Are you looking for unique breakfast ideas? Or perhaps you are getting tired of the usual overnight oats or the traditional eggs and toast? If so, then barley recipes for breakfast, such as this savory barley breakfast bowls, is the solution! These barley bowls are topped with garlicky mushrooms, sliced avocado, hard-boiled eggs, and a drizzle of lemon yogurt sauce.
Barley is a highly nutritious grain that is often overlooked as a breakfast food. It is high in dietary fiber and a good source of vitamins and minerals that many of us do not get enough of, including copper and magnesium. Barley also contains a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which has been shown to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
Plus, savory barley breakfast bowls are easy to make once you have the barley on hand. I recommend preparing the barley and other ingredients in advance, so all you need to do is assemble the bowls for a quick and healthy morning meal.
Why Choose Barley Recipes for Breakfast?
In my opinion, barley is an undervalued grain. Compared to oatmeal and other cereals, barley does not get the attention it deserves.
With a chewy texture, nutty flavor, and impressive nutrient profile, barley makes a great addition to any meal, including as barley breakfast bowls.
It is an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and plant-based compounds that may offer health benefits. In particular, hulled barley is an incredibly rich source of dietary fiber, manganese, and selenium. It also contains copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, and certain B vitamins, including B1 and niacin.
Additionally, barley contains a type of soluble fiber known as beta-glucan, which may help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.
So why not enjoy a delicious, nutritious barley recipe for breakfast.
The Difference Between Pearled and Hulled Barley
There are two basic types of barley that you will find on the market: hulled barley and pearled barley. In general, pearled barley is likely the type you will encounter most often in the grocery store. You may also be familiar with pearled barley since it is the kind most often used in soups.
The difference between hulled barley and pearled barley has to do with how these grains are processed.
Hulled barley is made by removing the tough, inedible outer hull from the grain while retaining the bran and starchy inner layer known as the endosperm. Hence the name hulled barley. This type of barley is considered a whole grain since it still has the fibrous, bran layer.
Hulled barley has a golden brown color. It is also chewier and less sticky than pearled barley, which is white and tends to stick together after cooking.
Pearled barley has been polished to remove both the outer hull and bran layer, leaving only the starchy endosperm. This process results in barley that is less chewy and cooks in less time, but that is also slightly lower in fiber. Additionally, some nutrients are lost during the processing of pearled barley.
However, since barley is a high fiber food, pearled barley is still considered an excellent source of dietary fiber.
Both types of barley are traditionally cooked by simmering the grains in water or broth. In general, hulled barley absorbs less liquid than pearled barley and requires an additional 15 to 20 minutes to cook. It also retains its shape better than the pearled barley and does not stick together.
Note that these savory barley breakfast bowls call for pearled barley. However, you can easily substitute the pearled barley for hulled barley depending on what you have on hand.
How to Cook Barley for Barley Breakfast Bowls
- Begin by rinsing the hulled or pearled barley under cool tap water to remove any dirt or debris.
- Combine 1 cup of barley to 3 cups of water in a saucepan.
- Bring the barley and water to a boil over high heat.
- Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the barley is done. For pearled barley, start checking at 30 minutes. For hulled barley, start checking at 45 minutes. The barley is considered cooked when it has tripled in volume and is tender but still chewy.
Note: Hulled barley takes about 45 to 55 minutes to cook and can be simmered for up to 90 minutes, depending on how soft you like your grains. Pearled barley takes about 30 to 35 minutes to cook and can be simmered for up to 45 minutes, again depending on how soft you want it.
What to Consider When Choosing Between Hulled and Pearled Barley
Some things to consider when choosing between hulled and pearled barley are that:
- Hulled barley is a better source of dietary fiber and has more nutrients than pearled barley
- Hulled barley requires 15 to 20 more minutes to cook compared to pearled barley
- Pearled barley releases starch into cooking liquids, which makes it a good thickener for soups and stews.
- Pearled barley is stickier and will stick or clump together after cooking. On the other hand, hulled barley retains its shape during cooking, resulting in individual, separate grains.
- Most recipes call for pearled barley unless otherwise stated.
- Pearled barley is more readily available in grocery stores compared to hulled barley, which may be harder to find.
How to Make Barley Breakfast Bowls
Once you have the barley on hand, assembling these savory barley breakfast bowls is easy. I recommend prepping the barley in advance to save time in the morning.
Barley is an excellent grain for meal prepping, as it can be stored in the fridge for about one week or can be frozen for future use.
To assemble the savory barley breakfast bowls, begin by reheating the barley if it was made in advance. Then top the warm barley with garlicky mushrooms, sliced avocado, and a hard-boiled egg. To finish, drizzle the barley bowls with a lemony yogurt sauce.
Check out the full recipe for savory barley breakfast bowls below.