There was a lonely little container of leftover cooked barley in the refrigerator. Each time I opened the door and saw it I pondered how best to use it up. I’m great at eating leftover dishes for lunches and dinners, but leftover ingredients often get forgotten. So, on a slightly chilly Thursday morning as I was surveying the kitchen in search of breakfast, I grabbed the barley and tried to dress it up. Cooked oatmeal has never been appealing to me because of the mush factor, but this chewy whole grain made a sweet, hearty, high-fiber start to my morning when I stirred in the crunch of sliced almonds and coconut.
- What is pearl barley? It’s barley that’s been processed a little more than whole grain barley which is processed a little less. (The names are deceiving because they’re both technically whole grain foods.) Pearl barley is more widely available and cooks in less time.
- This recipe is vegan? You probably wouldn’t think of it that way, but all of the ingredients in this recipe are plant-based, so officially it’s vegan. It is adaptable, though, to any milk you might have on hand, like almond or regular cow’s milk.
- Do I need to use large flake coconut? No, but I especially like the texture it adds to this recipe. (My favorite is Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut.) If you have regular shredded coconut, that would work, too and you’d get the same tropical flavor.
- Can I use regular brown sugar? Of course. I just happened to have dark brown in my pantry so that’s what I used this time.
- What if I don’t have any leftover cooked barley? This is just another reason my rice cooker makes me happy. You can whip up a batch by using the white rice setting with 1 cup pearl barley, 3 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. If you don’t have a rice cooker, you can do it on the stovetop as well, using the same proportions. Just boil 3 cups of water and add 1 cup of pearl barley and the salt. Cover it, get it boiling again, then lower the heat. Simmer, covered, for about 45 minutes. Both of these options yield 3 cups cooked barley.
Do you have a favorite way to use up leftover cooked grains?