Are you looking for a way to get a hearty breakfast into your family before they head to work/school? Do you want a breakfast that is easy, healthy, and budget friendly? Do you like the idea of breakfast cooking itself while you sleep and being ready when you wake up? Am I starting to sound like a cheesy (nutritional yeast-y?) infomercial?
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, then this recipe post is for you!
While my kids love a hearty breakfast of Plant Powered Pancakes or a nice warm bowl of Yoda Oatmeal, I don’t love how early I have to wake up to get them fed, dressed, and out the door for school every day. One way I set myself up for success on busy mornings is to batch cook breakfasts over the weekend so I can snag a few extra zzz’s in the morning. Recently, I decided to try a new grain to switch up our breakfast routine and wondered if I could get away with using my trusty slow cooker to make it even easier. Turns out, it worked beautifully!
Barley is a wonderful, robust grain that lends itself well to the longer cooking times of the slow cooker. It has a chewy texture and a slight nutty flavor that works in both sweet and savory dishes. When prepared in the slow cooker, barley turns out quite creamy without becoming mushy which is perfect for a breakfast dish.
Barley: Rich in multiple vitamins and nutrients including manganese, molybdenum, and B vitamins, barley is also extremely high in dietary fiber. As we have learned, dietary fiber is a powerful cholesterol lowering agent, great for the digestive system, and reduces the risk of all manners of coronary artery disease. Barley is also effective in reducing glucose and insulin response, which makes it perfect for those with blood sugar issues such as diabetes. Recent studies have also suggested that a diet rich in whole grains like barley are protective against childhood asthma. Please note that barley is not suitable for those with Celiac Disease or a gluten allergy.
What makes this method so wonderful, is that you can easily make the barley using just water, and then flavor it as you wish in the morning using fresh fruit, spices, various toppings, and plant milk. That way, one batch of barley can be eaten many different ways through the week without anyone getting bored! My oldest preferred the mango coconut, my middle loved the strawberries and cream, and my youngest enjoyed the banana nut version. I drizzled each bowl with a touch of maple syrup before serving and everyone was happy with their “different” breakfast!
Slow Cooker Breakfast Barley
- 2 cups pearl barley, rinsed well (buy it from the bulk section to save some money!)
- 7 cups water
- Optional toppings: fresh fruit, cinnamon, vanilla extract, unsweetened shredded coconut, raw caco nibs , hemp hearts, plant milk, maple syrup, etc
- Place rinsed barley and water in the slow cooker. Stir well to combine.
- Cook on low for 7-8 hours. I started my slow cooker at 10pm and set it for 8 hours. At 6 am, it turned itself to the warm setting (I LOVE my slow cooker for this feature!) and I served breakfast at 7:30 am.
- Top each bowl with desired toppings and serve immediately. Store any leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Makes about 8 cups (6-8 servings)
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