Barley is a whole grain rich in vitamins and minerals and can be easily added to dishes such as soups, stews, and casseroles or used as either a main or side dish on its own. It can even be made into breakfast dishes. It is an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fibre, and is low fat and free of cholesterol. It will keep you feeling satisfied for longer than other grains and is known to help regulate sugar levels.


Barley is very suitable for Kapha Dosha and can make a good rice substitute for those with a Kapha aggravation. It is also suitable for Pitta Dosha, and Vata Dosha can take occasionally. It is diuretic, demulcent, and laxative in quality and is soothing to digestion. It isn’t mucous producing and is relatively light to digest.

Barley flour can be used in bread making, and barley water is a very nourishing and cooling drink.

Here are a few simple suggestions to introduce barley into your diet.

  • Barley in a vegetable soup. Slow cook and add vegetables to suit your Dosha
  • Barley as a risotto
  • Barley powder can be used in bread making to replace wheat
  • Barley can be blended with water to make a cooling drink in the summer time

We will be adding some recipes to this blog over the coming weeks and welcome your suggestions and questions!


Barley and Pumpkin ‘Risotto’


  • 1T Olive oil (or Dosha suitable oil of your choice)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 400 mls of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup pearl barley (rinsed)
  • 2 cups cubed peeled pumpkin or butternut pumpkin
  • 1/2 to 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

To prepare:

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat
  2. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened
  3. Add the stock, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 50 minutes)
  5. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix gently.


Barley and Pumpkin ‘Risotto’

Barley Water

This is a cooling drink that is suitable in the hotter months. Barley is better suited to Pitta and Kapha constitutions so this drink could be taken in greater quantities by them. However, Kapha should not take too much liquid and are generally advised to take their fluids mostly as plain water (and not chilled). They could take one cup of this drink though in hot weather.

Method 1 (using whole barley grains):

  • 1/2 cup barley soaked overnight in water
  • add 1 L water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil
  • simmer until soft for about 30 mins or so
  • strain the water from the barley
  • keep in the fridge

Method 2 (using powdered barley):

  •  4 heaped dessertspoons of barley powder
  • 1 Litre water
  • put in blender, blend and then pour into a jar of bottle to keep in the fridge
  • store in the fridge and drink to keep cool when the climate is very hot

Dosha guidelines:

  • Vata could take occasionally in hot weather and add a little extra salt and honey
  • Pitta can take the drink cool/cold and add some rock sugar or molasses for sweetening
  • Kapha can add some hot water to make the drink lukewarm and add a little honey to sweeten
Barley water - serve with molasses or honey
Barley water – with molasses or honey

In Ayurveda, Food is Medicine and Medicine is Food. Food can only be considered healthy if it suits your constitution.


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