20 Best Pearl Barley Substitutes | Gluten-Free Alternatives

Pearl barley is a delicious and nutritious option to consider. Try it in soups, stews, casseroles, or as a healthy alternative to rice or pasta. You can also find pearl barley flour, which can be used in baking or to make gluten-free bread and pastries.

Looking for a Pearl barley substitute that will be virtually indistinguishable from your dish, go with my favorite alternatives list; all are healthy and nutritious as pearl barley is also gluten-free.

What is Pearl Barly? What is pearled barley used for?

Pearl barley is a type of grain that is often used in soups and other dishes. It has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Pearl barley is a good source of fiber and protein, and it can also help to regulate blood sugar levels. Pearl barley is available at most grocery stores.

To cook pearl barley, simply simmer it in water for 25-30 minutes.

Once cooked, add it to soups or stews, or use it as a side dish. You can also add pearl barley to salads or make a pilaf with vegetables and herbs. Pearl barley is a versatile grain that can be used in many different ways.

20 Best Pearl Barley Substitutes

1. Millet

If you’re looking for a gluten-free alternative to pearl barley, try millet. This ancient grain is a good source of fiber and minerals and has a mild, nutty flavor. Millet can be used in place of pearl barley in most recipes, so it’s a great way to add variety to your diet.

if you're looking for a gluten-free alternative to pearl barley then try millet

To cook millet, rinse it well and then simmer in water or broth for about 20 minutes. Once it’s cooked, you can use it in soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish. You can also fluff it up and serve it like rice. Experiment with different ways of cooking millet until you find a method that you like.

Try out- Best Millet flour Substitutes

2. Sorghum 

Sorghum is a grassy plant that is native to Africa. It is used as a grain and for making syrup. Sorghum is drought-tolerant and can be grown in areas where other crops would fail. 

The grain can be ground into flour or popped like popcorn. Sorghum syrup is made by boiling the juice from the crushed stalks of the plant. It is used as a sweetener or flavoring in many foods.

Sorghum can be utilized as an alternative to pearl barley in many recipes. It has a similar texture and flavor, making it a good choice for those who are looking for a gluten-free option. Sorghum is also high in fiber and minerals, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

3. Whole Barley

As a grain, barley is high in fiber and protein, making it a healthy addition to any diet. It’s also relatively easy to cook with and can be used in various dishes. Some of the best ways to incorporate barley into your meals:

1. Use it as a rice substitute(arborio rice). Barley makes a great alternative to rice in stir-fries, pilafs, and even risotto. Just cook it according to the package directions, and then add it to your dish in place of the rice.

2. Make a hearty soup or stew. Barley gives soups and stews a filling, satisfying texture. Try adding it to vegetable soup or beef stew for extra heartiness.

3. Use it in place of oatmeal. Barley makes a great hot breakfast cereal, especially on chilly mornings. Just cook it according to the package directions and then top with your favorite fruits, nuts, and spices.

4. Add it to salads. Cooked barley is a great way to add bulk and texture to salads. Try adding it to a grain salad or using it as a bed for roasted vegetables.

5. Make barley flour pancakes. If you’re looking for a hearty, whole-grain pancake, look no further than barley flour pancakes. Just substitute barley flour for all-purpose flour in your favorite pancake recipe and enjoy!

To substitute whole barley for pearl barley. Soak the barley in cold water for at least 12 hours, preferably overnight. Drain and rinse the barley, then place it in a saucepan with 1.5 times its volume of fresh cold water.

Bring to the boil over high flame, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 30–40 minutes until tender but still with a little bite.

The cooked barley can be used in soups, stews, salads, or as a side dish. It can also be ground into flour and used in baking.

Barley flour can be used to make bread, cakes, biscuits, and other baked goods. It can also be used as a thickener for soups and stews.

4. Use buckwheat instead of pearl barley

Buckwheat is another gluten-free substitute for pearl barley, which is a grain that is packed with nutrients. It can be used in various ways, including as a flour for baking, in hot cereals, or as a rice substitute. Buckwheat is also a good source of fiber and protein.

