We at ecoRDN love barley, in fact barley is one of our favorite grains. It’s toothy “al dente” bite offers a nice alternative to everyday rice. So we’re sharing our favorite barley recipe, which makes for a hearty, heart-healthy comfort side to any holiday feast.

Per the Whole Grains Council, barley not only contains the most fiber of all the whole grains, it is also the root of the English measurement system. 14th century king Edward II standardized the inch to equal “three grains of barley , dry and round, placed end to end lengthwise.” Bonkers!

Barley is also touted as the the world’s fourth most important cereal crop after wheat, rice and corn. During the crop year 2015/2016, 145.8 million metric tons of barley was produced worldwide.

Most of the barley consumed in the United States is not considered whole grain due to the ‘pearling’ process where the fiber packed bran is removed along with the hull. Although pearled barley is not as fiber packed as the non pearled varieties, barley still outshines other grains per serving. Pearled barley contains 3 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup cooked serving. Compared to amaranth and quinoa at 2.6 grams, brown rice at 1.75, and white rice with 0.3 grams. And that’s refined barley, some unrefined varieties clock a whopping 10 grams of fiber per serving! Bananas!

This barley recipe is inspired by risotto: cheesy and nutty with all the toothy mouthfeels, but 100% plant-based (no meat, no dairy) and 100% awesome! (Seriously, this recipe is the bee’s knees!)

Barley cooks the same as brown rice, whole wheat, or freekha with a 2:1 water ratio. This recipe is prepared using a rice cooker, so basically throw all your ingredients in, set it and let the rice cooker do the work!

Savory Cheesy Dairy Free Barley!!!

2 cups barley

1/2 cup minced mushrooms (approx 2 medium sized crimini)

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 Tbsp cracked black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp coconut oil (or high heat cooking oil to coat rice cooker pan)

24 fl oz water

2 cups nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp Melt (or other vegan margarine)


Add all ingredients EXCEPT nutritional yeast and 2 Tbsp Melt (or other vegan margarine) to rice cooker, and cook! (Takes approx 30 minutes)

After cooking cycle has finished transfer barley to a bowl, add nutritional yeast and vegan margarine and stir until fully incorporated. Makes 6 portions. Enjoy!!!


We had ours for lunch with steamed kale and grilled tempeh!


As always thanks for visiting, please give us a like or drop us a line in the comments below. Let us know how this recipe turned out, and if it makes you as happy as it makes us at ecoRDN. Stay Warm, Eat Well!!!

©2016 ecoRDN

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