Barley and Kale Bowl

Article written and reviewed by Jenny Gormley, BS
Published June 11, 2021

Try a whole grain you haven’t had before in this nutrient dense and delicious bowl.
Have you heard of barley before?
Barley is a whole grain that is tasty, high in fiber and carbohydrates. Barley is not gluten free, but can be easily substituted for buckwheat which is gluten free.
Barley comes in two forms, hulled and pearled. Hulled barley is barley in its most whole and unprocessed form so this is what you want to look for at the store.
Including whole grains in your diet offers extra dense energy, longevity, and diversity of flavor. Some other examples of whole grains include groats, quinoa, buckwheat, teff, wild rice, and spelt.

Whole vs. Processed Grains

If you’ve been following the Mastering Diabetes Method, you know that we always recommend consuming plant-based whole foods to help you manage your A1c.
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that the less processed food you eat, the better our health and longevity will be.
Many people don’t recognize which grains are processed and which are sold to us in their whole form. At the grocery store the common whole grains that can be bought include: buckwheat, quinoa, spelt, brown rice, rye, bulgar, amaranth, sorghum, farro, and teff.
The most commonly misunderstood grains are oats. The oats you see at a typical grocery store are likely processed. Whole oats- called groats are oats in their whole form.
Steel cut oats are not processed oats, or are the least processed version behind groats. Old fashioned and quick oats are very processed versions of the whole grain groat and should be avoided.
Being aware of which grains are whole and which are processed will hopefully open you up to a world of grains you haven’t heard of or tried before. Get excited, grains are tasty and satiating!

Where to Buy Barley & What Kind

Most grocery stores carry two types of barley; pearled barley and hulled barley.
Hulled barley is a whole grain. It has had the indigestible outer husk removed and is darker in color than pearled barley.
Pearled barley is not a whole grain. It has had its outer husk and bran layer removed, and then is polished, giving it a lighter color.
We always recommend eating foods in their most whole form- and so for this recipe we recommend using hulled barley.
If not found at your local grocery store, then try your local health food store, and if you’re out of luck then try this barley on Amazon or simply substitute out the barley for any whole grain of your choice.

Different Types of Kale

There are over 10 varieties of kale, and they do all taste different. Your local farmers market might even have specialty local varieties so don’t forget to check!
There are many varieties of kale to try, including lacinato, dinosaur, green, purple. If you haven’t grown accustomed to the dense texture that kale has, keep trying different varieties!
Kale is extremely micronutrient dense and so we highly recommend you include it in your diet. The dense fiber content of kale can be chewy when not prepared correctly.
You can massage kale to loosen up the density of the leaves. Massaging it, just with your hands and some water, causes the leaves to soften and the flavor to become less bitter. You can do this method with any type of kale, and massage it for as long as it takes to reach the consistency you enjoy.
It’s time to start kale massaging!

Photos by: @livemoreraw
Recipe by: Beverly Verwey

Barley and Kale Bowl

Try a whole grain you haven’t had before in this nutrient dense and delicious bowl.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 1
Calories 454 kcal



  • 1 cup Hulled Barley
  • 1 tbsp Cilantro
  • 1/2 cup Pinto Beans
  • 4 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Yellow Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cucumber,
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Carrot
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Lime Zest
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican Spice Blend



  • Mix cilantro and pinto beans with the cooked barley.
  • Prepare the kale, bell pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, and carrots.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the lime juice, lime zest, and Mexican spice. Set aside.
  • In a large serving bowl layer the chopped kale on the bottom then top in sections with the cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and pepper leaving space for the barley mixture.
  • Scoop the barley mixture into its own section on top of kale.
  • Drizzle the lime dressing on top and sprinkle with the lime zest.


  • Alternate spices could be sumac, cumin, curry.
  • Instead of pinto use your favorite beans such as black or red kidney beans


Calories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 97gProtein: 18gFat: 4gSodium: 197mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Jenny Gormley, BS

Jenny Gormley, BS is a Sports Nutrition Coach and founder of the Micronutrient Movement.

Her first job working in a kitchen started more than 12 years ago at the age of 15. Throughout the last decade, she has trained and worked in many different restaurants, all with different chefs and styles.

She is a self-taught chef who discovered a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle throughout her college education and hasn’t looked back since.

Jenny earned a Bachelor of Science in Fitness and Wellness from Northern Arizona University, with an emphasis in Health Education and Human Biology.