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BBQ Baked Barley

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 1 hr, 15 mins

Serves 8 (serving size: about 1/2 cup)

Chewy-tender barley gets the baked beans treatment, sauced up with molasses-sweetened tomato sauce and flavored with smoky bacon. It’s a fantastic update to your backyard barbecues.


  • 1 cup uncooked hulled barley
  • 3 hickory-smoked bacon slices, chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted tomato sauce
  • Thyme sprigs (optional)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 167
  • fat 3.7 g
  • satfat 1.2 g
  • monofat 1.4 g
  • polyfat 0.6 g
  • protein 5 g
  • carbohydrate 30 g
  • fiber 5 g
  • sugars 9 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 6 g
  • cholesterol 5 mg
  • iron 2 mg
  • sodium 325 mg
  • calcium 42 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add barley to pan; cook 10 minutes or until evenly toasty-brown and fragrant, stirring frequently. Add water to cover by 3 inches; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes or until chewy-tender. Drain, or reserve liquid for Korean Roasted Barley Tea.

  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon to pan; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside. Remove all but 1 tablespoon bacon drippings from pan. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add cumin, paprika, and pepper; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add molasses, salt, and tomato sauce; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; stir in barley.

  4. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with bacon. Garnish with thyme, if desired.

Cook's Notes

Executive Editor at Cooking Light, Ann Pittman, explores whole grain's all-around awesomeness in her new book, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice. This complete guide to healthy, hearty, and incredibly versatile whole grains includes something for everyone and offers innovative new techniques to ensure the most flavorful results. From simple, delicious sides to satisfying mains and sublime desserts, this James Beard Award-winning author educates, inspires and does not disappoint. Discover a whole new way of looking at whole grains, how they are prepared, and how they can be incorporated into a healthy diet at every meal.

Also appeared in: Oxmoor House, March, 2016, Everyday Whole Grains: 175 Recipes from Amaranth to Wild Rice;