Buckwheat is an excellent substitute for pearl barley. It has a similar consistency and flavor but is gluten-free. If you’re looking for a healthy, grain-free alternative to barley in soup, buckwheat is a good choice.

5. Bulgur 

Bulgur is a type of whole grain that is popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is made by cooking whole wheat kernels and then coarsely grinding them.

Bulgur has a nutty flavor and chewy texture. It can be used in pilafs, salads, stuffings, and other dishes. Bulgur is a good source of fiber and minerals such as iron and magnesium.

When cooking for pearl barley, many people substitute bulgur for pearl barley. While the two grains are similar in texture and appearance. Additionally, bulgur cooks more quickly than pearl barley, so it’s important to adjust cook times accordingly.

While they may be used interchangeably in some recipes, keep these key differences in mind when substituting bulgur for pearl barley. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at using both of these versatile grains in your cooking.

6. Arborio rice

For a heartier version of the pearl barley dish, you can substitute Arborio rice for the pearl barley. Soak the rice in cold water overnight, then drain and add it to the pan for the last 30 minutes of cooking. This will give the dish a richer flavor and a more filling texture.

Arborio rice is short-grain, starchy rice that is typically used in risotto. It has a high starch content, which gives it a creamy and slightly sticky texture when cooked.

Arborio rice is also used in some types of paella. It can be found in most grocery stores. Try best arborio rice substitutes for paella.

7. Farro

Another excellent substitution for pearl barley is farro. Basically, farro is an ancient grain that has been around for centuries. It is a staple in many cultures, especially in Italy and Ethiopia. In recent years, it has become more popular in the United States as people have become more interested in healthy eating.

There are three main types of farro: whole, semi-pearled, and pearled. Whole farro is the least processed and contains all of the grain’s bran and germ. Semi-pearled farro has been partially milled, so some of the bran and germ have been removed. Pearled farro has been fully milled, and only the starchy endosperm remains.

Farro can be cooked like other grains, such as rice or quinoa. It can be boiled, baked, or even used in a slow cooker. One of the most popular ways to enjoy farro is in a salad. The grain can be mixed with vegetables, fruits, and dressing to create a flavorful and filling dish.

Generally, you can substitute farro for pearl barley in most recipes. Farro is a bit earthier and more robust than Pearl Barley.

However, if you want something that will add a bit more interest and flavor, try experimenting with the different types of alternatives listed below. Who knows, you might just find a new favorite!

8. Couscous

A grain-free replacement for pearl barley is Couscous. Couscous is a small, round pasta made from semolina flour. It is used in many North African and Middle Eastern dishes and is especially popular in Morocco. 

It is also a quick and easy option that can be used in lieu of rice or other grains. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to count some extra protein and fiber into your meal. Simply cook the Couscous according to package directions and then use it in place of pearl barley in any recipe.

Couscous can be cooked in many different ways and is often served with vegetables or meat. It can also be used in salads or as a stuffing for poultry.

9. Use lentils instead of pearl barley

Lentils are a type of legume that is often used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. They can be cooked in various ways and are often used as a replacement for meat in vegetarian dishes. Lentils are a good source of protein and fiber and are also low in calories.

There are many different types of lentils, but the most common ones are brown, green, and red. Brown lentils are the most versatile and can be used in soups, stews, or simply cooked on their own.

Green lentils have a slightly nutty flavor and hold their shape well when cooked, making them ideal for salads. Red lentils are the sweetest of the bunch and break down quickly when cooked, making them perfect for purées and sauces.

There are many different ways to use lentils in your cooking. One simple way is to add them to soups or stews for added protein and fiber. You can also cook them on their own and use them as a replacement for rice or pasta.

Lentils can also be puréed into a thick paste and used as a spread or Dip, or even as a meat replacement in burgers or meatloaf.

If you’re looking for a hearty but healthy winter soup recipe, then this is the perfect dish for you. Our substitute lentils for pearl barley soup are packed full of nutritious vegetables and filling legumes but are still light enough to enjoy as a starter or main course.

