto recipe, except this one is tomato-based. This is a stovetop recipe, so you will need a large stew pot. Some of the best ingredients in the dish are cherry tomatoes, red wine, pearl barley, carrots, and celery. However, although you only need small amounts of fresh and dry herbs, you definitely want to include them since they upgrade the natural flavors of the ingredients.

ww Beef and barley soup in white bowl
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12. Slow Cooker Beef & Barley Soup

Our recipe for Beef & Barley Soup is WW-friendly, and you can slow-cook it all day while you are away from home. It has all the flavors of a classic beef stew, such as carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, beef broth, and beef. The tomato paste, Bay leaves, Italian seasoning, and other ingredients accompany the barley, giving the soup an intense, rich flavor that pleases your palate. We suggest serving this with dinner rolls or biscuits!

13. Mexican Street Corn Barley

Enjoy all of the traditional flavors of scrumptious Mexican street corn with this recipe by Cooking with Carlee. In this dish, you’ll find pearl barley, corn, green chilies, cilantro, and green onions. However, it wouldn’t be a Mexican street corn dish without mayo, queso fresco, sour cream, lime juice, and chili powder! Your taste buds will surely appreciate the harmony of creamy, spicy, and savory flavors of this recipe!

14. Chicken Soup with Barley

Bulk up your chicken soup with the addition of pearl barley, which can replace traditional recipes that include noodles. This is a wonderful meal for the autumn and winter months when you want a comforting supper. This soup has warm flavors of thyme, chicken broth, garlic, and paprika. Your body receives plenty of nutrients thanks to the chicken, onions, carrots, and celery! We suggest serving it with whole grain crackers that you can dip in the soup.

15. Barley with Lemon and Kale

Lemon and kale have always been a top-tier match, but when you include barley in the mix, it gets even better. This recipe has minimal ingredients, making it ideal for folks who are new to cooking or just don’t have the time to measure out a bunch of ingredients. The main components consist of pearl barley, kale, onions, garlic, lemon juice, and seasonings. Use this as a side dish, or turn it into a plant-based main course!

16. Barley Salad with Lemon Dressing

Did you know that you can also eat barley when it’s cold? As long as you cook it beforehand, it works as a terrific salad ingredient. This citrusy salad holds flavors of cucumber, tomatoes, fresh lemon juice, and parsley. The chickpeas and the barley supply substance, and the avocado provides a creamy texture. Serve this with your favorite sandwich or burger!

17. Roast Chicken Breasts on Barley Risotto

Change up your roast chicken dinner by serving the chicken on a bed of barley instead of rice or noodles. This dish has astounding levels of flavor due to the rich chicken stock, garlic, leeks, pearl barley, and browned, skin-on chicken breasts. The recipe splits into two main components, which are the barley risotto and the chicken. This is an excellent option whether you want something more elegant for your everyday cooking or a nice dinner party.

18. Pearl Barley Salad

Flavor The Moments posted this noteworthy recipe for a barley salad. Just like the other salad recipe, it takes advantage of how lemon complements the grain’s natural taste. However, it also has feta cheese, chickpeas, green beans, fresh dill, and extra virgin olive oil. The oil prevents the components from sticking together and clumping up, so it is much needed. Enjoy this salad, warm or cold!

19. Pearl Barley and Kale Salad

Here is a healthy recipe that functions as either a side dish or an entree! It has tangy ingredients such as pepperoncini, kalamata olives, red onion, and garlic. The salad itself has plenty of nourishing ingredients: chickpeas, bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, and celery that you can enjoy with the barley. Not to mention, there’s a recipe for homemade vinaigrette, which has pepperoncini juice, Dijon mustard, lemon, and other ingredients to create a zesty dressing.

20. Sweet Potato and Barley Bake

Utilize your barley in an autumnal casserole! With terrific flavors of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and thyme, it really has a deep, herbal flavor. Additionally, the dish includes sweet potatoes, corn, and black beans, which make it heartier, so you don’t need to serve this with a side dish. However, if you wish, you can serve it alongside a soup or salad.

21. Vegetarian Barley Burgers

Who would have thought to form barley into a burger patty? This clever recipe is by Yummy Addiction. It features a homemade veggie patty that you make with sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, onions, barley, breadcrumbs, and more. Use whichever burger buns you wish and load them up with avocado slices, lettuce, brie cheese, and caramelized onions!

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21 Beautiful Barley Recipes

Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Warm and nourishing chicken and barley soup.
A warm and nourishing soup for the winter months.


  • 500 g. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped, 100 g.
  • 2 carrots, chopped, 200 g.
  • 2 celery stalks large, chopped, 60 g.
  • 4 cups chicken broth, 1 l
  • ½ cup pearl barley, 90 g.
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the pot.
  • Add the chicken broth, pearl barley, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender. Serve hot.


Just 2 WW points per serving.


Serving: 503gCalories: 278kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 34gFat: 3.7gSaturated Fat: 0.8gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 271mgPotassium: 770mgFiber: 6.1gSugar: 4gCalcium: 48mgIron: 1.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @drizzlemeskinny or tag #drizzlemeskinny!

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