3 ways with pearl barley

Recipes using this versatile little grain

This grain is as old as time itself. Here, we take it in an altogether new direction, with three new recipes for you to try:


Prepare 15 minutes plus cooling
Cook 40 minutes

  • 200g pearl barley
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp pomegranate molasses
  • 50g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 50g toasted flaked almonds
  • seeds from 1 pomegranate
  • 5 spring onions, sliced
  • ½ bunch mint, leaves picked and chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 tomatoes
  1. Cook the pearl barley according to pack instructions. Drain well, tip into a large bowl and leave to cool completely.
  2. Whisk together the lemon zest and juice, garlic, olive oil and pomegranate molasses in a small bowl. Season and set aside.
  3. Stir the pistachios, almonds, pomegranate, spring onions, mint and parsley into the pearl barley. Pour over the dressing and mix well.
  4. Cut the avocado and tomatoes into 1cm cubes, gently fold through the salad, season and serve.


Serves 2
Prepare 15 minutes
Cook1 hour 45 minutes

  • 300g beetroot, chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 120g pearl barley, thoroughly rinsed
  • 500ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp hot horseradish sauce
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill, plus a few extra sprigs to garnish
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 mackerel fillets, pinboned
  • 2 tbsp natural yogurt
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C, gas mark 6. Put the beetroot in the middle of a large sheet of foil, drizzle with 1 tbsp oil and season. Wrap tightly and roast for 40-50 minutes, until really tender.
  2. Cut half the beetroot into 1cm cubes and set aside. Tip the remaining beetroot into a blender and blitz until smooth.
  3. Set a saucepan with 1 tbsp oil over a medium heat. Cook the shallots for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Tip in the pearl barley and stir for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Fold in the beetroot purée, beetroot cubes, horseradish, dill and lemon zest. Cover and set aside.
  5. Preheat the grill to high. Rub the mackerel with the remaining oil and season. Arrange on a baking tray, skin-side up, and grill for 4-5 minutes, until just cooked through.
  6. Divide the risotto between two plates and top with the mackerel. Garnish with 1 tbsp yogurt and sprigs of dill.


Serves 8
Prepare 20 minutes plus cooling
Cook1 hour 50 minutes

  • 75g pearl barley
  • 135g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 140g plain flour
  • 110g ground almonds
  • 165g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp flaked almonds
  • 2 SpinneysFood Free Range Eggs
  • 3 tsp almond extract
  • 125g natural yogurt, plus extra to serve (optional)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 250g blueberries, plus extra to serve (optional)
  1. Cook the pearl barley according to pack instructions. Drain well and leave to cool completely.
  2. In a bowl, rub together 25g butter, 30g flour, 15g ground almonds and 15g sugar until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the flaked almonds and set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and line a 900g loaf tin.
  4. Add the remaining butter and sugar to a bowl and beat with an electric hand whisk, until pale and fluffy.
  5. Gradually beat in the eggs and almond extract. Stir in the pearl barley, remaining flour and ground almonds, the yogurt, lemon zest, baking powder and blueberries. Spoon into the tin.
  6. Sprinkle the almond crumble mixture over the top. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top is light golden.
  7. Leave to cool completely in the tin. Cut into slices and serve with yogurt and blueberries, if you like.

For more tips on how to cook with pearl barley and why it's our in-store ingredient of the month, click here