• 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 400 grams of pearl barley
  • 1 litre of vegetable stock
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, slice into rough 1 centimetre pieces 
  • 50 grams of peas (frozen are fine)
  • Handful of parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 100 grams of spinach
  • Bunch of basil, leaves and stalks


  1. Sweat the leek for about 3 minutes over a medium heat. Add the garlic and continue cooking for an additional minute, or until soft.
  2. Add the pearl barley, and toast for about 1 minute. Next add all of the stock and cook with the lid on for 35 minutes on a medium heat, you can stir for a creamier risotto, but if you need to get something else done, just occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan, if it dries out add a splash of boiling water.
  3. Add the asparagus, peas, spinach, lemon zest and parsley, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. We are aiming for all of the stock to be absorbed and the pearl barley to be cooked but not overly stodgy. All hobs and pans are different so vary the cooking time to get the texture you like.
  4. Remove from the heat, add the basil, mix and enjoy

Had a go at making this dish? Let us know how you got on, we love hearing from you.