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Spinach & Pearl Barley Risotto

Serving: 4| Cooking time: 35 minutes | Skill: Easy

It s so easy to whip this up when you get home from work – just remember to stir stir stir to make it creamy! As you will see in the recipe, you can substitute the spinach purée for a delicious, deep red beetroot puree. Try also roasting tomatoes to squash over the top for a burst of sweetness!


2 small red onions, finely chopped
2 gloves of garlic, finely chopped
200g pearl barley
800ml vegetable stock made with 1tbsp vegetable Bouillon powder
3 tbsp of sunflower oil
Himalayan pink salt
160g cherry tomatoes (optional)
200g baby spinach (or 4 cooked beetroot)
60g coriander
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon (or more to taste)


    1. Pre-heat your oven to 175°C
    2. Place your onions and one of your garlic cloves in a pan and sauté over a medium heat with 1 tbsp sunflower oil. Once the onions have softened, add all of the pearl barely and stir around the pan for a minute before slowly adding the stock ladleful at at time, just as you would with a risotto.
    3. When you have used about half the stock and the barely has absorbed most of the liquid, pour the remaining stock into the pan and allow the barley to cook for a further 15 minutes on a medium heat, keeping an eye on it making sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
    4. In the the meantime, while the barely cooks, put all of the baby spinach (or cooked beetroot) into your blender with a pinch of salt, the remaining sunflower oil and clove of garlic and whizz up into a smooth purée.
    5. If you want to add tomatoes, place them onto a baking tray and drizzle with 2 tsp sunflower oil and roast them in the oven for around 5 minutes until the skins start to split.
    6. When the barley is cooked and all the liquid has been absorbed, add your purée into the risotto. Cook for a further 3 minutes and then turn off the heat.
    7. Stir in your lemon zest and juice and coriander and serve with the roast tomatoes scattered over the top.
    8. Watch Tash cooking this recipe here... 


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    I made this last night and it was super straightforward and delicious! Great mid week dinner – left over for lunch dish. My spinach paste did not look the same as yours though however, it didnt go into a paste, just really finely chopped in the food processor?

    Mar 03, 2016


    O wow! This was delicious! I’m an expat living in Tanzania and couldn’t find pearl barley, so I used whole organic wheat kernels instead (I know, not so gluten-free…). Also my blender needed a bit of help with the puree, so I added half an avo and a bit of water to make the blending a bit easier. MMM-MMM-MMM, it was yum!

    Sep 18, 2015


    Do you think this would work with pearled spelt as I’ve got some that needs using up? I guess it might take longer to cook.

    Sep 18, 2015

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