Top 10 Barley Recipes To Lower Cholesterol

I’m thrilled to share my personal collection of barley recipes to lower cholesterol. Barley is a fantastic whole grain that lowers cholesterol, and I recommend these recipes to my clients to help them manage their cholesterol with diet.

Did you know various nutrients can help lower cholesterol? Components like unsaturated fats, soluble fiber, plant proteins, and plant sterols are fundamental in The Portfolio Diet aimed specifically at cholesterol reduction.

Barley stands out among whole grains for its high content of beta-glucans, a form of viscous fiber (also known as soluble fiber) that significantly contributes to lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and enhancing heart health.

Continue reading to discover my favorite barley recipes to lower cholesterol. You may be surprised how little tweaks to your diet, like adding barley, can help your lower cholesterol.

Key Takeaways

  • Barley is a potent whole grain for lowering cholesterol due to its high content of beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that binds with bile acids in the digestive system, thus reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Incorporating barley into your diet, with about one to two servings per day, can be beneficial for managing cholesterol levels, as it contains significant amounts of soluble fiber. Barley can be part of a diet rich in various sources of soluble fiber such as oats, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Top 10 barley recipes for lowering cholesterol include innovative dishes like barley pancakes, barley porridge, salads with barley, barley soups, and more. These recipes are crafted by nutrition experts to offer both delicious taste and cholesterol-lowering benefits.
  • Cooking with barley is easy. Choose the right type of barley (hulled or pearled), rinse and soak if necessary, and cook it in water until tender. Barley also offers additional health benefits such as supporting digestive health, managing blood sugar levels, aiding in weight loss, and contributing to overall heart health.

How Does Barley Lower Cholesterol?

Barley effectively lowers cholesterol due to its high soluble fiber content, especially beta-glucans, which bind with bile acids in the digestive system. 

This high fiber food has roughly twice the amount of fiber as brown rice, and three times more fiber than white rice, which makes barley a powerhouse at lowering cholesterol (1).

How Much Barley Should I Eat To Lower Cholesterol?

The American Heart Association recommends getting at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day from a variety of food sources, and at least 5 to 10 grams of this should be soluble fiber. Barley is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber (2).

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming barley can significantly reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (often called “bad” cholesterol) (3).

A typical serving size of cooked pearl barley is about half a cup, which contains approximately 2 grams of soluble fiber (1). To help lower cholesterol, incorporating around one to two servings of barley per day might be beneficial, as part of a diet that includes other sources of soluble fiber like oats, beans, lentils, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t worry, these recipes below also have these ingredients!

Image of Veronica Rouse with Free 7 day heart healthy meal plan freebie.

My Top 10 Barley Recipes To Lower Cholesterol

Barley is a hearty grain that’s been somewhat under-utilized in the standard diet. So, I am excited to share with you these barley recipes to lower cholesterol that are crafted by my colleagues, trusted dietitians, and nutrition experts.

And no, you won’t find the traditional beef and barley soup here. Instead, we’re exploring innovative dishes that are as beneficial as they are delicious.


Barley Pancakes Recipe – The Heart Dietitian

Barley pancakes with a fork stacked on white plate, topped with blueberries and sugar beside and a blue and white napkin.

A simple switch of whole wheat flour to barley flour will do the trick here. Whip up these easy pancakes made with cholesterol lowering barley. My kids don’t even know the difference!

Barley Porridge With Sesame Seeds – The Heart Dietitian

Bowl filled with cooked barley, roasted raspberries and topped with sesame seeds.

Many North Americans start their day with oatmeal. While oats are undoubtedly healthy, swapping them for barley can introduce a new texture and a nuttier flavor to your morning routine.


Rice bowls or salads are common lunch options. Substituting rice with cooked barley can elevate these dishes with additional fiber and nutrients. These dishes also contain one of the 39 foods to unclog arteries, making them dishes you don’t want to miss!

Greens and Ancient Grain Bowl | The Addy Bean

A greens and ancient grain bowl in a white dish, atop a white plate with kale, quinoa or barley, cucumber, tofu, and sauce.

Substitute quinoa in this recipe for barley. Barley has a chewy texture and a slightly nutty flavor that pairs well with vegetables, beans, and lean proteins. The addition of the easy baked tofu to this bowl has added cholesterol lowering power.

Spiced Barley Salad with Pine Nuts (Vegetarian) (

A white bowl with a spiced barley salad with pine nuts.

