I'm obsessed with risotto, it's my indulgent, go-to-when-there's-nothing-else-in-the fridge dinner to cook! But unfortunately it's also rather heavy on the tummy and I always end up feeling waaaaay too full. So I introduce you to pearled barely! The texture is nutty and awesome and it doesn't leave me feeling bloated. When weighed up against rice - pearled barely is higher in fibre, higher in protein, higher in iron - although it is slightly higher in calories and carbs (meh, the nutritional benefits are in our favour!) Pearled barely is also loaded with body-loving minerals such manganese which aids in collegen production (hello plump skin!) and bone production.
My lovely friend Lucy once introduced me to an amazingly tastey and simple salad using pearled barley which you guys should also get involved in... Basically put a few packets of rocket into a salad bowl, then top with cooked and cooled pearled barley, followed by chopped cherry tomatoes, finely sliced red onion, lots of crumbled feta, lemon juice and drizzle of olive oil and sprinklings of flacked almonds! Whoa - too easy.
Coming back to risotto though... This risotto in my opinion is delicate enough to serve up for guests and excitingly is a easy and pain -free vegetarian option! The recipe below is enough to serve 2.
i n g r e d i e n t s
1 dash of olive oil
1 cup of pearled barley
1 diced brown onion
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 cup of white wine
750ml chicken stock
1 knob of butter
1/2 bag of kale
a small handful of grated parmesan
a handful of pistachio nutes (or walnuts, almonds, pecans)
juice from a lemon
seasoning to taste
m e t h o d
1. Make your risotto as you would any other risotto: Gently brown onions and garlic in olive oil, add the pearled barley and brown, adding the know of butter. Pour in the wine and bubble away until the liquid reduces.
2. Slowing stiring and adding the stock, ladle by ladle. Risotto really is a labour of love - do. not. leave. your. risotto. Keep stirring until the risotto is nice to the bite or the stock is used up. FYI Pearled barley does have a lovely nutty texture and it a little pasta-ish like.
3. Add your kale, parmesan, season to your tase and squeeze the lemon juice in.
4. Serve and eat NOW.