Barley Pulao

Barley Pulao Recipe | Good Mood Foods | Foods that Heal | Maple and Marigold

Barley is an awkward food, right? I never know how to “sell” it to my kids. But once I started cooking with it there has been no turning back. If this whole grain is as new to you as it was for me then start with this pot barley recipe. Barley pilaf (or as I call it barley pulao) is cooked simply and then tossed with spices and veggies. Yum!

What does barley taste like?

Slightly chewy and grainy. Like a more robust rice which makes sense because rice is a processed version of brown rice. You can find out more about What’s the deal with Barley here, but here’s a quick snapshot:

Barley is a nutritious whole grain. High in fibre, high in protein it also comes chock-full of micronutrients that help lower cholesterol and inflammation. Ready to include it in your family’s diet?

What Kind Of Barley Should I Buy?

Shopping for barley can feel a little overwhelming especially if you’re new to this whole grain. It is most often found in its pearled form though hulled barley scores the highest in nutrition. This is because it includes the entire, edible grain. In pearl barley, all of the outer husk and bran has been polished off as have 2/3rds of the grain’s nutritional qualities. I often cook with pot barley – the in-between sibling of hulled and pearl. This variety takes about 40 minutes to cook. I do this on the weekend and with a little bit of meal prep, I can include this grain on the menu for those busy nights.

Pot Barley Recipe (V, DF)

I’ve made Barley Pulao a number of times at home. It’s kid-friendly, vegan and dairy-free and full of warmth and flavour. Pulao is normally a rice-based dish that’s originated in northern India. It is onions and veggies and whole spices cooked with rice. This is my version of the dish. I’ve used pot barley instead of rice and tweaked the process a little bit to make it easier to incorporate a whole grain like barley. Enjoy!

Pot Barley Recipe | Barley Pulao | Maple and Marigold

Barley Pulao Recipe | Good Mood Foods | Foods that Heal | Maple and Marigold

Barley Pulau

Print Recipe
Course Side Dish
Cuisine All
Cook Time 45 minutes


Cooking the Barley

  • 1 cup Barley rinsed and soaked for 30 min to 6 hours.
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Canola or another mild-tasting oil

To Make the Pulao

  • 1 tbsp Oil or Ghee
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds whole
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 cloves Garlic chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped Onions
  • 1/4 cup other veggies like zucchini, bean sprouts, peas or carrots


Cooking the Barley

  • Follow the instructions here to cook the barley. (Bring to boil and then turn to low simmer for 35 minutes).
    What's The Deal With Barley | Benefits of barley | Maple and Marigold
  • In another pan add the oil and bring it to heat
  • Turn the heat to medium and add the cumin seeds. Let them sputter for 20 secs or so.
  • Add the turmeric, onions and garlic and cook till onions are translucent.
  • Add the other veggies or sprouts and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and let this mixture rest.
  • Once the barley is cooked, add the mixture into the grans and toss really well. Serve warm with ANYTHING! This dish works.

Questions + Comments

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Michelle McFarlane
2 years ago

How can this be marked as gluten free, when barley has a gluten content?

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Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Food Writer, Climate Advocate, New cookbook - Good Food, Healthy Planet - out April 2024
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