Beetroot and Barley Risotto

Last weekend the lovely Miriam came to visit me, giving me an excuse to act the tourist. We found a gorgeous restaurant in the Schnoor district that offered a pretty decent selection of vegetarian and vegan meals. I went for a beetroot risotto that was earthy and perfect for cold evenings. Afterwards, I knew I had to make my own version at home. Whilst I love risottos, sometimes standing around the stovetop stirring rice isn’t what I want to do all the time. Step in peal barley. Pearl barley is perfectly happy to be left alone and has a nutty, wholesome flavour that is also a source of manganese, fibre and selenium. It is rich in beta glucans, polysaccharides that can lower cholesterol levels. I love the chewy texture of barley and the comforting feeling it gives to any meal, be it a grain bowl or stew.


Beetroot and Barley Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 3 medium beetroot (about 500g)
  • 250g barley
  • 650ml vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon
  • Handful walnuts
  • Tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • Olive or avocado oil
  1. Preheat the oven to 200'C. Peel and chop the beetroot, drizzle with oil and roast for around an hour.
  2. Pop the cooked beetroot into a blender and add a little stock to loosen, and then blend.
  3. In a pan, combine the beetroot puree, barley and around half the remaining stock and bring to a boil.
  4. Cook for half an hour, or according to packet instructions, adding more stock if needed until the barley is completely cooked and all the liquid is adsorbed. Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, heat a splash of oil in a frying pan, and when it is hot, add the walnuts and maple syrup. Keep the walnuts moving around the pan so that they don't burn, and then cook until caramelised.
  6. Divide the risotto between bowls and top with the walnuts. If you have creme fresh, natural yoghurt or coconut yoghurt, add on a dollop here!
Serves four not-so hungry people or two greedy people!