Pearl Barley and Its Benefits

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Pearl barley is a great alternative to incorporate more fiber into your diet as it cooks way faster than other types of barley. This is because it comes pre-steamed, and its hull and bran have been removed. But still contains many of the micronutrients as brown and white rice. Nevertheless, it is worth a try because even if it does have less fiber than hulled barley, it adds convenience. If it is easier to cook, it is easier to eat and try!

Pearl Barley and Its Benefits

Although barley is not used a lot in the US, it is still a healthy grain that contains many nutrients. Some of them are thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium.

Pearled barley retains most of these nutrients but, because it does not have its bran, it is not a whole grain. It has more magnesium and zinc than white rice and twice the calcium.

Pearl barley is still great to add to your diet, it is mainly composed of carbohydrates, out of these, 3.8 grams come from dietary fiber, more than brown rice with 1.6 grams of dietary fiber. Take this into account for your macros when incorporating it into your diet!

Include Pearl Barley in Your Diet

The main issue with barley, as with all other grains, is that it contains gluten. This means it is not suitable for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. But it has other health benefits; barley includes a specific type of carbohydrates (called beta-glucan) that helps to decrease the cholesterol levels in your body and improves blood sugar control.

I suggest you start with one serving and see how you feel. If you do not experience any symptoms, then go ahead and continue adding a bit more. This is excellent advice for any new food implemented in your daily meal!


If you have a gluten intolerance, try this Gluten-Free Triple Berry Almond Crisp Recipe.

How to Cook Pearl Barley

Barley with Lemon and Kale Recipe

This is an excellent idea for a main veggie dish or a side dish to accompany many meals. It will take you three-quarters of an hour, and it will yield four medium-sized servings. 


We chose to include kale because of its high fiber content that will balance out well with pearl barley. You can exchange it for spinach or other green of the sort. Check this article out to find out about the differences between them!


  • ½ cup of pearl barley
  • 1 lb of fresh kale
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 cups of salted water
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • olive oil for cooking and tossing


How to Prepare Healthy Pearl Barley With Kale and Lemon


  • Boil the salted water and add the barley. It will need to cook for 45 minutes or until it’s tender. Once it is done, I recommend you drain it through a mesh sieve and then leave it to drain a few minutes on top of the pot. This way, any excess water will not end up in your dish and make it soggy.


  • Chop the onions and add them to a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sautee them for 10 minutes, or until they have caramelized.


  • Crush the garlic and add it to your onions. Toss them together for a few minutes. 


  • Add your pepper flakes, followed by the kale. At first, it will seem like it is too much, but trust me, it cooks down A LOT.


  • Cook it all together for 5 to 7 minutes or until the kale is tender and wilted and then remove it from the heat.


  • Once the kale is done, add the drained barley together with the lemon zest and juice. Season it with salt and pepper and add a dash of olive oil before serving.

What do you think about pearl barley? Try it out and let us know how you like it!

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Written by Donald Giddings

Donald Giddings is founder and editor in chief at Green Living Zone. A lifelong sustainability enthusiast, Donald is always looking for the best way to live in harmony with nature. When he is not trying out new eco-friendly recipes, he writes engaging content about green, sustainable ways to maintain your home, body, and soul, readily sharing his abundant experience with other green living aficionados.

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