Friday, September 23, 2011

Barley risotto

Do you cook with barley? Oddly, I rarely do, despite liking it a lot as an addition to soup.

It seems that it is a worthwhile grain to utilise. Barley has a low Glycemic Index, provides both soluble and insoluble fibre, and is a source of several vitamins and minerals, including B1, B3, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.

Other than an easy addition to soups, pearl barley (which is hulled and steam processed) can be used in place of rice in risottos and similar dishes. This casserole recipe provides one example, but the ingredient and flavour combinations could easily be modified to match the season, what's in your fridge, and your own tastes.

Barley Casserole
Adapted from Rosemary Stanton's Healthy Cooking
Serves 4


  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 bunch spring onions, white ends chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red capsicum, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Oil, optional, for cooking onion

  1. In a large non-stick pan, cook the spring onion and crushed garlic until soft.
  2. Add the barley and stock and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat and add capsicum, zucchini, and celery. Stir through and add the oregano.
  3. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. 
  4. Serve on its own, or as a side dish.

I really enjoyed this!

The leftovers are also enjoyable cold, which makes for easy mid-week lunches. 

Do you make any barley dishes? Or have any other ideas for using the grain?


  1. I tried a barley bake ages ago that was mostly barley and very stodgy but I tried a barley salad this year with lots of pistachios and apricots and great stuff - it was so good that I think I should use it more in salad - your dish looks full of veg so I am sure I would love it

  2. It looks a lot like rice! I've never cooked with barley, but exploring more grains is on my to-do list.

  3. I've been meaning to cook with barley for so, so long! I just bought long-grain basmati rice, though, so should probably use that first. But I want thiiiiiis! :P

  4. @Johanna GGG
    Your salad sounds wonderful - I'll have to try something similar as it is a grain that works well cold.

    I do think the vegetables in this are essential for avoiding excess stodge!

  5. @brocstar
    Definitely similar to rice...but a bit chewier and a slightly deeper flavour (if that makes sense :P).

  6. @Hannah
    Basmati rice is also good! I admire your limiting approach though, I currently have 3 types of rice + barley + quinoa in the (over full) pantry...suffice to say each bag will take a looong time to use up.

  7. What a pretty and delicious looking recipe! Though I've only cooked with barley a few times, maybe you could incorporate it into a breakfast. Sort of an oatmeal concept? :)

  8. Barley I love and I never use it...why? Actually I'm not sure. I suspect it would just the thing for bread making...hmm, will put it on my list. Thanks Kari :-)

  9. @spinachandspice
    Ooh, I hadn't thought of that - but yes! I'm sure it would work well in that form. It would probably need diluting with fruit or something though, to avoid being over-dense?

  10. @cityhippyfarmgirl
    That was my question too, before this :) I'll look forward to your bread experiments, if you do decide to try it in that form!

  11. I loooooove barley! One of my favourite things to add to a soup. I love pumpkin barley risotto too.

  12. I've had a box of barley in my cabinet for months. I think I'm going to make a barley enchilada casserole. Thanks for me reminding me it was in there :)

  13. @Mrs Bok - The Bok Flock
    It's one of my favourite soup additions too :) And I like the pumpkin idea!

  14. @Sara Grambusch
    You are most welcome - thanks for stopping by :) I might have to try the enchilada angle myself.


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