Since the gluttony of Christmas and I certainly scoffed far beyond what I actually needed to, this recipe came to my head to counterbalance all food evil towards the end of 2012. This super healthy but filling dish combines two of my favourite ingredient kale and pearl barley.

Buying the quick cook bean mix dramatically cuts down cooking time and makes this more of a throw it in one pot and eat it after about 35 minutes. It is far lighter to eat, in my opinion than a regular rice risotto and easier as you don’t have to stand at the pot stirring for a what seems like a lifetime. Make sure you buy the best parmesan cheese as it rounds off the dish perfectly.


  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned and finely sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 250ml white wine
  • 680g passata
  • 600ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 250g presoaked barley and lentil mix
  • 200g prepared kale
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Small handful od basil leaves, finely sliced
  • Sea salt


In a heavy bottomed stock pot or large saucepan, place the butter, oil. garlic , onion and leeks. Sweat off for around 5 minutes so that the vegetables are translucent, don’t let them take on any colour.

Next add the carrots and allow them to sweat through.

Add in the wine and allow to reduce by a third.

Next add in the passata, stock, sugar and balsamic.

Stir well and then add the barley and mix well.

Now add the kale on top and place a lid on your saucepan and or stock pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

After about 15 minutes, stir well and if you haven’t been able to add all the kale in, repeat the above process.

On a low heat simmer with a lid placed on top for a further 15 minutes. Now turn off the heat and keep the risotto covered for a further 1o minutes so that it cooks with its own heat.

Stir, season and top with the parmesan and basil or mix through.

Serve either by itself or mix tuna through or shredded chicken or whatever takes your fancy. feta cheese would also be an appropriate topping.



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