Nutritious Barley Gluten-Free Substitutes

Some individuals are sensitive to gluten, and regrettably, most grains, including barley, contain gluten.

However, there are many healthy gluten-free grains, and this article will look at six of the best: millet, amaranth, sorghum, teff, buckwheat, and quinoa.

6 Gluten-Free Substitutes for Barley Grain


  1. Millet
  2. Amaranth
  3. Sorghum
  4. Teff
  5. Buckwheat
  6. Quinoa

Millet is a cereal grain that is grown from small-seeded grasses. It is a drought-resistant grain that grows quickly in tropical semi-arid areas. It is popular in regions of Asia and Africa, including India, China, Mali, Niger, and Russia.

This grain contains manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. It also contains B vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, B6, and folate.

When compared to other cereal grains, millet is a more cheap crop.

It cooks in approximately 20 minutes and is a great kitchen staple. Millet’s mild, somewhat sweet taste complements both savory and sweet dishes. Wholemeal flour is often used in the production of Indian flatbread, roti, and various pastries and polenta.


Amaranth is a pseudocereal grain that is gluten-free. It was a staple cuisine for the Aztecs and was often prepared during religious festivals and rites.

This grain features coils of white germ, a porridge-like texture, and a somewhat gritty texture.

One cup of cooked amaranth has 40g of starch on average, making it one of the starchiest grains. With 9 g of protein, amaranth is the gluten-free grain with the second highest protein content.

It is high in calcium and a good source of copper, selenium, manganese, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also high in folate and B6.

Amaranth may be eaten simply, made into porridge, or added to soups and meat stews. Pastries, pancakes, and roux-based sauces may all be made using ground amaranth flour.


Sorghum is the fifth most important grain in the world due to its many applications: It is a food crop that is also used to feed cattle.

Sorghum is a popular food source grown throughout Africa, notably Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan. It is also often cultivated in countries with subtropical and tropical climates, such as certain parts of India and China, since it can adapt to a wide variety of climatic conditions. It is a traditional grain that is often used to produce flatbread, cereal, and beverages.

Sorghum is the biggest gluten-free grain, about the size of buckwheat grains. It’s nutritious since it’s high in magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, vitamins B6 and niacin.

Its chewy, gritty texture and nutty-sweet taste make it ideal for salads, pilaf, and fried rice. It may also be fried like popcorn and crushed into a flour alternative.


Teff is a tiny cereal grain native to the Horn of Africa. It is a resilient crop that can grow in both wet and dry conditions.

Teff seeds have a reddish brown color. They cook rapidly due to their tiny size, similar to a poppy seed.

Teff is high in protein and a good source of vitamins B6, niacin, thiamin, and folate. Minerals such as phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, and manganese are also abundant.

Teff, like amaranth, is well-known for its high calcium content; one cup of cooked teff has around 12% of the RDA.

Teff makes a filling morning cereal that mimics porridge. It has a light nutty flavor.

It may also be used to thicken soups and stews, particularly tomato soup. It is used to make injera, a popular fermented sourdough flatbread from Ethiopia. Teff is often used to increase the protein level of vegetarian burger patties.


Buckwheat is a gluten-free grain that is closely related to rhubarb.

It used to grow primarily in Southeast Asia, particularly in western Yunnan, China, near the Tibetan Plateau.

Later, it was taken to Eastern Europe, where it became a staple, serving as the foundation for numerous regional delicacies such as kasha, or cooked, toasted buckwheat.

It has a high fiber content, as well as niacin, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and phosphorus.

The triangular-shaped seeds have a delicate texture and a sweet and nutty taste after cooking.

Buckwheat flour is often used in soba noodles and pancake batter. Raw buckwheat is often used in pizza crust and dry granola.


Quinoa is a non-grass plant seed that is related to amaranth. It is endemic to South America’s Andes region and was considered the mother of all grains by the Incan civilisation.

Quinoa seeds are flat and spherical while raw; when completely cooked, they split apart to form tiny, soft grains with a white, coiled germ that falls out.

