Since half the members of my family seem to always be on some kind of Paleo or otherwise bread deficient diet, I recently found myself scrounging through the cupboards in search of something – not wheat based – that could satisfy my carbohydrate longings. I didn’t want beans, or quinoa, or rice… Options were looking sort of bleak and then suddenly I thought, “What about barley!” I dug past some packages of beleaguered pasta and there it was, at the bottom of the basket faithfully waiting to be found. I remembered of all the winters it had bolstered up beef and chicken soup for our family. How perfectly it retained its lovely pearly little shape while sitting there unappreciated. Mmmm, those moist, chewy, nutty tasting little seeds. I don’t know why I don’t make it more often. Besides the fact that it is delicious, filling and four times more fibrous than oats, it also has a host of other benefits. Its number three on Dr. Perricones list of super-foods, and tops my list of pasta replacements, which is hard to do. Barley can go anywhere other grains can go, in pilaf, breads, salads, soups, and more.
I tweaked a recipe on the back of the bag last weekend, leaving out the cheese and adding additional mushrooms and chicken broth and it was spectacular both fresh and reheated.
If you are busy (who’s not?) here is a great slow cooker recipe
One cup is about 193 calories – pretty slim for a grain that can help stabilize blood sugar, help reduce cholesterol and is high in B complex vitamins and iron. The fiber makes it great for your digestive system, and also helps curb appetite by breaking down slower and leaving you feeling full longer. (Love that!) Add to all of this the fact that same fiber helps protect against colon cancer and I’d say this good old grain is one worth moving to the front of the cupboard.