Recipe: Spring Barley Risotto

Post by Olivia Martino, Registered Dietitian and Co-Owner, Nourish Northwest


Finally some spring veggies are coming into season! We love our winter veggies as well, but have to say that we are getting pretty sick of squash, beets and sweet potatoes around here.  Packed full of mint, asparagus and leeks, this lovely risotto highlights some of the new fresh flavors of the season.  And the use of barley rather than traditional arborio rice adds a fiber and nutrient boost.  Enjoy the recipe and the season!

Spring Barley Risotto

Yield: 4 servings



2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup pearled barley

2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced

2 ½ cups water

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

14 1/2 ounces vegetable broth

1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut on bias into 2-inch pieces

1 box (10 ounces) frozen peas, defrosted

1/4 cup thinly sliced mint leaves, plus small leaves for garnish



  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add barley and leeks; cook until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes. Add ½ cup water; cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups water; bring to a boil and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat; simmer until liquid absorbs, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add broth and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender and creamy, about 20-25 minutes. Add asparagus; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peas until heated through. Add mint; season with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint leaves



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