15 Best Pearl Barley Substitutes

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Pearl Barley Substitutes



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Barley is a gluten-free grain often used in soups and sauces to plump up the sauce, add body, and a completely different texture from whole cereals such as brown or wild rice. It contains a lot of protein, fiber, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and selenium.

Furthermore, it tends to grow in every region around the world, and It’s simple to develop from seed at home because you don’t need a garden space — the seeds can be planted in pots.

Although barley is gluten-free, if you try substituting pearl barley for whole barley, you should also use organic ingredients. This article contains some of the best pearl barley substitutes you can think of.

In a nutshell, you can use quinoa, millet, rice, spelled, mung bean flour, seeds, tofu, vinegar, buckwheat, sourdough starter, buttermilk, corn, chickpeas, and brown rice in place of pearl barley.

What is Barley?

Barley has been used in everyday recipes since ancient times; it is one of the most popular grains used in soups and beer fermentation. People cook and serve it as a grain, similar to rice, or add it to stews or bread.

It is available in a variety of forms, including whole-grain barley, barley shavings, and barley biscuits and gravy. Among them, pearl barley is the most well-known and preferred.

Some nutritionists do not consider this version to be whole grain because exfoliation removes the bran and outer layers. That describes why it isn’t as full of nutrients as other types of barley.

Some people believe that barley has a bland, even tasteless flavor. This viewpoint is not accurate in all cases. When you prepare meal barley, for example, it will have a mild nutty flavor as well as a crunchy texture. As a result, barley, like yeast excerpts, is classified as a “like or dislike” food.

When it comes to barley nutritional information, it has a multitude of medical benefits. The cellulose content of barley, in particular, plays an essential role in lowering the risk of developing diabetes, colon cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Furthermore, because barley is cholesterol-free, it is hugely helpful in lowering cholesterol levels in our blood. Barley has a low-fat content as well. It’s almost fat-free and is frequently used in egg-free sweet treats.

Pearl Barley Substitutes

1. Amaranth

Although it may sound strange, amaranth can be used in place of barley in soups, vegetable dishes, and side dishes. Although it’s not a grain, it is similar to barley in terms of gluten-free properties that lower levels of cholesterol.

Its nutrient quality can outperform that of other commonly consumed crops like corn, rice, and wheat. Furthermore, the food tends to produce essential nutrients – lysine – and has a high protein content, twice that of rice and roughly three times that of corn.

2. Buckwheat and Quinoa

Buckwheat and quinoa are also the first choices for gluten-free barley substitutes in the sauce. Even though buckwheat is commonly associated with wheat, it is gluten-free.

Buckwheat can be substituted for wheat cereal grains such as wheat berries, freekeh, spelled, or chickpea flour. You can be confident, as evidenced by the list of ingredients for noodles, crepes, and pancakes.

It has a much rich flavor than barley, and some people dislike it. However, because of its glycaemic index, it is highly beneficial for those suffering from increased blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

It contains a good amount than other grains and a wide variety of basic amino acids.

3. Teff

Teff is the final flaked barley alternative to consider. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes, adding versatility and variety to your courses.

It functions as a primary or side dish in the same way that barley does in just about all meals. Garnish it on muffins, oatmeal, steamed vegetables, or soups.

While teff is gluten-free, numerous people have created a system for processing it into flour with a broader variety of characteristics for a variety of uses.

This enables users on diets that generally exempt grains comprising gluten or allergenic amino acids from these other cereal plants to eat the grain itself and its derivative products in snacks and pasta.

4. Tofu

Tofu can be a suitable replacement for barley alternatives in gluten-free sauces since it offers protein and an extra thick mouthfeel that you may have been lacking in your replacement for barley low-cost alternative dishes.

To use the tofu, squeeze the excess moisture out of it.

Roll the tofu in paper towels initially, then place the encased piece on a tray and top with some other tray, then weigh down the top layer with many cans (about 40 ounces each).

Allow this to rest for at least 10 minutes, but higher to an hour if you want an extremely dry alternative for barley.

5. Farro

Farro is a member of the grain family, as is barley, but the dilemma here is whether farro can be substituted for barley.

Farro can be used in place of barley for most meals because it has a gentle earthy taste and a crunchy mouthfeel. Farro varieties are mostly found under the name Emmer Wheat.

Farro is also available in pearl farro and pearl barley varieties. As a result, this grain is a suitable replacement for pearl barley.

In terms of nutrients, it provides more fiber and casein sources, as well as more carbs and calcium than quinoa.

6. Sorghum

Sorghum is yet another gluten-free alternative to barley. Currently, there has been an increase in the supply of nutritious and gluten-free diets. Sorghum is now one of the excellent components for wheat flour in the production of bread, standard flour, and a variety of nutritious foods.

Sorghum can also be used in place of other cereals such as buckwheat or quinoa in recipes that call for rice. Whenever you want to enhance the texture of your dishes, add them to your soups or sauces!

Furthermore, the hue and munching texture of this gluten-free pearl barley substitute is appealing. It contains several high nutritional values, including vitamin B, protein, and magnesium, which helps in glycemic control.

7. Brown Rice

Brown rice is fresher and more nutritious than white rice since white rice has been excessively processed, resulting in the loss of the rice husk and germ layers, which contain the majority of the nutrients such as minerals, antioxidants, and vitamin supplements.

Brown rice is not unrefined; it has been touched up to eliminate the hull (hard protective layer), but this does not result in any nutrient loss, making it an excellent swap for barley as well as other whole grains.

Brown rice, amidst being nutritious, is still rice, and as such, it contains a significant amount of carbs and calories. It does, however, have a low glycemic index, which means it will not make you feel bulky and slow like most carbohydrate-rich foods.

