Job’s Tears, a Gluten-Free Substitute for Barley

With winter here, even in the southern states, there’s nothing like a hearty soup to warm you up. Remember adding barley to your long cooking soups, to give them a little extra meatiness? Well, for the gluten free, barley is a thing of the past. But there is a grain out there that gives a similar texture and flavor, without all the nasty gluten.

Job’s Tears, Coix lacryma-jobi, is a grass native to Asia, and is often sold under the name Chinese Pearl Barley, even though it is gluten free and in no way related to barley. It has to be boiled for about an hour, and swells up beautifully, just like the gluteny barley. I have added Job’s Tears to a couple of beef based soups, and the results were amazing. Now, the taste is not 100% identical, but it’s still good, and the chewy heartiness that I missed so much is there. And really, when it comes to comfort food, texture is as important as flavor.

Dried Job’s Tears

Italian Job’s Tears Soup
based on a recipe by Jeff Smith, The Frugal Gourmet


About Li

A writer, runner, and Gluten-Free Zealot, I've been helping others navigate the gluten-free lifestyle for many years. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and when you're gluten-free, it's even better!
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