Barley Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms

A healthier take on a classic.

[ingredients-list title=”Ingredients” serving_size=””]


  • 3½ cups reduced-sodium, fat-free chicken broth (or vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 225 grams mushrooms (preferably wild varieties), coarsely chopped


  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 225 grams asparagus, stems cut into bite-size pieces (leave tips whole)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


[step-list-wrapper title=”How to make it ” time=””]

[step-item number=”1″ image_url=”” title=”” ]In a medium saucepan, heat the broth and water to just below a simmer. Cover; keep at a simmer.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”2″ image_url=”” title=”” ]In a large deep nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Sauté the onion until slightly softened, 3 minutes.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”3″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Add the mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until the mushrooms are softened, 5 minutes.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”4″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Stir in the barley and 2 cups of the hot broth mixture. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”5″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus tips in the pot of remaining hot broth for 2 minutes. Transfer them to a plate with a slotted spoon.[/step-item]

[step-item number=”6″ image_url=”” title=”” ]Add more hot broth to the barley mixture, ½ cup at a time, stirring frequently. Let each batch of liquid be absorbed before adding more. When adding the last batch of broth, stir in the asparagus stem pieces. Stir in the Parmesan. Serve topped with the asparagus tips.[/step-item]

[nutrition-info calories=”329″ calories_fat=”” fat=”10 g” sat_fat=”2 g” choles=”23 mg” sodium=”743 mg” carbs=”49 g” sugars=”” protein=”49 g” fiber=”10 g”] [/nutrition-info]


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Originally Published in Reader's Digest