Healthy Recipes

4 Ancient Grains for Enhanced Gains

Pack on muscle with these time-tested ingredients.

5 Muscle-Building Ancient Grains

4. Barley

Packed with fiber, calcium, and iron, barley can help thicken soups and stews. Also, look for pearled barkey because it cooks quiker than unpearled. You'll be meeting your gains with Chef Irvine's wild mushroom and butternut barlotto recipe

What You'll Need

  • 5 cups Low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups Pearl barley
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Medium butternut squash
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • 1 Garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 cups Maitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ cup White rice
  • 2 cups Low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Fine herbs (chopped chives, parsley, tarragon)
  • Salt and pepper


Serves 6

  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and add the barley and bay leaf.
  2. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Spread on a sheet pan to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  4. Peel the butternut squash. Cut off the bottom, split it down the center. Remove all seeds, then dice.
  5. Toss the squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, then place on a baking sheet. Cook in oven for 15–20 minutes.
  6. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 3 tbsp olive oil, shallots, and garlic.
  7. “Sweat” the shallots and garlic, then add mushrooms. Sauté until tender.
  8. Deglaze the pan with white wine (heat until sauce forms).
  9. Add chicken broth, barley, and squash and continue to cook over medium heat.
  10. Once the barley begins to thicken, add cheese and finish with fine herbs.
Totals (1 serving): 579 calories, 24g protein, 14g fat, 87g carbs