Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples

Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples

One of the oldest of all cultivated grains, the consumption of barley for most people has become limited to the malted product used to make beer … nothing against beer, of course, but the whole barley grain is vastly under-used in modern diets compared to its more commercially successful but nutritionally poorer cousin, whole wheat. As well as being a source of vitamin E not found in whole wheat and higher concentrations of vitamins B1 and B2, ordinary hulled barley contains twice the amount of essential fatty acids and almost half again as much dietary fiber as whole wheat while providing a more balanced protein profile. Even with the loss of vitamins and minerals through removal of the germ and part of the bran through pearling, pearled barley is still a better nutritional bargain than whole wheat. And with its mild nutty flavor and soft chewy texture, barley deserves more respect and attention on the menu than the occasional afterthought in soups.

Cooked over very low heat with liquid slowly added in a risotto style, ordinary pearled barley is transformed into a luscious thick and creamy porridge that, with the addition of any favorite assortment of fresh or dried fruits, cinnamon, maple syrup or honey, will have even the most hardened porridge skeptic coming back for more. In this recipe, fresh honeyed almonds and roasted apple pieces add a natural sweetness and a winning crunchy/chewy contrast that just might make breakfast the most memorable meal of the day. Almonds also contribute some of the vitamin E lost in the barley from pearling, in addition to calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, monounsaturated fats, and even more dietary fiber. Roasted apples … well, roasted apples just contribute themselves.

Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples

Although the preparation and instructions for this porridge are so extraordinarily simple, it takes about two hours to cook so it's not a breakfast for a weekday unless you make it the night before and reheat the next morning — it stores very well in the refrigerator. Similarly, the honeyed almonds and roasted apples can be prepared a day ahead.

Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted ApplesBarley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples
Recipe by
Published on May 6, 2009

Thick, creamy slow-cooked barley and apple porridge with roasted apples and honeyed almonds — amazingly good, and amazingly good for you

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  • 1/2 cup hulled or pearled barley
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tart apples, cored and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 6 green cardamom pods (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Rinse the barley and soak overnight in the water in a small saucepan.

  • Preheat an oven to 425°. Place the apple pieces peel side-down in a single layer over a glass baking pan. Roast the apples for about 30 minutes or until cooked to a desired texture. Remove from oven and transfer the apple pieces to set aside. De-glaze the pan by adding the apple cider or apple juice and swirling around, rubbing the bottom of the pan gently with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl and strain through a cheesecloth. Set aside and reduce the oven heat to 350°.

  • Meanwhile, bring the soaked barley to a boil, then reduce the heat to its lowest setting and cover. Simmer, stirring every 10 minutes or so, for 45 minutes while checking the water level (if the porridge dries, add a little more water).

  • honeyed almonds
    After the apples have cooked, stir the almonds and honey together in a mixing bowl. Spread on a piece of parchment paper over a baking sheet and roast for 5 to 10 minutes in the 350° oven. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

  • Stir 1/2 cup of the apple de-glazing juice into the barley. Put the cardamom pods, if using, in a tea ball and add to the saucepan along with the salt. Cover, and continue to simmer, stirring every 10 minutes as before.

  • After 20 minutes, stir in the remaining 1/2 cup portion of the apple de-glazing juice, while continuing to stir every 10 minutes. After 20 minutes, you should end up with a thick, but not too thick porridge. If it's too thick for your taste, thin it with a little more apple cider.

  • Remove the tea ball and ladle the porridge into bowls. Top with the honeyed almonds and roasted apple pieces, and serve. Top with milk or cream if desired.

Makes 2 to 3 servings

Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples

More barley delights from my kitchen:
Beet Barley and Black Bean Soup
Mango Barley Porridge with Blackberries
Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge


Indhu said...

wwwoww.... this looks super yummy... it is a lot of work.. but looking at the pictures, I would say , totally worth it :)

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Looks very yummy and healthy, I liked the combo of almonds, barley and apple...

Parita said...

Looks very delicious and very the pics makes me feel like having right now :)

Juliana said...

I love barley...the chewy texture...this sounds delicious with the honeyed almonds...I want to prepare this for breakfast. Great pictures!

Astra Libris said...

Wow, Lisa, this sounds incredible!! I am already dreaming of having this for breakfast very, very, soon... Actually, I would like to have some right now... :-) Thank you for the gorgeous recipe!

Suparna said...

Hey Lisa,
Wow! looks amazing! gorgeous n healthy looking dish :) must be very filling too, shall try it sometime, today am all set for the beet rasam from ur blog, I've been wanting to prepare from a long time.

Lisa Turner said...

You are a sweetie Suparna. Let me know how the beet rasam turns out for you.

Priya Suresh said...

Healthy dish Lisa!

eatme_delicious said...

Wow this is a truly awesome creation Lisa! The roasted apples and honeyed almonds are the perfect touch. Hmmm now to think about when I'll be making this.

I love barley but don't eat it too often because recipes don't often call for it and I never think to use it instead of rice. Thanks for the nutritional information about it!

Alka said...

simply superb, i had never ate anything like this, wanna taste it, just a bit will also do :-)

Vidya said...

Hello Lisa,
My first time here. The porridge looks yummy. I am hooked to the beans and legumes section!
You have a nice collection of recipes. Awesome.

Ivy said...

It definitely is very healthy and it sounds delicious as well.

A_and_N said...

this looks SO hearty! I loved the addition of cider apart from roasted apples. This is fantastic usual :)

Unknown said...

a very helthy one with roasted apples uummmm yum yum perfect breakfast for me

Chutneytales said...

A bowl full of goodness..Mmmm delicious!!

Sujan Patricia said...

Looks delicious and yummy! We eat porridge most winter mornings. My kids prefer apple. My favorite add-in at the moment is chopped, unsalted roasted almonds.

Spice Rack said...

This is the first time I encounter a porridge with Almonds and roasted apple but it really looks so tasty and healthy. I wish I could have one those.

Sarah Jo said...

Great pictures! I love barley...the chewy texture...this sounds delicious with the honeyed almonds...I want to prepare this for breakfast.