Pearl Barley Nettle Risotto

Serves: 4
Cooks in: 1 hour
Difficulty: 5/10


6 tbs Olive Oil 

1 Onion

1 Stick Celery 

4 Cloves Garlic 

2 tsp Sea Salt 

2 cups/250g Pearl Barley, rinsed 

1 cup/250ml White Wine

1/2 cup/10g Dried Mushrooms – use porcini, rehydrated in 1 cup boiling water 

6 cups/1.5litre Boiling Water 

1/2 tsp White Pepper 

2 cups/200g Steamed Nettle

1 cup/100g Frozen Spinach 

Zest & Juice of 1 Lemon 

Whipped Tahini Yoghurt 

1 cup/150g Coconut Yoghurt 

3 tbs Tahini

Lemon Juice 

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin 

Pinch Sea Salt 

Optional Garnish

Pumpkin Seeds

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Finely chop the onion and celery, then add them to the pot. Cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Mince the garlic and add it to the pot along with the sea salt, cooking for another minute. Stir in the rinsed pearl barley, cooking for an additional 2-3 minutes to toast the grains. Pour in the white wine, stirring constantly until it is mostly absorbed. Strain the rehydrated porcini mushrooms, reserving the soaking liquid, and chop them before adding to the pot.

Gradually add the boiling water and reserved mushroom soaking liquid to the barley mixture, one cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until the barley is tender and creamy, about 45-50 minutes. Season with white pepper.

While the risotto is cooking, make a puree by blending the steamed nettles, frozen spinach, remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a little water until smooth. Once the barley is cooked, fold this puree through the risotto. Add the lemon zest and juice, stirring to combine.

To make the whipped tahini yogurt, whisk together the coconut yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, ground cumin, and a pinch of sea salt until smooth and fluffy.

Serve the risotto hot, topped with a dollop of whipped tahini yogurt.