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Summer vegetable pearl barley ‘risotto’

Summer vegetable pearl barley ‘risotto’

Risotto can be cooked in different ways, and here Mary Gwynn uses pearl barley to up the vegetables to grains ratio. This version works as a meal on its own or as an accompaniment to grilled fish or lamb.

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VegetarianHealthySource of fibre1 of your 5 a day
  • Serves4
  • CourseAccompaniment
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook45 mins
  • Total time1 hr 5 mins

Please note, we take every care to ensure the product, allergen and recipe information displayed is correct. However, should a product be unavailable, alternatives may be displayed and/or a substitution provided. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please always check the product label before use.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 clove/s garlic, finely chopped
  • 200g pearl barley
  • 1 pinch saffron strands
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 750ml vegetable or chicken stock, simmering
  • 100g baby topped carrots, halved if large
  • 100g fine green beans, topped, tailed and halved
  • 100g asparagus tips, cut into 5cm pieces
  • 4 baby courgettes, trimmed and quartered
  • 80g pack popped garden peas
  • 4 tbsp chopped mixed fresh herbs, all or some of parsley, mint, basil and chives
  • 15g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated, plus more to serve


  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes, until soft but not browned. Add the barley, stir to coat in the oil, then add the saffron and cook for 1 minute more. Pour in the wine, then simmer to reduce completely. Have the stock simmering in a pan and add it, 2 ladlefuls at a time, stirring occasionally and simmering to reduce each addition. This takes 40-45 minutes. Watch it but don’t stir constantly.

  2. While the barley is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Heat the remaining oil, then add the carrots, stir to coat in the oil, then add 50ml of the hot stock and seasoning. Cover the pan and leave to steam cook for 3-4 minutes, until almost tender. Add the beans and asparagus, cover the pan again and cook for 3-4 minutes more until the vegetables are nearly cooked but still have bite. Add the peas and courgettes, stir to combine and cover the pan. Leave while you finish cooking the barley. The vegetables will steam in the little bit of liquid left in the bottom of the pan.

  3. When the barley is tender and just retaining a bite, stir the chopped herbs into the vegetables and fold into the barley with the parmesan. Check the seasoning and serve in warm bowls with extra cheese on the side.

Cook’s tip

If serving this on its own as a main course, add toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds at the end of cooking.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


1,573kJ/ 375kcals



Saturated Fat












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