Barley Risotto with Tomatoes and Asparagus (vegan)


Barley Risotto with Tomatoes and Asparagus

  • 1 cup pearled barley, soaked with 1 tbsp vinegar and 2 cups water for at least an hour.
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped up into 1 inch peices and steamed 5 minutes (you can do this ahead of time and save it in the fridge)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 garlic, crushed and let to sit at least 10 minutes
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 tsp vegan bullion
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast


Drain the soaked barley, and cook, covered, in the vegetable broth 45 minutes.  In a separate pan, cook the onions in the 3 tbsp of broth, covered, 2 minutes.  Uncover and add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  When the barley is done cooking, add the can of tomatoes, with their juices, the onion/garlic mixture and the asparagus.  Mix well, and toss in the rest of the ingredients, bullion, seasoning and nutritional yeast.  Mix it up some more and  enjoy!


The reason we soak the barley in the acid and water is because we want to break down the phyates (phytic acid) that would otherwise make this meal hard to digest.   Grains are full of phyates which make the intake of nutrients in the dish less substantial.  There are different ways to soak grains, some use milk or kefir, but I personally like white vinegar or lemon juice.  Every grain contains phyates, so really any grain should be soaked before consuming.  This includes brown rice, oats, buckwheat, and barley.   You can soak grains up to 24 hours, the longer you soak them, the better it will ferment and break down.  The only exception to this rule is buckwheat, which should not be soaked any longer then 7 hours or it becomes a mushy mess.

 The general rule of thumb, is { 1 cup water+1 tbsp acid /1 cup  grain. }

Because grains are so hard to digest, I suggest keeping them to a minimum in your daily diet.  You can subsist on fruits and vegetables without a ton of rice and breads.  However, soaking them solves a lot of the digestive issues we might have.

Barley is NOT gluten free, so if you are gluten intolerant, this is not the dish for you.





4 thoughts on “Barley Risotto with Tomatoes and Asparagus (vegan)

  1. I made your tasty dinner tnight & my husband & I loved it so much! We also added cooked white thicker asparagus because they are in season & that’s what’s Belgium also famous for!

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