pearl barley risotto

Today’s recipe was given by my partner’s mother. I liked it a lot, because it’s made with pearl barley which I feel like is my favourite grain. Risotto or I shall say “barlotto” is very simple in preparation, very tasty and soothing, it’s great idea for one pot dinner or supper. If you pour a bit of water can be easily refreshed on the next day, also taste good when cooled.

I love this chewy texture (gluten – thank you), nutty flavour of barley and these quite big grains. Barley is well known source of fibre, it contains beta-glucan, which is a soluble fiber that has been shown to reduce cholesterol and possibly the risk of cardiovascular disease.

And again, similar to oats we can find three different types of barley due to the production process it’s subjected to:

  • hulled barley is the least refined version, and still contains the outer husk of the grain. Because of this, it will be chewier, more fibrous, and will take longer to cook,
  • Scotch or pot barley is hulled barley that has been polished lightly, so that most of the outer husk has been removed, but the grain’s bran and endosperm still remains,
  • pearl barley is barley that has been polished to the point that only the inner starch remains. It’s the most commonly eaten form of barley.

So from the health point of view, the best would be hulled or pot barley, but I’ve never seen any of these in the shops. Have you?

One cup of cooked barley contains 44.3g of carbohydrates, 6g of fiber and is a great source of molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, and niacin, and a good source of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6. Whole bunch of minerals and vitamins that our body needs on a daily basis.

And it’s again quick and easy meat free meal you can prepare in advance for busy days. I think that’s an advantage of no meat diet – you don’t need much time to cook, no need to remember to defrost meat the day before. Simply grab some ingredients from the cupboard, couple veggies, add a little bit of butter and cheese (because everyone knows that butter and cheese makes everything better) and you have a giant portion of delicious food.

pearl barley risotto

NOTE: as my measuring cup I use 250ml regular glass


  • 1 cup of pearl barley
  • 1 small leek (no dark green part)
  • 250g white mushrooms
  • veggie stock
  • handful of grated mozzarella
  • handful of freshly chopped parsley
  • handful of freshly chopped dill
  • olive oil or butter
  • lemon pepper or freshly ground black pepper
  • natural rock salt to taste
  • optional: 1-2 garlic cloves


Cut the leek lengthwise and thoroughly wash under running water to get rid of remains of soil. Then cut into slices. Peel the mushrooms and cut into thicker slices or on a quarters, depending on the size of the mushroom.

On a large deep pan with a non-stick coating, melt the butter (or warm up olive oil). Add leek and fry 2-3 minutes and then add chopped mushrooms. Keep the heat quite high, so that the mushrooms and the leek slightly golden. If you decided to add chopped garlic, it’s best to do it at this moment.

Add uncooked barley and give it a good stir. Let it fry for a minute and pour the broth so that it covers the barley. Cover the pan with lid, and keep on low heat until barley will be ready to eat and absorb all the liquid. If you need to add some more broth or water during cooking. Also add pepper and salt. At the end add chopped parsley and dill. And finally, add a handful of grated mozzarella. Stir everything thoroughly and serve garnished with some more parsley.


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