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pearl barley risotto.

i do love me a good risotto, namely with lots of garlic, sweet softened onion and an abundance of seafood. lately i've gotten into risotto with a twist, switching out the infamous arborio rice for some wholesome pearl barley. 

i've seen it in a few restaurants so thought i'd have a go myself, treating the pulses exactly as i would when making risotto. italians would probably shake their heads at this interpretation of a risotto but it really is super tasty with a little extra bite, plus it keeps you fuller for longer.

shopping list. 
(serves two)

for the basic pearl barley risotto recipe
♥ one white onion, chopped
♥ two garlic cloves, chopped
♥ 120g pearl barley
♥ 200ml vegetable stock
♥ parmesan or similar (omit for vegan - and remember not all parmesan cheeses are vegetarian)
♥ salt and pepper to taste

flavour ideas
♥ pumpkin puree
♥ wilted spinach
♥ grated carrot
♥ grated courgette
♥ butternut squash
♥ red pepper

step one. begin your risotto by slowly cooking the chopped onion and garlic on a very low heat.

step two. when softened, add in your pearl barley and stir through. lightly toast for about 30 seconds.

step three. add in a little stock and allow to soak up whilst you stir for 5 minutes. repeat this for 15-20 minutes, adding stock gradually and stirring. if you need, you can just add boiling water.

step four. add in your vegetables of choice. one here is carrot, leek and courgette. the other is pumpkin, spinach and courgette.

step five. keep stirring and allow the vegetables to simmer and absorb for ten minutes. add salt and pepper to taste and grate in some parmesan.

step six. when all the vegetables are cooked, the pearl barley is cooked but springy and the water is absorbed... it's ready to serve!

have you ever tried a pearl barley or lentil risotto? what vegetables would you put in it?


  1. I love pearl barley, it works wonders in the slow cooker when you need to absorb excess liquid. I've heard of pearl barley risottos and I've wanted to make one for a while. This looks delicious Emily. I'll definitely be giving this a try.

    1. Thanks Angela. Do let me know what flavour you make :) I've heard feta on top is lovely too x

  2. this is deff my fav recipe will have to give this a try

  3. I love pearl barley. Used to make a risotto with fresh and dried mushrooms, pearl barley, bulgur wheat and quinoa, but I haven't done it for ages

  4. I love ristotto, and I love pearl barley so I'm going to give this a try!

  5. I adore pearl barley, this recipe looks right up my street! Looks so delicious!