Today’s Recipe: Barley and Tomato Risotto

One of the many reasons we love incorporating barley into our meals (besides its deliciousness) is its healthy fiber content. Not only does it help regulate digestion, but a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests barley's fiber has multiple beneficial effects on cholesterol. Win-win-win!

Makes 4 servings


For the risotto:

1 quart cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup pearl barley

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper

Parmesan crumbs, optional (recipe below)


For the Parmesan crumbs:

1/2 cup Kellogg’s® Special K® cereal

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced


For the risotto:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Coat the cherry tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on a sheet tray. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until the tomatoes are blistered and starting to darken.
  3. Pour the chicken stock in a sauce pan and put it over low heat. Keep warm.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a separate, heavy-bottomed pot.
  5. Add the onion once the oil is hot, and cook for five minutes, or until the onion is slightly soft.
  6. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for an additional minute, or until fragrant.
  7. Add the barley and stir to ensure grains are coated in the olive oil. Cook for one or two minutes to toast the barley.
  8. Add the wine to the pot and stir to incorporate.
  9. Add a ladle of the warm chicken stock (about 1/2 cup) to the pot when the wine is almost evaporated. Stir to incorporate. Allow the barley mixture to simmer gently, stirring occasionally. Cook until most of the chicken stock is absorbed into the barley. Continue adding stock in this manner until most of the stock is gone. Taste the barley to check for doneness. If the barley is still a little chewy, keep adding stock. If the barley is al dente, stop adding stock.
  10. Add the roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, butter and thyme to the pot. Mix well. Add a little more stock to loosen the risotto, if needed. Taste the risotto and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan crumbs, if desired.

For the Parmesan crumbs:

  1. Crush the cereal flakes, in a bowl, into a coarse crumb. Add the Parmesan cheese, olive oil, thyme, salt and garlic. Mix until everything is coated in oil.
  2. Toast the crumb mixture for four minutes in a skillet over medium heat, stirring continuously, or until the crumbs are golden brown. Transfer to a clean bowl and set aside to cool.