Pearl barley ‘risotto’ with vegetables and chicken

Barley is a tasty, nutritious and a very versatile grain that helps lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar level. Use as you would rice.

For the ‘risotto’:

  • 4 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 parsnip, cubed
  • 2 celery sticks, cubed
  • 2 waxy potatoes, cubed
  • 1 (220g) can of peas
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • (4 chicken thighs, cut in bite-size pieces, try to use organic or at least free range)

To serve:

  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley or dill, to serve


To make the ‘risotto’: place all risotto ingredients into a large stock pot. Bring to the boil and reduce heat. Simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve: sprinkle with chopped parsley or dill just before serving.

Tip: to make this into a soup, add extra 2-3 cups of stock and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Simple cooked barley

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley (makes 1 cup cooked)
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of salt

Place barley in a saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes. You can keep cooked barley in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheat in a saucepan or microwave as needed.

Heat and serve with hot milk and a spoonful of honey as a breakfast cereal, or with your favourite stew.