Dinner Recipe

Pearl Barley Vegetable Risotto

vegan vegetable risotto with bulgar wheat

Pearl Barley Roasted Vegetable Risotto

Using pearl barley as the base for a risotto instead of arborio makes a delicious alternative. This vegan friendly risotto is packed with flavour and brilliant eaten cold the next day. If there’s just two of you there’ll be loads for leftovers in the week. 

What’s in the recipe?

Pearl Barley- This is a grain that can be either cooked from raw or soaked overnight. If you know you’re cooking this in the evening, soak in the day, drain then add to the pot just as instructed. It will take less time to cook if it’s been soaked.

Vegetables- I’ve used courgette, tomatoes and peppers, sliced into small pieces as it works with the grains if they’re slightly smaller. If you roast the vegetables on a tray with the herbs and olive oil, it gives a delicious flavour instead of adding to the pot. If you’re unable to roast them, simply add the vegetables to the pot after frying the onion and garlic, sizzle for a few minutes then add the grains and white wine.

White Wine- I get asked if you can replace the wine, however having made risotto without it, can confirm it doesn’t create the same flavour. It’s really difficult to find a good substitute so find a nice white wine (vegan friendly if you’re vg) and enjoy. You don’t have to spend much on a bottle

Cooking Tips

Pear Barley- When cooking this grain, you can soak them for a few hours beforehand if you want to, however it isn’t essential to this recipe. If you do soak them, it will reduce the cooking time from about 40 minutes to 25 minutes.

White wine- I think the wine is a really essential ingredient for a good risotto, pour it into the pot before adding the stock, so it absorbs into the pearl barley. That way it’ll cook off the alcohol but retain the flavour.

Roasting the veg- I think adding the vegetables to the oven gives a delicious caramelised flavour. If you chop them up into fairly small pieces it also really helps it work with the grains without being too bit to take a big bite.

Slow and low- With a risotto the trick is to not rush but instead simmer and stir slowly. This will allow all the delicious flavours to marry each other and turn into a pot of comfort food.

Add my pepper and garlic oil to each bowl. Find the recipe just HERE. It’s a paste recipe, almost like harissa, so add a drizzle of the oil made from the paste to each bowl, it’s delicious!

pearl barley risotto vegan

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vegan vegetable risotto with bulgar wheat

Pearl Barley Vegetable Risotto

Using pearl barley instead of arborio to make this delicious vegetable risotto. It's vegan friendly with lots of flavour and brilliant eaten cold the next day. If there's just two of you there'll be loads for leftovers in the week.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 44 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • For the roasting tray:
  • vine of tomatoes about 250g
  • 1 courgette diced
  • 1 pepper diced
  • Generous pinch of salt pepper, smoked paprika and thyme
  • For the pot:
  • 1 Knob of vegan butter 2 tbsp
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 large shallot or red onion
  • 250 g Pearl barley
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 1.2 l Boiling water + stock cub
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Generous serving of cracked black pepper to own preference
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley or dried


  • Pop the oven on to 200°C and add all of the veg to a roasting tray, add the seasoning with a drizzle of olive oil and toss, then pop in the oven and leave for 30 mins
  • Place the large pot on a medium heat, add the vegan butter and the diced shallot and fry for 4 minutes before adding the finely chopped garlic cloves
  • After a few minutes add the Pearl barley and toast before pouring in the white wine and allow to simmer and soak
  • Once soaked up, add the dried thyme and vegetable stock a cup full at a time until each batch has been absorbed
  • Once you’ve added all of the stock, add the salt and pepper, pop a lid on top and leave to simmer on a medium heat for a further 15 minutes or so
  • After around 30 minutes once the veg has cooked, the risotto should be about fully absorbed, add the roasted veg to the pot, mashing in the delicious tomato juices
  • Once the Pearl barley has softened and cooked, serve up with fresh chopped parsley (or dried) another pinch of salt and pepper and enjoy!


•Flora vegan butter is great
•A good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to top each dish is also great!
•If you want an extra kick add my garlic and pepper paste oil to each dish also!

If you like this recipe why not try my Asparagus and Mushroom Risotto

asparagus and shiitake vegan risotto


pearl barley risotto lucy and lentils

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