Whenever spring rolls around, I crave lots of fresh, green foods – most notably peas. They seem like such an essential spring vegetable to me with their bright grassy hue and sweet, earthy taste. And while there currently isn’t a market I can visit to get some fresh these days, I’d say frozen garden peas do the trick. I decided to add these peas to a barley risotto, to try and create a spring-y dish with ingredients I already had at home in the pantry.

barley risotto with garden peas and roasted garlic

I quite like making risotto with barley as a way to mix things up because the starchiness of the barley works well to create a creamy risotto, no dairy required. Risottos can work for any season, really, with most any ingredient you have on hand. So this one I made is rather spring forward with roasted garlic and peas. The formula is quite simple to follow : cook some onions, add the barley, add some liquid a bit at a time and then add in whatever vegetables and flavorings you wish. In the mean time, roast some garlic cloves in the oven and you’re all set.

barley risotto with garden peas and roasted garlic

You can also adapt this recipe to what you have on hand, since in the current situation it’s best to limit our trips to the store and work with what we have. No white wine? Skip it! No peas? Substitute some other green veggies no problem. Use this recipe as a loose guide and then taste as you go and make adjustments according to your preference.

barley risotto with garden peas and roasted garlic

Hope you are all doing well and can make the most of this time to get creative in the kitchen!

Any questions or thoughts about the recipe? Leave it down below in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by A Veganable Feast!

Ingredients :

(Makes 2-4 servings)

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup barley, dry
  • 1/2 cup white wine (nothing fancy, but definitely dry not sweet)
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or 1 bouillon cube in 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup plant-based milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup peas, preferably frozen or fresh (not canned)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Optional variations :

Add lemon zest at the end, top with vegan parmesan (like this one), substitute the peas with other vegetables like asparagus, spinach, carrots or mushrooms.

Directions :

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Separate the cloves of 1 head of garlic. Remove any excess papery layers, but do not peel the cloves. Place in a small glass baking dish with 1 teaspoon olive oil and stir to combine. Place in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cloves have softened and begun to brown.
  2. In the mean time, dice the onion and place in a dutch oven or large pot with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil. Cook over medium head for about 10 minutes, or until the onion are translucent and begin to brown.
  3. Rinse the barley and add to the onions along with the white wine, thyme, ground mustard, and salt. Stir and let cook for 1 minute then add about 1/2 cup of the water/broth and cook until almost absorbed.
  4. Continue adding the water or broth about 1/2 cup at a time whenever the liquid is most absorbed by the barley, which should be every 5-10 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the risotto and stir regularly.
  5. Once the garlic is roasted, remove from the oven and let cool enough to be handled. Remove the peel from the cloves, then roughly chop the cloves and add to the risotto.
  6. When most of the water or broth is absorbed, add the plant-based milk as well as the peas. Stir well, and continue to cook. If using frozen peas, you can add them right in frozen and they will warm up quickly.
  7. Add in the dijon mustard and lemon juice, stir well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed and serve.

Looking for more recipes using barley ? Try this autumn barley risotto with butternut squash, or this hearty grain salad!