Barley risotto with chickpeas

Barley risotto with chickpeas

10 mins
Cooking time
45 mins
Ian Hofstetter

This has a nuttier, chewier texture than traditional risotto made with rice, and makes a delicious accompaniment, a light lunch or supper dish with a green salad on the side — or try with a little grated parmesan and a rocket salad.


Quantity Ingredient
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley
3 cups salt-reduced chicken stock, hot
2 cups water, hot
400g canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 red capsicums, char-grilled, peeled, seeded and finely sliced
2 zucchini, finely chopped


  1. Heat oil in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Sauté the onion for 2–3 minutes until it starts to colour. Add the barley and cook for 2 minutes until toasted.
  2. Add the combined hot stock and water, one ladle at a time, stirring after each addition, until absorbed. Repeat until all stock has been used and the barley is cooked until just tender (al dente), about 40 minutes. Add the capsicum and zucchini with the last ladle.
  3. Use a fork to separate the grains, then stir through the chickpeas and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring continually.

Super ingredient: Barley

  • Barley is an ancient grain with three great virtues over wheat and rice. It is rich in beta-glucan fibre, which can ‘sweep’ cholesterol out of the body. It contains tocotrienols, vitamin E-related compounds, and has a low GI of 25, so its carbohydrate is slowly absorbed, making it useful for staving off hunger pangs and steadying blood sugar levels. Like flax seeds, it contains lignans which are plant oestrogens that can benefit menopausal women. Barley is low in fat and packed with energy-giving carbohydrates.
fat. low-fat. low
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