Quinoa is a high-protein grain that also contains phosphorus, copper, manganese, magnesium, and iron. It also contains a lot of B vitamins, including as B6, folate, riboflavin, and thiamine.

Quinoa has a rich and buttery flavor, similar to pasta, but it also has a somewhat bitter flavor. It may be served as a side dish with chicken marsala, tempeh, tofu, or chicken tortilla soup, much like rice. It may also be used in a variety of different foods, such as sushi or sautéed mushrooms. Quinoa is an excellent addition to salads.

Nutritional Value of Barley Gluten-Free Substitutes

1 cup (cooked) Calories Protein Carbohydrate Fiber Fat
Millet 207; 10% 6.1g; 12% 41.2g; 14% 2.3g; 9% 1.7g; 3%
Amaranth 251; 13% 9g; 18% 46g; 15% 5.2g; 21% 3.9g; 6%
Sorghum 219; 11% 6.6g; 13% 46g; 15% 5g; 20% 2.2g; 3%
Teff 255; 13% 9.8g; 19% 50g; 16% 7.1g, 28% 1.6g; 2%
Buckwheat 155; 8% 5.7g; 11% 33.4g; 11% 4.5g; 18% 1g; 1%
Quinoa 222; 11% 8.1g; 16% 39.4g; 13% 5.2g; 21% 3.6g; 5%


Millet, amaranth, sorghum, teff, buckwheat, and quinoa are popular substitutes for time-honored staples like barley.

These grains have been cultivated since the dawn of agriculture. They include a lot of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

They are excellent pantry staples to have on hand anytime grains are on the menu, particularly if you are gluten intolerant.

These gluten-free barley alternatives may be used to create pastries or to compliment salads, stews, soups, meat, and vegetables.


What is a good substitute for barley?

Quinoa. Quinoa is an excellent alternative for barley since it has a similar nutty and earthy taste.
Farro. Farro is one of the greatest barley alternatives.
Rice that is brown. Brown rice has a chewy texture and nutty taste akin to barley.
Couscous with pearls.

Can something contain barley and be gluten-free?

The amount utilized determines whether or not it may be included in a gluten-free diet. If a product is labeled gluten free and includes barley malt extract, it will have less than 20 ppm gluten and may be consumed in a gluten-free diet.

What can I substitute for barley in my soup?

Farro is one of the finest alternatives for pearl barley; it has a comparable nutty flavor and chewy texture like barley. Farro comes in many varieties, including whole farro and pearl farro, which has had its bran removed and hence cooks faster than whole farro.

What is a substitute for barley in beef barley soup?

If you can’t locate barley, you may substitute quinoa (which cooks in approximately 15 minutes with a ratio of 2 cups water to 1 cup of quinoa). Alternatively, rice may be substituted. This may be made in a slow cooker. Cook for 4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.

What grain is most similar to barley?

Farro, which has a similar texture and taste to barley, is another suitable substitute. Farro, commonly known as emmer, is a gluten-containing ancient grain. It’s high in fiber, magnesium, and zinc.

What is the healthiest form of barley?

Though pearled barley contains certain minerals, hulled barley is the better alternative. A whole grain-rich diet has been related to a decreased risk of chronic illnesses.

Why can’t celiacs have barley?

No, barley does not contain gluten. Wheat, barley, and rye are the three grains that cannot be consumed on a gluten-free diet. These three grains contain the protein gluten, which causes the autoimmune response observed in celiac disease patients.

Should celiacs avoid barley?

Many common plants, seeds, grains, cereals, and flours, such as maize, polenta, potatoes, rice, and soya, are safe to consume for those with celiac disease. They should, however, avoid gluten-containing grains such as barley, wheat, rye, couscous, and semolina.

Does farro have gluten?

Farro does not contain gluten. Because farro is a form of wheat, it includes gluten. Farro should be avoided if you have celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or a wheat allergy.

What is a healthy alternative to pearl barley?

Farro, couscous, quinoa, bulgur wheat, and brown rice are some of the alternatives. These alternatives have the same texture as pearl barley and may be used in many of the same recipes. When selecting a substitution, evaluate the taste of the meal and choose a grain that will compliment the other elements.

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