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A rich, creamy risotto that also happens to pack a little more nutritional punch than your garden variety. That’s because barley is well-stocked with fibre, protein, and some key nutrients like magnesium and iron!

You will need

Serves 4

  • 50 millilitres of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 heaped teaspoon Aleppo pepper powder or paprika powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 litres of vegetable stock
  • 1 block plant-based chèvre*
  • Salt and black pepper

To serve:

  • 1 small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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5 mins to prep

20 mins to cook

  1. Step 1

    Add extra virgin olive oil, onion, and garlic with a pinch of salt to a pot on medium-low heat. Gently sauté for 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent.

  2. Step 2

    Pour in the fennel seeds, Aleppo pepper and bay leaves, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Meanwhile, bring the stock up to boil in a separate pot.

  4. Step 4

    Add the dry pearl barley to your onion & garlic mixture, stirring to cook it for a few minutes. You’ll start to hear a soft popping sound from the barley when it’s time to add the stock…

  5. Step 5

    Add a ladle of stock at a time to your barley pot. When the liquid is absorbed by the barley as it cooks, add another ladle, and continue adding stock one ladle at a time. After the last ladle, the barley should be nice and plump and soft. If not, add some more stock or water until the barley is soft.

  6. Step 6

    Add the chèvre and stir through the risotto until melted through; take the risotto off heat.

  7. Step 7

    Top with parsley, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve.


*If you can’t find a plant-based ‘chèvre’ at your local shop, feel free to use any creamy plant-based cheese you like. The nut-based ones will probably work best here!

Recipe: Simon Toohey

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