How to Make Barley with Romano Cheese

barley and romano cheese

Here’s an easy and healthy Italian recipe that uses cooked Barley with Romano Cheese.  I forgot how good this recipe tasted, and how quick it was to make. Not only that, this recipe is great when on a restricted budget because the barley itself is so filling and satisfying.  

For this Italian-style recipe, all you need is:

  • Pearled barley
  • Water
  • Romano Cheese

A Few Facts about Barley

I don’t know much about the details of barley. But it is an ancient grain and it’s healthy.   When I eat it, I am filled and satisfied and don’t get food cravings for hours afterwards. 

There are two types, pot barley and pearled. We only use pearled which takes a less time to cook. 

It is low glycemic which is great for diabetics. This I’m sure is why unlike a pasta meal, I have no hunger cravings after eating.  

It contains lots of fiber (which helps lower cholesterol), selenium, manganese, magnesium, and other nutrients.  

How to Cook the Barley

If you’re not familiar with cooking barley, it’s very easy.   It’s a whole grain and loaded with great nutrients often lacking in our diets.  So anytime I can write about a healthy and delicious Italian recipe, I’m excited to share it with you!

Go by the instructions on your package.  But for mine, I used 1 cup of barley.   

Rinse the barley first, then drain. 

Bring 3 Cups of water in a medium sauce pan to a boil and add the barley.   It’s better to have too much water than too little (see my picture below).  It will absorb most of the water.

Bring it to a boil and then simmer for about 30-35 minutes until done.   The barley will be chewy and firm.  It’s not like rice where it’s super soft and fluffy.   

It will at least double in size so don’t use a small sauce pan. 

One tip – it can burn the bottom of the pan just like rice if cooked too long.   If you’re new to barley it’s easy not to realize when it’s ready.   So keep in mind, it IS to be chewy, but no crunch.    You can see below my burnt pan because I got distracted and didn’t pay attention (big surprise…).

How to Serve the Barley

There really isn’t anything special to do with this dish once your barley is cooked.   Simply stir in the cheese to taste (I use about 1 tbsp of Romano Cheese per serving).  

You can add in some chopped parsley, or olive oil if you want.  I don’t use garlic with this recipe, but if you like to toast your barley in olive oil before cooking over the stove, you could toss in some garlic.   

Personally, I’d rather just have some separate roasted whole garlic which would go impeccably well with this dish.

Serve warm and that’s it – enjoy!

barley romano cheese recipe

Barley with Romano Cheese

This is my favorite barley recipe, made Italian style! It's very healthy, filling and satisfying. Tossed with Romano cheese it gives a beautiful flavor that you'll love. Goes great for dinner, Italian side dish or lunch. Perfect for those who need low glycemic recipes and are on a diet!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp Romano Cheese more or less to taste


  • Rinse and drain barley
  • Bring 3 cups water or stock to a boil
  • Add barley and stir
  • Cover and lower to simmer for 35 minutes
  • Stir when done. Should be chewy and firm, not crunchy.
  • Serve warm.

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How to Make Barley with Romano Cheese

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