5 Gluten Free Substitutes for Barley (Bonus Recipes)

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Barley is a type of whole grain that originated from the grass family. It’s farmed all over the world that has both dry and wet seasons. Barley is mainly produced as malt to make beer. The rest are for human food and animal feeds.

Barley flour is used as part of our diet specifically as a thickener and flavor enhancer. But did you know that if barley flour isn’t available, you may substitute it with other gluten-free flour such as Buckwheat? Other alternatives are Quinoa, Brown Rice, Corn, and Oats.

Let’s see how these substitutes are used and what perfect recipes we can do with it.

Substitutes for Barley

1. Buckwheat


This grain-like seed is referred to as pseudocereal because of its culinary use similar to cereals which have complex carbohydrate content. Buckwheat is not related to wheat since it doesn’t belong to the grass family. It’s gluten-free and has tons of antioxidants, a perfect addition to a healthy diet.

A cup of buckwheat flour contains 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. It’s also a rich source of healthy minerals such as copper, manganese, and magnesium.

The famous Japanese soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour. Instead of using regular pasta for lunch and dinner, try out a hearty soba noodle soup for a change.

“Vegan Soba Noodle Soup”


  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 7 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 head bok choy
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsps olive oil

For garnish


  1. In a big pot, saute mushrooms with olive oil over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and ginger saute for a minute.
  3. Add soy sauce and stir well for about 2 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft.
  4. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the soba noodles and vegetables, cook for 5 minutes until noodles are al dente.
  6. Serve hot and garnish with carrots, scallions, boiled eggs, and sesame seeds.

2. Quinoa


This herb plant is mainly used for its nutrition-packed edible seeds. The seeds are highly rich in protein, dietary fiber and vitamins, and minerals. Vegans, vegetarians, and health-conscious folks are turning into quinoa to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

This gluten-free grain gained popularity due to its impressive versatility to replace other dishes such as meat and rice. A cup of cooked quinoa can provide 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein. But most of all, it provides all 8 essential amino acids that your body needs.

Quinoa is perfect for dishes such as vegan burgers, casserole crusts, pancakes, and tortillas. You may use the seeds themselves or get the flour form from the grocery stores.

“Easy Quinoa Pancakes”


  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 beaten eggs


  1. In a deep bowl, combine all ingredients. Start with the dry ingredients followed by liquids.
  2. Stir slowly and let it rest for 15 minutes to achieve an airy pancake.
  3. Prep a large skillet, spread some butter over medium heat.
  4. Pour pancake batter on the skillet and allow the first side to cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly flip the pancake and cook the other side for 1 minute.
  6. Serve with berries, syrup of powdered sugar.

3. Brown Rice

Brown rice came from the same grain like white rice. However, brown rice still retains its bran and germ which white rice lacks. Since it has retained most of its bran and germ, brown rice is packed with fiber and micronutrients.

Its flour is also perfect for deep-fried dishes since it adds more crisp and texture to it. On top of that, it also enhances the flavor, unlike other flours. In Asia, rice flour is widely used as a dessert-like rice cakes and rice puddings.

A cup of cooked brown rice contains 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. It also offers a good amount of magnesium and selenium. This gluten-free grain is a perfect carb addition for healthy meals.

“Brown Rice Pudding”


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 cup mixed dried fruits and nuts


  1. In a saucepan, mix cooked brown rice, butter, milk, and cinnamon.
  2. Simmer over medium heat while stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the mashed banana and honey. Cook for 1 minute or until the mixture is thick.
  4. Serve hot and garnish with dried fruits and nuts.

4. Corn


Corn is by far the most in-demand cereal grain being consumed in the whole world. It’s readily available, affordable and flexible to use for any dishes. It has a high nutritional value which contains fiber, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids.

A cup of sweet corn contains 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. Health experts attest that a daily corn intake as carbs can benefit eye health. Other than its nutrients mentioned previously, it also has lutein that is essential to keep the eyes healthy.

Corn goes along with any dish or you can eat it by itself either boiled or grilled. The flour is also perfect for making corn tortillas and cornbreads.

Buttermilk Cornbread”


  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup butter
  • ⅔ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C and prep an 8-inch square pan greased with butter.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter and sugar.
  3. Add the eggs and blend evenly.
  4. Mix buttermilk with baking soda and add to the mixture.
  5. Add the cornmeal, flour, salt, and blend evenly until lumps are not visible.
  6. Pour the batter to the greased baking pan.
  7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. Oats

oats bran

Last but not least is the healthy oats. It’s commonly used as oatmeal typically eaten for breakfast. This cereal grain can be consumed whole and as milk as well. This grain is the best source for beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that can lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

Oats are definitely gluten-free. However, you need to be careful from other brands and check the label for any trace of gluten. Other oats may have gluten while being harvested and processed.

A cup of oats is packed with 11 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber. No wonder hot oatmeal for breakfast is the best way to start the day. Other than being popular as a breakfast fix, oats are also perfect for making healthy desserts such as brownies, cookies, and granola bars.

“Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars”


  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup oat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup crushed nuts (any kind)
  • ¼ cup blueberries


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F.
  2. Prep an 8-inch square pan lined with parchment paper.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients: rolled oats, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well.
  4. In another mixing bowl, mix all wet ingredients: eggs, oat milk, and vanilla extract.
  5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients until evenly blended and rest for about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the nuts and blueberries until well incorporated.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  8. When it’s cooked, allow the bars to cool down for at least 5 minutes before slicing.

There you have it! Now you know that barley has plenty of gluten-free substitutes, you may now enjoy plenty of healthy dishes to improve your health.

1 comment
  1. Did I read right that the oven temperature for the Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Bars is 175 degrees Fahrenheit? Thank you

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