Risotto Style Barley with Asparagus

I’ll be honest. I loves me some risotto. But I can’t eat it all that often. All that starch and carb in the white, arborio rice.

So, I was thrilled to come across this recipe for risotto-style barley (less calories and less carbs) that also included asparagus… one of my favorite vegetables. A superfood really.

The total time is a bit long (one hour), but most of that is cooking time and the end result is soooo worth it!

Try this with fennel, mustard & lemon-crusted salmon.

And do let me know how it turns out for you in the comments below.

From Clean Eating Magazine

Serves: 2, prep time: 15 minutes, total time: 1 hour


  • ½ cup pearled barley
  • 1 ½ cups plus ½ cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp olive oil
  • ¼ lb asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste


  1. To a small saucepan, add barley and 1 ½ cups stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside in saucepan.
  2. In a medium saucepan on medium-high, heat oil. Add asparagus and zest and sauté for 2 minutes until tender-crisp. Add barley and remaining ½ cup stock and cook on medium, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Note: if you have leftovers, refrigerate in a covered container and use in soups or salads within 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

Per serving (1/2 cup): Calories 147, Total Fat 3g, Saturated Fat 0.5g, Unsaturated Fat 2.5g, Carbs 27g, Fiber 5g, Sugars 2g, Protein 3g, Sodium 192mg, Cholesterol 0mg.

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