Barley is a super healthy grain that's a great source of protein and fiber. This Healthy and Simple Instant Pot Barley takes only a few minutes to put together. This versatile side dish can be easily used in place of rice.
What is Barley?
Barley is a cereal grain that has a chewy texture and a bit of a nutty flavor. It is a whole grain with a high amount of fiber. It's also a great source of protein and some vitamins and minerals. It can be used as a side dish, in soups in stews, in breads and more.
Hulled Barley vs. Pearl Barley
There are two different types of barley, hulled and pearl. Hulled barley goes through less processing than pearl barley. Hulled barley has only the indigestible outer hull removed. Pearl barley has both the outer husk and the bran removed.
Nutritionally, the differences between hulled and pearl barley are minimal. Hulled barley is slightly higher in protein, fat and fiber as well as some vitamins and minerals. But both are excellent sources of protein and fiber anyway.
Uses for Barley
Barley is a super versatile grain. It makes a great substitute for brown rice. Some tasty uses for barley are:
- in a hearty soup or stew
- as a simple side dish
- in grain bowls
- barley salad
- barley risotto
Instant Pot Barley Ingredients
Only a handful of wholesome ingredients are needed for this recipe:
- Pearl barley
- Vegetable broth - Homemade or packaged. You can substitute 4 cups of water for the broth if needed but this will just give it less flavor.
- Bay leaf
- Salt and pepper
How to Make Instant Pot Barley
Using an instant pot is the easiest way to make barley. This recipe only takes a few minutes to put together.
To start, rinse the barley using a mesh strainer. Pour the rinsed pearly barley into the instant pot.
Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt and black pepper and stir.
Set the instant pot to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
Let the instant pot naturally release the steam for about 15 minutes. You can also do a quick release if you are short on time. Open the instant pot, remove the bay leaf, fluff with a fork and serve.
Leftover cooked barley can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Make sure it is cooled before putting in the fridge.
You can also freeze cooked barley. It's a great way to have this nutritious grain available for future meals. To freeze it properly:
- Cool the barley: Cool the cooked barley completely at room temperature.
- Portion into containers: Divide the cooled cooked barley into airtight containers or freezer bags. This makes it easier to reuse than if you freeze a large amount of barley.
- Remove air: If using freezer bags, press out as much air as possible before sealing.
- Freeze: Place the containers or bags in the freezer. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheat: When you're ready to use it, simply remove the desired portion from the freezer and reheat it in the microwave, on the stovetop, or by adding it directly to soups or stews.
Hulled Barley Recipe
This recipe is for pearled barley, but with a few simple changes it can work for hulled barley as well. If you're using hulled barley, increase the amount of broth to 5 cups. You will also need to cook for 25 minutes instead of 20.
Simply, the broth or water ratio of pearl barley is 2 cups per 1 cup of barley. For hulled barley, the ratio of water or vegetable stock is 2.5 cups per 1 cup of barley. The cooking time also increases by 5 minutes for hulled barley.
If cooking on a stove top, hulled barley can take a long time to cook - 45 minutes to an hour. Using an instant pot takes much less time at around 25 minutes. You'll know the barley is done when the barley grains swell to about 3x their original size.
Can I add some olive oil to this recipe?
Sure. I try to say away from added oils if it's not necessary to a recipe. But if you'd like to add some in I would recommend 1-2 tablespoons.
Can I use water in this recipe instead of vegetable broth?
Yes. You can use all water or a combination of broth and water. The barley will be less flavorful but will still be good. If you are using it as a stand-alone side dish, I recommend using a flavorful broth.
Barley is a great way to get your protein and fiber and a delicious substitute for rice. This Healthy and Simple Instant Pot Barley takes only a few minutes to put together. Use it as a tasty side dish or in any recipe that calls for cooked barley.
Looking for other vegan side dishes? Check out:
Did you know that rating and commenting on recipes is one of the best ways to support your favorite food bloggers? If you try the recipe, please click the stars on the recipe card and add a comment below. Thanks!
Healthy And Simple Instant Pot Barley (Vegan)
- 2 cups pearl barley
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- First, give the barley a quick rinse using a strainer and add it to the instant pot.
- Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the barley and stir.
- Set the instant pot to high pressure and cook for 20 minutes.
- Let it naturally release the steam for about 15 minutes. Or you can also do a quick release if you're short on time.
- Remove the bay leaf and add seasoning to taste. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- NOTE: The instant pot takes additional time to heat up as well as release the steam.