Sunday, January 16, 2011

Barley Sushi

Today is the second episode of "Sugar Slashing Sunday."  Barley might be my new favorite diabetic-friendly food.  It is a great substitute for rice, and it has culinary benefits beyond health.  Pearl or pearled barley has had the outer husk removed.  Pearl barley has a Glycemic Index (GI) around 22-25, half that of regular rice (varies between 38-87 depending on variety), which means it will have a lower impact on post-meal blood glucose.   

Barley can be a little more cumbersome to roll into sushi, but it stays springy and tender longer than white rice, which tends to dry out in the fridge.  This makes pearl barley an excellent choice if you want to roll your sushi even two days in advance.  By following the tips bellow, even novice sushi makers can to make this delicious, good-carb treat.   
 Once you have left the confines of traditional rice sushi, feel free to get creative with your fillings!  If you have nothing else in the house, whip up some eggs with a little soy sauce and agave nectar, fry thin, and cut in strips.  You can also poach salmon in the microwave and cut in strips.  I used thinly sliced carots, cucumber, and avocado.

  Try these smart additions to the barley:
  • seasoned or plain rice vinegar or cigar vinegar
  • agave nectar/syrup or black strap molasses (personally, I use date syrup) 
  • Tamari sauce (like soy sauce) or salt 
  • Nori Sheet with ingredients ready to roll
  • Try fenugreek to bring out the sweetness without added sugar.
  • Prepare barley according to package directions. 
  • Don't add too many wet ingredients (liquid flavor enhancers)
  • Roll sushi while barley is warm.
  • Roll on a bamboo sushi mat or stiff place mat.
  • After you place one or two heaping spoonfuls of barley on the nori sheet, lay plastic wrap or a plastic bag on top and use your hands, a rolling pin, or a small piece of cardboard to smooth and flatten the barley.
  • Cover only 2/3 the nori sheet with barley.
  • Carefully roll up with fillings and chill in the fridge before slicing.
  •  After chilling, slice each roll into 6 pieces.
  • chilled sushi logs


  1. Brown rice sushi is too nutty for me... I wonder if I'd like barley sushi!!!! =)

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. Hi Yosefa, I found you via Mother in Israel and haven't yet had a chance to say how much I enjoy Cooking Outside the Box. I am very much the same way with cooking, and it was only when I learned to cook with my hands (and my brain) rather than strictly following recipes that I found the fun and satisfaction in it. Also, my 3-year-old knows that if we're going to watch something together, it's probably Alton...

    I love the new daily themes you're doing and look forward to reading them. You are blogging inspiration!



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