To make our vegetarian version of the classic Scottish soup, we’ve used various lentils to add texture and depth of flavor. We’ve also swapped out the traditional pearl barley for quinoa, which not only cooks quicker but is also a great source of protein.

This soup can be made in advance and kept in the fridge for up to three days or frozen for up to two months – making it ideal for batch cooking. Simply reheat until piping hot before serving.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, diced
  • 200g red lentils
  • 100g green lentils
  • 50g brown lentils
  • 50g quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1.2 liters of vegetable stock

Additional toppings of your choice (optional) – we like a dollop of natural yogurt and some chopped fresh parsley or chives.

Directions:

Warm the oil in a big saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, leek, carrots, and celery and cook for 5 minutes until softened.

Stir in the lentils and quinoa, then pour over the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are cooked through.

Remove from the heat and use a stick blender to blitz the soup until it reaches your desired consistency. Alternatively, you can move the soup to a food processor or blender and blend until soft.

Season to flavor with salt and pepper, then ladle into bowls and serve with your chosen toppings (if using). Enjoy!

10. Seeds 

Seeds are another excellent alternative to pearl barley for making soup and porridge.

Soak 1 cup of seeds in water for 2 hours, then drain. Place the seeds in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the rice and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the rice is tender.

To make the porridge more substantial, you can add other ingredients such as chopped vegetables, tofu, tempeh, seitan, or lentils. You can also jazz up the flavor by adding herbs and spices or by stir-frying the porridge before serving. Serve with a dollop of vegan yogurt or cream and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds.

11. Chickpeas

Substitute chickpeas for pearl barley; you’ll need to cook the chickpeas longer since they are harder. You will also need to soak them overnight before cooking. If you are making a soup or stew, you might want to add some extra seasoning since the chickpeas will absorb some of the flavors.

There are many different ways to prepare chickpeas. They can be boiled, baked, or roasted. Chickpeas can also be ground into flour, which can be used for making bread, pastries, and even pasta.

Chickpeas are versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be added to salads, soups, stews, curries, and more. Chickpeas can also be used as a replacement for meat in some recipes. Chickpeas are also good vegan meat alternatives (soy-free).

If you’re searching for a healthy and delicious legume to add to your diet, look no further than chickpeas!

12. Brown rice

Brown rice is a type of whole grain rice that has not been milled and, as a result, retains its nutrient-rich outer layer. This makes it more nutritious than white rice, which has had its nutrients stripped away during the milling process.

Substitute Brown rice for pearl barley. This will help to make the dish more filling and satisfying, as well as add some extra nutrition. You could also add some chopped nuts or seeds for a bit of crunch.

There are many ways to cook brown rice, but one of the simplest is to simmer it in water or broth until tender. You can then use it in any recipe that calls for rice or enjoy it on its own as a side dish. If you’re looking for a nutritional boost, try adding some cooked brown rice to your next soup or salad.

13. Teff 

Teff is an ancient grain that is native to Ethiopia. It has a nutty flavor and is a good source of fiber and protein. Teff can be used in many different recipes, including bread, pancakes, porridge, and cookies. It is also a popular choice for making injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread.

Teff is available in many different colors, including white, red, and brown. Choose the color of teff that you like best for your recipe.

To substitute teff for pearl barley, you’ll need to use about 1/3 less teff than the recipe calls for pearl barley. Cooks Illustrated did a side-by-side test of teff and pearl barley in a risotto-style dish and found that teff absorbed less liquid and didn’t become as creamy as the pearl barley.

So if you’re looking to replicate the texture of a traditional risotto made with pearl barley, teff might not be the best choice. However, if you’re just looking for a nutty, flavorful grain to add to your dish, teff can certainly do the job. Just be sure to adjust the liquid accordingly.

Check More- Best Teff Flour substitutes May surprise you

14. Tofu 

Tofu is a versatile food that can be used in a variety of dishes. It is made from soybeans and has a high protein content.

