Tomato Basil Barley Risotto

I haven’t posted a really great dinner recipe in a long time. Mostly because my recipes have just been ho-hum lately and not really worth sharing. Because I believe that eating nutritious can be extremely delicious, I want to give you guys the best healthy recipes out there. I want your taste buds to go crazy when you cook nutritious meals!

Last night I made a phenomenal Tomato Basil Barley Risotto. I know a recipe is good (and worth blogging about) when Will asks for seconds at dinner, which is exactly what happened last night when I made this recipe. Paired with a fresh Caesar salad, this risotto makes the perfect dinner for cold wintery days.


  • 1 cup dry hulled barley*
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 Tbsp miso paste
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • ground pepper to taste

Rinse hulled barley under cold water and place in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Stir until well coated. When barley begins to sizzle lower heat and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add tomatoes, milk, tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, miso, salt and pepper and stir. Increase heat until mixture begins to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low.

Allow mixture to simmer for 30-35 minutes stirring every 5 minutes to ensure barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Risotto is done when most of the liquid has been absorbed and the barley has a chewy texture to it. Top with fresh basil if desired. Recipe makes about 2 cups of risotto (about 4 servings).


* Pearl barely can also be used in this recipe. However, hulled barley (pictured above) is a more nutritious choice. Pearl barley undergoes extensive processing and removes the two outer hulls along with the bran later resulting in a barley with very little fiber. Hulled barley on the other hand has only the outer layer removed, leaving the bran layer intact.

Hulled barley is high in fiber and selenium, both of which can help decrease colon cancer risk. Barley has over 4 times as much fiber per cup as oatmeal (1 cup oatmeal = 3g fiber while 1 cup hulled barley = 13g fiber and 1 cup pearl barley = 6g fiber). Daily recommendations for fiber are 25g for women and 38g for men, so add barley to your next meal to boost your fiber intake. While hulled barley takes longer to cook than other forms of barley, it’s chewy texture and nutritional benefits are well worth the wait! 

recipe adapted from Oh She Glows


  1. Delicious. I like the texture of this better than traditional rice risotto. Although I couldn’t find hulled barley (or nutritional yeast) at Kroger, in either the nutritional section or the grain section, so I guess mine is lacking fiber and nutrition! I may have to branch out beyond the friendly confines of the supermarket.

    • Yeah, you will have to find a Whole Foods to get a hold of hulled barley and nutritional yeast. However simply substituting pearled barley and cheese for nutritional yeast should do just fine!

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