Brown rice, due to its high fiber content, will keep you feeling fuller for longer, which is beneficial if you’re on a diet because it will curb your appetite and cause you to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

8. Millet

Millet is yet another seed that can be used as a whole grain. It is best known for its flour, but the seeds are used in a wide range of dishes worldwide, and in certain backgrounds, millet is a cornerstone component of the diet.

These tiny corn kernel-like seeds are gluten-free, like quinoa, but are a lot cheaper. Millet is likely the least expensive whole-grain obtainable.

Millet not only resembles corn kernels in appearance, but it also tastes somewhat like corn. It’s one of the sweet grains, and it quickly absorbs the flavors of the recipes to which it’s added.

Millet, like barley, has an earthy taste. Still, unlike barley, its consistency is akin to mashed potatoes rather than chewy, making it ideal for those who can’t tolerate the feel of barley.

Millet is high in minerals and nutrients, particularly iron. Remember that millet expands when boiled.

Millet whole grain may be challenging to find in a typical grocery store, but it is also available online.

9. Oats

Oatmeal is a gluten-free cereal grain commonly used with baking, cereal, and soups. They perform several functions and could be used in several ways, which is why they are frequently regarded as an essential diet.

However, because they are high in fat, they will not last long if left on the shelf. That’s why, if you’re not sure when or how you’ll use oats, purchase them in tiny doses.

Oats are especially beneficial to women because they contain vitamin B6, which aids in the endocrine system and may alleviate premenstrual symptoms such as period pains, fluid retention, and mood changes.

10. Buttermilk

While creating pastry replacements such as biscuits or bread, this is the close as a possible alternative for barley. It coagulates your dish and adds a sweet flavor to it.

11. Chickpeas

If you’re looking for a plant-based replacement, chickpeas can be used in place of pearl barley. Chickpeas are much less likely to become soggy all through cooking because they contain more starch than just about any other legume.

12. Mung Bean Flour

Mung bean, also referred to as green gram, moong dal, or mung bean, is a comparatively tiny legume native to warm environments. To become soft, it only requires mellow heating.

13. Rice

This is perhaps the most nutrient-dense grain, containing high levels of thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese, and selenium.

Even though a cup of white rice contains approximately twice as much calcium as a cup of brown rice, it still is referred to as “the substitute for barley substitute.”

Rice has recently received a bad rap for being buttering, but using brown rice in gluten-free foods can genuinely help with weight loss because it keeps you fuller for longer.

14. Spelled

With its comparatively tiny, pearl-like white grains and earthy taste, a conventional wheat replacement is spelled.

While it is gluten-free, some people are more sensitive to the gluten in it, kind of as they are to barley replacement or any other alternative for barley replacement.

15. Seeds

If you want to replace barley in a soup, try putting some seeds rather. It can change the flavor of the meal, but it still works as a thickener.

How Do You Select a Suitable Substitute for Pearl Barley?

Finding the perfect alternative for barley based on several criteria. The following are some suggestions that may be appropriate for your purpose and preferences:

  • The Low-Cost Alternative: Many people may be unable to afford nutritious foods since gluten-free goods are more expensive than regular ones. Among the above-mentioned pearl barley substitutes, millet is the least expensive when compared to other gluten-free cereals.
  • The Energy-Increaser: Even though barley, as well as other grains, are frequently used throughout daily diets, some, such as sorghum or brown rice, may contain nutrients and carbohydrates.However, the carbohydrate content of these cereals is beneficial to your health. They can help you feel more energized without causing your blood sugar to fluctuate.
  • The Most Effective Substitute: If you’re looking for one of the most barley-like alternatives, the farro should be your best option, as it has a similar flavourful and crunchy chewiness to barley. More interestingly, farro owns the pearl farro diverse range, making it the perfect substitute for pearl barley.
  • Gluten-free Alternatives: People are constantly looking for improved, gluten-free barley possibilities to replace wheat-based goods as the market for strong and hygienic food grows. The good news is that some gluten-free grains, including buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, or sorghum, can be excellent barley substitutes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between barley and pearl barley?

Barley is a member of the grass family, which has been carefully nurtured for hundreds of years. The grain resembles wheat berries in appearance, but the flavor is significantly different; barley is nuttier, better tasting, and earthier.

It could be used to enhance the flavor of soups, stews, casseroles, as well as other dishes. Because pearl barley is modestly processed, it retains some extra fiber.

How do you prepare Pearl Barley?

Pearl barley, like rice, can be boiled in several ways. It is rich in dietary fiber and low in gluten, making it an excellent gluten-free compensation for wheat berries or tofu.

What are the advantages of barley in regards to health?

Manganese, fiber, and B vitamins are all found in barley. It also appears to contain chromium, which aids the body’s carbohydrate metabolism. Barley lowers cholesterol levels while also providing a good amount of nutrition fiber.

Pearl barley aids in weight loss by stabilizing blood sugar levels and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol.

How should Pearl Barley be substituted in meals?

When an occasion calls for barley, you can use pearl barley instead. However, pearl barley, like rice, takes more time to cook.

 Put three cups of liquid to each cup of dry pearl barley and continue cooking for about 30 minutes, or until soft. 1 cup dry wheat berries yield 2 cups cooked wheat berries.


Even though it includes gluten, barley is a better and healthier grain overall. If you have celiac disease, it is best to replace gluten-free barley with your regular food, such as quinoa, brown rice, or teff.

These possibilities have texture and flavor that are comparable to barley. But on the other hand, they provide an incredible variety of ingredients and nutritional quality for your wellbeing.

You can’t look at a manufacturer’s label and assume it’s free of all toxins (gluten included), so you’ll need to do some research before buying a product.


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