Save on Pinterest

Barley Risotto

Low in fat, but high in fiber, this delicious barley risotto puts a twist on the typical dish. With its nutty undertones, barley provides the perfect backdrop for lemon and parsley. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 10 min. Cook: 55 min.
  • Makes
    4 servings


  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine or additional water
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest


  • In a small saucepan, bring broth to a simmer; keep hot.
  • In another small saucepan over medium-high heat, cook and stir the barley for 2-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a small bowl. In the same saucepan, saute onion in oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute longer or until onion is tender. Stir in barley and wine. Cook and stir until all of the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing the liquid to absorb between additions. Cook just until barley is almost tender (cooking time is about 45 minutes). Add the parsley and lemon zest; cook and stir until heated through. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
1/2 cup: 184 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 4mg cholesterol, 742mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 6g fiber), 5g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 1/2 fat.

Recommended Video


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • Summy
    Sep 21, 2015

    Oh yum! I needed to add a little more broth to fully cook the barley, but wow! This is so delicious. I also added some sauteed mushrooms like another reviewer suggested. Today I topped a bowl of this with feta cheese. This is a keeper.

  • jmkasprak
    May 18, 2014


  • jjpuppy3
    Nov 11, 2012

    Can someone please tell me where to find sodium-free chicken boullion granules? This recipe sounds delicious!

  • ConnieK
    Nov 10, 2012

    I really like barley and have been looking for recipes that use it other than in a soup. This was VERY tasty. I wasn't sure how barley would turn out as a risotto but it worked great. The lemon zest adds a wonderful flavor and aroma. I agree with one of the other reviewer, taste it at the end before adding salt. Mine didn't need any added salt either. Try it, you won't be disappointed!

  • jhystead
    Nov 8, 2012

    I was really happy with this recipe. My husband loves the regular (rice) risotto that I make and so I wasn't sure how excited he would be about this but we are trying to eat a little healthier so I thought I'd try it. It was really good. I made a few substitutions and additions but nothing too major. I used unsalted chicken broth instead of the water and bouillon and I used a couple of splashes of lemon juice instead of lemon peel. I also added baby bella mushrooms and some celery to the dish. It was very tasty. Thanks!

  • daisyshae99
    May 17, 2010

    My husband picked this recipe out for me to make, and thank goodness he did! We loved it! This was my first time making a risotto, and I was sort of surprised how easy it really was to do. Sure, it was time consuming, but well worth the effort.

  • bameiboo
    Feb 5, 2010

    I was unsure how this would taste but gave it a try. Wow the flavor and texture were great. The lemon zest added a super fresh taste but didn't over power it. I served this with a slowcooker lemon chicken from this website and the risotto soaked up the thin sauce from the chicken and it was yummy. I would caution you to taste the risotto before adding salt in the end, mine didn't need it. I love using barley in soups and am so glad to have found this recipe. If you have never made a risotto before just be prepare to stand over it and stir for 30 minutes!

  • GranMarion____MN
    Oct 22, 2009

    More and more I am amazed at the wide variety of tastes associated with and around barley. This is a grain that should be showcased more often. Not only is a textured delight, but imagine, it's good for you too!