Whole grain, fiber-rich pearl barley cooks quickly in your Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker. Savory Instant Pot Barley is a healthy breakfast that requires only a few ingredients, and will fire up your “engine” for the busy day ahead! Fresh greens, diced turkey ham, and an egg (your choice) add loads of flavor and nutrition…
How do you start your day? Coffee and ______________ (fill in the blank). My preference is a savory breakfast that includes both complex carbs and lean protein. This was a process for me…
I grew up with cereal, milk, toast, and juice on school days, and a “big” breakfast on Saturday morning. Our “big” breakfast typically included pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc., and eggs and/or breakfast meat (sausage, ham, bacon). I cringe now at the thought of the fats and calories, but it has never occurred to me to skip breakfast.
How Important is Breakfast?
Eating a healthy breakfast is linked to many health benefits (I’m not talkin’ about donuts, okay?):
It is difficult to work up enthusiasm for breakfast if you’re reaching for the same old thing every day, right? I finally realized that cutting way back on sugar, and sticking to complex carbohydrates helped me stick to a reasonable “diet.” I feel better able to face the day with some type of grain, and some protein. I rarely crave sugar anymore, and when I do, that craving is satisfied with a square of dark chocolate. 😀
So, what does breakfast look like at Andersen casa? Prior to the creation of this new recipe for Savory Instant Pot Barley, my favorite breakfast was Green Chile Savory Oatmeal With An Egg. Healthy, savory breakfasts win hands down at Andersen casa!
I love to make grab n’ go breakfasts like my South-of-the-Border Frittata Muffins and my Mediterranean Rice and Chick Pea Mini-Frittatas. They both keep well in the refrigerator, and re-heat well. They’re even tasty cold or at room temperature. Another favorite is my Mexican Black Bean Shakshuka.
You may notice a theme? I love bold flavors and healthy ingredients! None of these recipes are very time-consuming.
Making Instant Pot Barley
I love the texture and bite of pearl barley, but it takes about 60 minutes to cook. Quick-cook barley isn’t all that great texture-wise, but I do like medium-cook barley. However, it still requires 45-50 minutes. Barley just seemed a bit out of the question as a breakfast grain until I had an epiphany recently. Why not try using my Instant Pot/pressure cooker?
I DID. AND IT WORKED!
I cooked the barley 18 minutes in the pressure cooker with half water and half broth. After a quick pressure release I added some fresh baby kale, small diced turkey ham, gave it a good stir on the sauté setting to heat the ham and wilt the greens, and topped it with a boiled egg (I was trying for runny, but hey, it’s still good!). And just because I can, I finished it with Aleppo pepper (that gorgeous deep red) and my Peruvian sal de Maras.
If you’re still glued to a recipe, this is an easy one to practice customizing and making it your own! Substitute your favorite quick-cooking greens (arugula, baby spinach, micro greens). Vary the pre-cooked breakfast meat (crumbled bacon, prosciutto, crumbled turkey sausage), or make it vegetarian by adding tofu, chick peas, or lentils. Lastly, cook YOUR favorite egg, not mine.
I actually adore them all, but wanted to play with soft boiling the eggs the day of the photo shoot. It’s really hard to get a runny boiled egg that is firm enough to cut in half for a photo. I’m making that a new goal! You can TOTALLY CUSTOMIZE your Instant Pot Barley with chopped scallions, fresh herbs, gourmet salt (or pepper 😀 ), even sliced avocado.
The take away then? Having a tasty AND healthy breakfast is good for you! You need a variety of breakfast dishes to keep it interesting, and if you just have no time to cook, keep Greek yogurt and a healthy, low-sugar granola on hand.
That’s all for now… Here’s to healthy breakfasts!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup pearl barley, (see notes)
- 1/4 cup red or sweet onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups liquid, I use half broth and half water
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 ounces turkey ham, small dice (optional)
- 4 ounces baby kale, or other baby greens
- 4 eggs, cooked to your preference
- Add the olive oil to the pressure cooker set to manual for 18 minutes.
- Add the barley and onion. Saute until it smells a bit toasty.
- Add the liquid and salt.
- Lock the lid in place.
- While the barley cooks, dice the ham (if using).
- When the pressure cooker completes the cooking cycle, do a quick pressure release. If you've got a lot of liquid in the pan, you may wish to drain most or all of it. Return the pot to saute, and add the diced ham if using. Saute stirring occasionally while preparing the eggs.
- When the eggs are ready, add the arugula to the pot, and stir to combine. You just want to wilt the greens.
- To Serve: Scoop the barley mixture into shallow bowls. Top with an egg cooked to your preference. Garnish as desired with Aleppo pepper (my favorite!), fresh ground pepper, fresh herbs, scallions, etc. Enjoy!
This recipe is for pearl barley Cooking times for different types of barley vary greatly. You don't want a bowl of mush!
I use half broth and half water. The amount of liquid is critical in a pressure cooker. Also, each brand of pearl barley will absorb differently. It's better to have a little too much, and drain it off.
You want the barley to be chewy but not crunchy. If you release pressure and it's not quite done, simply leave the remaining liquid, and let it simmer a few minutes for adding the rest of the ingredients.
As I explained in the post, I chose to boil my eggs this time, and it is difficult (but possible) to get the whites firm and the yolks runny (as we prefer). We also love poached and basted. The choice is yours.
This dish is easily made vegetarian. Use a combination of vegetable broth and water, and omit the ham. If you're concerned about protein (as I am), add some chick peas or other beans/legumes. You could also try cubed tofu, but I make no guarantees on that one!
Vary the greens. The main thing to remember is that you're wilting not cooking, so they need to be very young and tender.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 217 calories; 14 g protein; 15 g carbohydrates; 10 g fat.
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- Bob's Red Mill Pearl Barley - 30 oz
- Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Sauté, Yogurt Maker and Warmer
- Premium Aleppo Pepper Flakes | 3.5 oz - 100 gr | Crushed Turkish Chili Pepper | Middle Eastern Red Pepper - Maras Chili Pepper | Product of Turkey | Halaby, Syrian Pepper | Pul Biber
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 217 Total Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 15g Protein: 14g