New This Month

Spring Barley Risotto


A healthier alternative to the more traditional arborio risotto rice, barley adds iron and fiber to this fresh take on risotto. One cup of the green peas found in this dish offers more protein than a large egg.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Body+Soul, March 2009


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup pearled barley
  • 2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, or water
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 14 1/2 ounces vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut on bias into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 box (10 ounces) frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves, plus small leaves for garnish


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add barley and leeks; cook until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water; bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer until liquid absorbs, about 10 minutes.

  2. Add broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas until heated through. Add Parmesan and mint; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint leaves.

Reviews Add a comment

  • Peter Pumpkin
    18 APR, 2011
    I have made this with farro which has the "nuttiness" and firmness of barley and wheat berries. It is a type of spelt and is acceptable for those who have a wheat intolerance. It is also higher in protein and fiber than rice. In place of white wine, like to add a splash of dry vermouth for a nice herbal note and sometimes add cremini or shiitaki mushrooms.
  • trinigb53
    18 MAR, 2011
    Can you post the amount of calories in this dish. Thank you
  • NatLizAn
    4 APR, 2010
    Yum! I only had one leek, no wine, and no fresh mint but I used extra veg broth and dried mint and it turned out very flavorful! I had two helpings! The barley has a nice hardiness that you don't get with rice. Goes in the recipe collection under favorites!