Barley Risotto with Corn and Basil

Prep Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs

Risotto is typically made with Arborio rice, but pearl barley is a good substitute; it produces a dish that is similar in texture but with a nuttier taste and more fiber.


  • 2 cans reduced-sodium chicken broth, (14.5 ounces each)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 cup pearl barley

  • ½ cup dry white wine

  • 1 package frozen corn kernels, (10 ounces)

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

  • ½ cup grated (about 2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving


  1. In a medium saucepan, bring broth and 4 cups water just to a simmer.

  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add barley; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Then add wine; cook, stirring, until evaporated, about 1 minute.

  3. Add 2 cups hot broth mixture; simmer, stirring occasionally, until almost absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Continue adding broth mixture in this manner until barley is tender and mixture is creamy, 40 to 50 minutes (you may not have to use all the broth). Add corn; cook just to heat through, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Stir in basil and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, with extra cheese.


If you prefer, replace the corn with other cooked vegetables, such as peas, green beans, zucchini, or mushrooms.

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