Despite the rumors, comfort food and good nutrition are not diametrically opposed. Case in point: this delicious, creamy barley risotto. We use fiber-rich barley as a base instead of rice, and include a delicious array of veggies and herbs.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Unlike dishes that are brimming with butter and cheese, this one won’t leave you with a bellyache. But one word of warning: the Mediterranean-palate flavors of garlic, fresh thyme and red pepper, combined with a tangy sprinkle of feta and lemon zest may inspire strong cravings. Be prepared to make it again soon!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 cups water
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
- Grated lemon zest of 1 lemon
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery and salt and cook, covered tightly and stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 7 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue to cook, stirring often, until very tender, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the barley.
- Add the tomatoes and water and bring to a boil. Add the thyme, red pepper flakes, and black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender and creamy, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Serve topped with crumbled feta and lemon zest.
Nutritional facts per serving
Yield: 4 servings
Total fat 9 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Protein 6 g
Carbohydrate 50 g
Dietary fiber 8 g
Sugar 5 g
Added sugar 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg
Sodium 200 mg
Developed by Sara Quessenberry for Cleveland Clinic Wellness