Vegan Apple-Cranberry Barley Pudding

By: Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

Those of you Irish lads and lasses may recall this apple barley pudding from your childhood. My version gets a bit of an update with the addition of dried cranberries and spices and the substitution of nut milk for the heavy cream. Perfect for vegans, this pudding derives its thickness from the pectin in the green apples. The barley also adds a bit of thickness and texture as well as protein and fiber. The fresh lemon juice and relatively small amount of sugar prevent this dessert from being overly sweet. As is typical of traditional Irish cuisine, this rustic pudding is simple and filling.

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  • 4 cups (1 liter)  water
  • 5 tbsp pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 pounds (3/4 kg) green apples, peeled, cored and sliced thinly
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt, separate
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 pinches ground nutmeg
  • 4 tbsp dried cranberries (or other dried fruit of your liking)
  • 2 tbsp nut milk 


  1. Combine the water and barley in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Add the apples and 1/4 tsp sea salt and gently simmer until the barley has plumped and softened and the apples have broken apart, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Let the mixture cool slightly, then carefully pour into a blender and puree.
  3. Return the pureed mixture to the pot. Stir in the sugar, fresh lemon juice and 1/2 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil and let bubble for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent any burning at the bottom of the pot.
  4. Stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg, mixing well. Fold in the dried cranberries. Transfer to a clean container, cover and refrigerate until the pudding is very cold.
  5. When the pudding has cooled, mix in the nut milk. Increase the amount of milk if you prefer a thinner pudding.
  6.  To serve: Portion into pretty dessert glasses, and garnish with a dusting of cinnamon and raw sugar, or more dried fruit, if desired.

NOTE: If you use Craisins versus unsweetened dried cranberries, use 1 tbsp less coconut sugar.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Servings: 10

  • Nutrition per serving:

Yields and nutritional information are estimated and will vary depending on produce size and equipment used.

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Jody Paglia Tanzman, RD,LDN,CLC

Jody is a Registered Dietitian and trained professional chef. She is a graduate of Boston University and received her post-baccalaureate degree in dietetics at Hunter College. She also attended the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan. Jody has cooked for numerous well-known restaurants and catering companies throughout NYC, including Gramercy Tavern and the green, sustainable catering company, The Cleaver Co. Jody is a frequent recipe contributor to several online blogs. Her articles on gluten and celiac disease have been referenced on numerous websites, and she is currently at work on a gluten-free cookbook. Jody also works as a Culinary Advisor for Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, creating new, high quality menu items that meet strict parameters for nutrition and wellness. Her most favorite job, however, is being a mom to two boys.

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