Barley Risotto

This recipe was spotted in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook called NOPI, visit his website and have a look around.  I did not have the watercress so made as per the instructions below and found this a great alternative to your standard rice risotto.  Delicious, mushroomy, creamy risotto from barley, spinach and organic vegetable stock powder. As with any risotto, have extra stock on hand, keep adding until you reach the al dente texture you like in the barley.

Barley Risotto

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 600g organic pearl barley
  • 2800ml organic vegetable stock*

  • 370g fresh spinach, washed
  • 160g organic shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove organic garlic
  • 6 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 litre organic vegetable stock*
  • 460g portobello mushrooms
  • 200g leeks

*make the stock up with 18g (one rounded dessert spoon) of Rapunzel Organic Stock Powder per litre of water


  1. Place the barley in a saucepan and pour over the vegetable stock.  Bring to the boil on a high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until cooked but still retaining a bite.  Strain and set aside.
  2. Next bring some water to the boil, add the spinach and blanch for 30 seconds.  Using a slotted spoon transfer the spinach to a colander and rinse well under very cold water (to keep colour).  Squeeze out excess moisture roughly chop and set spinach aside.
  3. In a saucepan fry some shallots and garlic (I like to use our garlic and herb oil to do this), until soft but no colour.  Then add the thyme sprigs and bay leaves, pour over the 1 litre of vegetable stock and bring to the boil on a high heat.  Cook for 10-15 minutes and allow the stock to reduce.  Add the roughly chopped spinach and cook for a further 2 minutes before removing from the heat and discarding the bay leaves and thyme.  While still hot carefully transfer to a blender and blitz (while blending I like to add a bit more of our garlic herb oil).  Also season with salt to taste and then set aside.
  4. Fry the portobello mushrooms and separately the leeks before placing the mushrooms and leeks together.  Add the barley and mix well.  If ready to serve then add the blended spinach mixture and stir through.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.
  5. You can also adjust this recipe to your liking by adding some lemon juice or extra vegetable stock to gain your desired consistency, if adding more vegetable stock keep heating through as you add your stock until your desired aim is reached.
  6. Serve with your choice of salad.  I liked found a tofu, avocado and tomato salad made a very good match.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s