Spicy Italian Barley Risotto | Vegan

Hi guys, today’s recipe is all about hearty comfort food.  This barley risotto is a great alternative to pasta with a slight twist. It involves minimal prep and doesn’t take a lot of monitoring either, so it’s great for busy days. This one would also be great for meal prep options too.  

It’s nice and healthy but doesn’t involve too many fresh ingredients, so I like to keep this one in the recipe bank for the end of the week when the fridge is starting to look a little empty. The flavours are simple. And who doesn’t love Italian food? So, I think this will go down well with even the fussiest of eaters.  

I’ve included olives in this one and quite a lot of them. I’m aware they’re not to everyone’s taste, so they’re more of an optional ingredient. Although, in my opinion, there’s no such thing as too many olives.

Today’s recipe is a little bit special, it’s the first one published using my new template and it’s also the first one where you can give it a rating. If you like the sound of it, please be nice!

This recipe is dairy free, nut free, soy free and vegan. Barley is a gluten-containing grain so this recipe is not suitable those with gluten intolerances or coeliacs.  

barley risotto

barley risotto
4.84 from 6 votes

Spicy Italian Barley Risotto

This recipe is dairy free, nut free, soy free and vegan. Barley is a gluten containing grain so this recipe is not suitable those with gluten intolerances or coeliacs.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • A small red onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • A red pepper finely chopped
  • 300 g pearl barley rinsed
  • A red chilli finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp italian herb seasoning
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • A tin chopped tomatoes 400g
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • A 400g tin cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 100 g green olives pitted and halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add the olive oil to a large saucepan on a medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and the onions have softened. Then add the barley, fresh chilli and red pepper, stir to combine and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  2. Now add the dried herbs, stock and tinned tomatoes and add the lid to the pan. Reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Once ready, most of the liquid should have evaporated and barley will be chewy. Stir occasionally to ensure the barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir the beans into the risotto and cook for a further 5 minutes, uncovered. Add the olives before serving.

Serve and enjoy! 

barley risotto

Do you guys like the sound of this barley risotto for a cosy autumn or winter evening? And to all of my fussy eaters, would you try this?

Those of you who regularly read my recipes will probably notice that this one is formatted a little differently. I installed a recipe box plugin! I’m still not sure if I like it. What do you think? Is it easier to read? Let me know if I should keep it!

Until next time, 



To view previous dinner recipes, click here.



  1. Michelle Blackadar
    16th October 2018 / 8:14 pm

    ahhhhh sophie, i LOVE the new format! probably got a little too excited when I saw it, my eyes went a little bug eyed from the asthetics of it lol! i think it’s super easy to read and i love that you can so easily print the recipe out! this looks like the perfect comfort food for a cold weekend night in where your curled up on the couch watching friends. love it xx

    mich / simplymich.com

  2. 17th October 2018 / 1:05 am

    YAY olives – I love olives in food! They always make the dish 110 times better. OH! NEW LAYOUT!!! I LOVE IT!!Especially the little icons next to the words – the designer in me is doing a happy dance with how aesthetic it looks. And there’s a recipe rating too!! I love how that – it’s more interactive from the readers side. It looks so nice and filling from the pictures- definitely going to try making this!


  3. 17th October 2018 / 2:53 am

    I don’t know that I’m a fussy eater, but I am sometimes a bit apprehensive to try things I’ve never heard of. I think I would try this!! x

  4. 17th October 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Risotto is definitely a hearty comfort food and it’s one of my absolute favourites! In a restaurant called Cote that I’ve been to a few times, I had a Vegetarian “Risotto Vert”, which was super creamy and full of greens, it was amazing! This sounds absolutely delicious too 🙂 xxx

  5. 17th October 2018 / 8:14 pm

    I haven’t read your other recipes yet, but I will say this was easy to read and would be easy to follow in the kitchen 🙂
    The recipe looks delicious – not a concept I’ve seen before. Must give it a go! 🙂

  6. 17th October 2018 / 8:17 pm

    OMG SOPHIE I LOVE THE NEW STYLE. It really looks like a recipe style post and I love the ability to easily print! I’m so excited to see more posts like this! Also, this looks so comforting but healthier than pasta, definitely going to give it a go!

    Jas xx | https://thoughtsfromjasmine.co.uk

  7. 17th October 2018 / 8:30 pm

    This looks ahs sounds amazing! I’m not vegan but I’d love to try it.

  8. 17th October 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Yum this sounds really good! I’ve only ever used pearl barley for one recipe before and have a packet sat in my cupboard, I look forward to trying this! Love the addition of the olives, I love them! xx

  9. 17th October 2018 / 8:47 pm

    Your new format looks so sleek and professional I love it! Gorg recipe x

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