Tofu can be cooked in many different ways and is a healthy alternative to meat. It is also low in calories and fat. Tofu can be stir-fried, baked, or added to soups and casseroles. It is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Tofu is also a good source of calcium and iron.

If you’re looking for a hearty, filling, and nutritious meal, this vegan barley, and tofu stew is the perfect recipe for you! Tofu is also a great replacement for Paneer.

Made with healthy ingredients like pearl barley, veggies, and tofu, this stew is both delicious and good for you. And, it’s easy to make too! Simply substitute tofu for the beef or chicken in your favorite stew recipe, and add some pearl barley for extra texture and flavor.

15. Wheatberry 

For a wheat-free alternative to pearl barley, try wheatberries. These little grains have a chewy texture and nutty flavor that makes them a great addition to soups and stews. You can find wheat berries in the bulk section of most health food stores.

Wheatberry is a whole wheat grain that is packed with nutrients. It is a good source of fiber, protein, and vitamins. Wheatberry can be used in a variety of ways, including:

-As a cereal: Cooked wheat berries make hearty and nutritious breakfast cereal. Add some fresh fruit and milk for a complete meal.

-In soups: Give your soup an extra boost of nutrition by adding cooked wheatberries. They are outstanding in chicken soup.

for a wheat free substitute to pearl barley try wheatberries

-As a rice substitute: Wheatberries can be used as a rice substitute in many recipes. Simply cook them like you would rice and use them in any dish that calls for rice.

-In salads: Cooked wheat berries make a great addition to salads. They add a chewy texture and nutty flavor.

-As a snack: Cooked wheat berries can be eaten plain as a healthy snack. Or, try them with some honey or molasses for a sweet treat.

Read More- Ideal substitutes for Wheat Bran

16. Use orzo instead of pearl barley

Orzo is a type of pasta that is shaped like a grain of rice. It can be used in place of rice or other grains in many recipes. When cooked, it has a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. Orzo can be found in the pasta aisle of most grocery stores.

Here are some recipes that use orzo in place of pearl barley:

  • Creamy Orzo with Spinach and Parmesan
  • Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta Cheese
  • Lemon Orzo with Chicken and Asparagus
  • Mediterranean Orzo with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta Cheese

These recipes can be easily adapted to use orzo in place of pearl barley. Simply cook the orzo according to the package directions, then add it to the recipe in place of the barley. You may need to adjust the cooking time or liquid amounts slightly, but otherwise, the recipes will be similar.

Orzo is a small, rice-shaped pasta famous in Italian and Greek cuisine. It can be utilized in a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, casseroles, and even desserts. Orzo is also often used as a stuffing for chicken or fish.

Orzo is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different ways. If you’re looking for a new grain to try, orzo is a great option. It’s easy to find and can be used in place of many other grains. Give it a try in one of these recipes and see for yourself!

18. Oats 

If you want to use oats instead of pearl barley, simply substitute one for the other in your recipe. There is no need to make any other changes. Oats will work just as well as pearl barley in most recipes.

There are several ways to enjoy oats. One popular way is to cook them as oatmeal, which can be done quickly and easily. Oatmeal can be enjoyed plain or with add-ins like fruit, nuts, or spices.

Oats can also be used in baking recipes like cookies, muffins, and bread. Or, for a savory option, try using oats in place of breadcrumbs in meatloaf or veggie burgers. No matter how you enjoy them, oats are a delicious and nutritious way to start your day!

19. Amaranth 

Amaranth is a great substitute for pearl barley. It has a similar texture and can be used in many of the same dishes. Amaranth is also a good source of fiber and protein, making it a healthy choice for any meal.

Amaranth is a plant that has been used for centuries in various cultures. The seeds of the amaranth plant are highly nutritious and can be ground into flour or used as a cereal. 

Amaranth leaves are also edible and are often used in salads or as green leafy vegetables. Amaranth oil is dragged from the seeds of the plant and has numerous health benefits. It is high in unsaturated fats, vitamins, and minerals. Amaranth oil is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, and soaps.

