Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon

  • Yield servings

Here, the bright flavors of lemon, basil and asparagus play against the earthiness of barley and onions.

Colin Erricson/


2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups reduced-sodium ready-to-use vegetable broth, divided
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, divided
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and barley; cook, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is softened. Add wine and cook, stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes or until liquid is evaporated.
  2. Stir in 2 cups (500 mL) of the broth. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add the remaining broth and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until barley is tender and mixture is creamy (there should still be some liquid).
  3. Stir in asparagus and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in peas, half the basil, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice; simmer for 1 minute or until heated through. Serve sprinkled with the remaining basil.
Excerpted from 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Cooking by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.



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