Barley for Breakfast

Try Barley for Breakfast

Almost every morning I make myself oatmeal for breakfast. But recently I bought whole, organic barley (don’t get “pearled” as it’s processed and you lose nutritional value, more on that in a minute) and came home to experiment.

For some reason, the universe believes in dramatically overcooking most foods and everything I looked at told me to cook it for something like 2 hours, which is just plain ridiculous. Who has time for that (besides Julia and Martha)? I gotta cook and get to work!

So the first time I tried it I put 1/3 cup of barley and 2/3 cups of water in a pan and cooked it for about 10 minutes. It came out just fine: chewy, fragrant (smells a bit like a nutty, buttery pasta — or fresh baked bread!) and delicious. I poured it over some strawberries, sprinkled on some flax seeds, and I was in breakfast heaven.

The next time I tried it I put the barley on to soak overnight. When I looked at it the next morning, it had completely absorbed all the water, so I added another 1/3 cup of water, cooked it until that water was mostly absorbed, and again: delicious! More tender this time, and less cooking involved.

In the picture above I’ve also added some blanched, slivered almonds. Sheer delight.

The nutritional value is outstanding. Check this deal (numbers for 1/4 cup):

  • 160 calories
  • 1 g fat (mostly the “good,” monounsaturated kind)
  • no cholesterol
  • 33 carbs
  • 8 g fiber (you get to subtract your fiber from your carbs, woot)
  • 5 g protein

It’s an excellent source of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. And it tastes awesome.

Go ye and try it. And don’t forget to report back!

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2 Responses to Try Barley for Breakfast

  1. Sine Botchen November 1, 2009 at 11:01 pm #

    ok.. i soo gotta try that now.. i was/still am on the south beach kick for the longest (hell, i lost a total of 80 pounds doin it) and one of the biggest things they preached was the “processing” of food. so i started buying steel-cut oats and it is (apparently) the same as barley (cooking-wise), but i found you can do it in the microwave in several short bursts.. nuke ’em in a coffee cup with water for like 50 seconds, wait a couple of minutes and then give ’em another blast, wait a couple of minutes and then repeat. yeah, they come out kinda “crunchy” but at least it’s: a.) edible; b.) a whole lot quicker than boiling for 20-30 minutes. btw, the sbd (south beach diet) book says you can pre-cook this stuff and freeze it.. hmm..

  2. Lisa Creech Bledsoe November 2, 2009 at 10:11 am #

    Yeah, the Zone diet (which is similar to SB) doesn’t favor many carbs, so the few that you do eat need to be unprocessed. I found that when I did my steel cut oats in the microwave I got more goo in them than if I did them stovetop. (I’m against goo.) Today I tried the soak overnight method with the oats, and it was an excellent solution.

    Put 1/3 cup steel cut oats and a bit more than 1/3 cup water to soak overnight. In the morning, add a little more water and cook for about 3 to 5 mins and you’re done! Still chewy and good, less prep time.

    80 pounds! Dang. Good for you. That’s outstanding.

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