20. Pearl Barly Substitute Quinoa

Quinoa is a healthy alternative to other grains because it is gluten-free and high in nutrients. This makes it an excellent choice for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Quinoa can be cooked like rice or used in salads and other dishes. It has a mild, nutty flavor and is a good source of protein, fiber, and vitamins.

Cooking quinoa is easy. Simply rinse the seeds in water, then cook them in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Quinoa can be eaten plain or flavored with spices, herbs, or vegetables. It can also be utilized in place of rice in dishes such as stir-fries, soups, and casseroles.

Quinoa is a nutritious and versatile food that can be enjoyed by everyone. Whether you are looking for a healthy alternative to rice or pasta or simply want to add more protein and fiber to your diet, quinoa is a great choice. So give it a try today!

To substitute quinoa for pearl barley in a recipe, use about 75% of the amount of quinoa that you would use for pearl barley. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of pearl barley, use 3/4 cup of quinoa instead. 

Pearl barley alternatives in Recipes

Gluten-free Substitutes for Pearl BarlySorghum, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Farro, Quinoa, Oats,
substitute for pearl barley in soupAny substitute can go with the soup
substitute for pearl barley in the stewAny substitute can go with the Stew
Pearl Barley Substitute In Ragu Short-grain rice, Orzo, Couscous, farro, Barley

 What is the difference between barley and pearl barley?

Barley is a whole grain that can be ground into flour or made into malt for brewing beer. Pearl barley, on the other hand, is partially processed and polished to remove the bran coating.

· This makes pearl barley quicker to cook, but it also means that it has lost some of its nutritional value. Pearl barley is often used in soups and stews, and whole barley flour is more commonly used in baking.

The main difference between barley and pearl barley is that pearl barley is processed to remove the bran layer, while barley is not. This results in pearl barley being more refined, and it also cooks up quicker than barley. Pearl barley also has a softer texture than barley.

Bottom Line substitution for pearl barley

While there are many substitutes for pearl barley, finding the right one depends on what you are looking for.

If you need a gluten-free option, quinoa is a good choice. If you want something that will add bulk and texture to a dish, rice or Couscous are good options. Ultimately, the best substitute for pearl barley is the one that fits your needs the best.

Likewise, substituting another grain for pearl barley in a recipe is generally fine and may even be preferable in some cases. However, it is necessary to remember that the cooking time and/or water absorption of the grain may vary from that of pearl barley.

As such, it is always best to consult a reliable recipe or cooking guide before substituting.

FAQs Related to Pearl Barley and its Alternatives

Q1. Do you need to soak pearl barley?

No, pearl barley does not need to be soaked before cooking. It can be cooked directly in water or broth. Soaking may reduce the cooking time slightly, but it is not necessary. Pearl barley is a versatile grain that can be used in many different recipes. Try it in soups, stews, salads, or as a side dish. It’s a great way to add more whole grains to your diet.

Q2. Is pearl barley better for you than rice?

It largely depends on personal preferences and dietary needs. Some people may find that they prefer the taste of pearl barley over rice, while others may find that rice is a more versatile ingredient.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which grain is better for them.

Q3. Can I substitute Italian barley for pearl barley?

Yes, you can substitute Italian barley for pearl barley. The texture and flavor of the two types of barley are quite similar, so they can be used interchangeably in most recipes.

Keep in mind that the cooking times may differ slightly since Italian barley takes a bit longer to cook than pearl barley.

Q4. Is hulless barley pearled barley?

Yes. Hulless barley is also known as “pearled barley.” It is barley that has been processed to remove the inedible hull or husk. This leaves the edible grain, or “pearl,” intact. Hulless barley has a chewy texture and nutty flavor and can be used in place of rice or other grains in many recipes.

Q5. Is hulled and hulless barley the same?

No, hulled and hulless barley is not the same.

Hulled barley has a hard outer shell that must be removed before the grain can be eaten. Hulless barley does not have this hard outer shell and can be eaten as is. Both types of barley are nutritious and have similar health benefits.

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