The addition of pine nuts to this barley salad makes this dish a cholesterol lowering dream.  Pine nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats that can further lower cholesterol.

Mediterranean Lentil And Barley Salad | Craving Something Healthy

A plate with lentil and barley salad on it.

Lentils add plant protein and more soluble fiber to this dish. Not only does that mean it will lower cholesterol further, but it will also aid in satiety and weight loss.

Barley Salad with Feta and Orange Shallot Vinaigrette – Happily From Scratch (

Barley salad with feta in a white bowl on a tea towel.

I personally love barley’s ability to soak up dressings and sauces which makes an excellent addition to meals, while enriching your diet with its fiber and nutrient profile.

Curried Chickpea Salad with Barley (Vegan) (

Curried chickpea salad in a white bowl with sliced cheery tomatoes on the side, and fresh herbs.

Like the lentils above, chickpeas contain plant-based protein and cholesterol lowering soluble fiber to put this dish in the top 10 barley recipes to lower cholesterol.


Instant Pot Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup with Pumpkin Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC – Rachael Hartley Nutrition

Vegan mushroom soup pictured in a white dish with a spoon.

This soup is high in fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients to further lower cholesterol. And it quickly comes together in the instant pot!

Wild Mushroom and Barley Soup | Craving Something Healthy

Two bowls of wild mushroom and barley soup, with spoons and mushrooms in the background.

One of my top barley recipes to lower cholesterol is this soup. If you love the traditional beef and barley soup, but don’t want the saturated fat, this soup is for you. This soup has a similar taste, without increasing your cholesterol levels by consuming too much saturated fat.

Low Cholesterol Soup – A One Pot Meal You Won’t Want To Miss – The Heart Dietitian

Low cholesterol soup in red bowl on a blue napkin with red tomatoes and black pepper in the background.

I think the name says it all here – this cholesterol lowering soup can thank barley and beans for giving it this name. Barley is excellent for adding texture and fiber to soups and stews. Add it in the last 30-45 minutes of cooking to prevent it from becoming too mushy.

Other Barley Tips

Cooking Barley To Lower Cholesterol

Are you new to cooking with barley? Here’s how you can prepare and include barley in your meals to help lower cholesterol:

1. Choosing The Right Type Of Barley Is Important!

  • Hulled Barley: This is the whole grain form of barley with only the outermost hull removed. It retains most of its fiber and nutrients, making it the best choice for lowering cholesterol.
  • Pearled Barley: Although slightly more processed and with a bit less fiber than hulled barley, pearled barley is still a good choice. It has had its hull and bran layers removed, making it quicker to cook and softer in texture.

2. Cooking Basic Barley

  • Rinse and Soak: Begin by rinsing the barley under cold water to remove any dust or debris. Soaking hulled barley overnight can reduce cooking time and make it more digestible, although this step can be skipped if time is short.
  • Cook: Use about 3 cups of water for every cup of barley. Bring the water to a boil, add the barley, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer. Hulled barley usually takes about 60-90 minutes to cook, while pearled barley takes about 30-45 minutes. The barley is done when it’s tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Drain: If there’s any excess water after the barley is cooked, drain it off.

Other Benefits Of Eating Barley

Don’t forget about barley’s other benefits!

  • It supports digestive health since it is packed with fiber.
  • It has a low glycemic index which helps manage blood sugar by gradually increasing blood sugar and insulin levels post meals.
  • It aids in weight loss since fiber keeps you full, reducing your overall calorie intake.

These actions of managing cholesterol, weight and blood sugar levels contribute significantly to heart health and lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, showcasing the comprehensive benefits of barley’s soluble fiber.

Final Thoughts

By substituting barley for other grains, individuals can enjoy a range of textures and flavors while benefiting from the grain’s cholesterol-lowering and digestive health properties.

So tell me! Which of the 10 barley recipes to lower your cholesterol are you going to try to bust the boredom of traditional barley? Leave a comment below. Would love to know what caught your eye!

And if you are interested in other cholesterol-lowering tips?  Check out this 7 day low cholesterol diet plan, this diet after heart surgery, an article about how long it takes to lower cholesterol with diet, and lower cholesterol after menopause.

Or try some cholesterol-lowering recipes like this sardine soup, or this smoothie to lower cholesterol.

An image of Veronica The Heart Dietitian cutting an apple, and an image of a book. The text on the image and book reads "FREE 4 steps to a happy heart without restriction ebook".

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