Up until recently, I wouldn't have had an answer for you either. Barley salad? Who on earth eats pearl barley other than my grandmother? She actually never really made it into a salad. She usually added it to her vegetable soups and I stopped eating those after she inadvertently poisoned me with MSG.
Yes, barley has been in my life a little bit of late, ever since the man-panion accidentally ordered a 25kg bag of the stuff. I am new to the world of barley as it is a gluten-containing grain and I tend to stay away from them as much as I can. Now, gluten from a whole grain such as this has absolutely no effect on my health at this point. Kind of amazing considering that at one point, rice was the only grain I seemed able to tolerate. Oh this body... it sure can heal.
So if you are sensitive to gluten- you can totally make this with whatever grain suits your fancy. Most often in the store, you'll find pearl barley, which means the outer hull/husk has been removed. This makes it quicker to cook, but will have far less of that important fibre punch. Barley in its hulled form contains the most amount of nutrition but will take a little longer to cook.
Factoids on Barley
- It's a low glycemic grain making it a super great option for any diabetics, hypoglycemic or just sugar junkies in general (which let's be honest, is most of us).
- It's a high fibre grain so it helps rid the body of waste and keeps things moving tres regularis.
- Super powered source of antioxidants which keeps us looking young and fresh. Plastic surgery nonsense aside- when we look young and fresh on the outside, chances are good we are looking that way on the inside too!
Most often, I believe nutritional studies are redundant and useless. For example:
"For medical use barley is being researched for its ability to help alleviate diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity. Some evidence suggests that barley seed products in the diet may improve blood sugar levels in individuals with diabetes, possibly because the fiber in barley seeds delays stomach emptying and slows down the absorption of carbohydrates from foods. Like oatmeal, barley seeds contain both soluble and insoluble types of fiber that may help to lower cholesterol. Studies have shown that individuals with barley in their diet experienced reductions in their total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL - the bad cholesterol), or triglyceride levels. Additionally, barley may assist in weight loss because it acts as an appetite suppressant making people feel like they have eaten more than they really have. Barley seeds may also protect against colon cancer".
Really? We need this to be studied. It's common sense so go with it.
Here is my yummy in the tummy Barley Salad.
Barley Caper Cuddles Salad
1/2 cup barley, soaked 6-8 hours
1 1/4 cups water
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 sweet potato, cubed
1/2 zucchini, cubed
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs tamari
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbs capers (could use olives as an option)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1-2 Tbs olive oil
sea salt to taste
- Rinse soaked grains thoroughly
- Add grains to pot with water, onion, celery, sweet potato, garlic, zucchini, mushrooms and tamari.
- Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for about 40-50 mins, until water absorbed and grains are soft.
- Once cooked, remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.
- Stir in capers, olive oil, fresh herbs, lemon and add sea salt to taste.
- Serve warm or at room temperature
Try these other great recipes using Barley Flour!
Question Of The Day: Is there any grain you are dying to try, or would love to see used in more recipes? Challenge me or share your own attempts!