Monday, March 17, 2014

Pan Roasted Tomato Barley Risotto

Of all the canisters of grains and seeds in my cupboard, barley feels the most like a starchy side dish to me.  Sure, it's great in soup but it's much greater cooked on its own and blended with vegetables, herbs or cheese.  Nutritionally speaking, barley is high in protein and fiber so it keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time and anything you can do with rice, you can do with barley.

Recipe for fragrant, nutty barley as a wonderful side dish paired with sauteed onion and tomatoes.
I've been on a roasted tomato kick lately and I started thinking how great they would be in a risotto.  But my container of barley was sitting on the counter and I decided to toast it in oil the way I would rice grains.  A few minutes in a hot cast iron pan gave the final cooked barley a fragrant, nutty aroma and a new depth of flavor.  Enjoy!

1/2 Cup barley
2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 1/2 Cups water
1 Onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 Cup red cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 Cup yellow cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tablespoon chopped chives
Dash of garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

Recipe for fragrant, nutty barley as a wonderful side dish paired with sauteed onion and tomatoes.
Add one tablespoon of the oil to a skillet or cast iron pan.  Add in the barley and toast on medium high heat, stirring frequently, for 2 - 3 minutes.  The barley will develop a touch of color and a slightly nutty aroma.  Transfer the barley to a pot, add the water, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the barley has absorbed the liquid and is tender.

Recipe for fragrant, nutty barley as a wonderful side dish paired with sauteed onion and tomatoes.
While the barley is cooking, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan, add the sliced onion and saute on medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the they begin to soften.  Add in the tomatoes and continue sauteing on medium low heat until the barley is cooked.  Add the cooked onions and tomatoes to the cooked barley.  Toss in the chives and season with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Makes 2 servings.


  1. I hardly cook barley despite being a fan and this looks great!

  2. I'm drooling and can't wait to try this!

  3. I have always wanted to try a risotto using barley, I've heard it works out great. And this looks completely delicious! : )

  4. This looks so good Anita, and I bet it will be even better when we start getting yummy fresh tomatoes!

  5. What a coincidence! I just posted a tomato-barley risotto too. Was my first try using barley and I am a total convert - arborio rice has been fully retired in my kitchen now.

  6. This recipe looks so good! I have not ever made anything with barley risotto but fresh roasted tomatoes are just the enticement I need to do that!

  7. Beautiful dish, Anita! I get so tired of the same old potato/rice/pasta starches and am always on the lookout for alternatives. I love the substitution of barley in your risotto!

  8. Brilliant! I really don't cook barley often enough and the only time I seem to have it is in soups. Fantastic recipe and I love roasted tomatoes.


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