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Smoky aubergine pearl barley risotto recipe

Smoky aubergine pearl barley risotto recipe

6 ratings

In partnership with British Heart Foundation

Try out this heart-healthy risotto recipe made with nutty pearl barley, aubergine, cherry tomatoes, and walnuts. It makes the most of storecupboard staples, so is not only low in saturated fat but low in price, too. See method

  • Serves 4
  • Takes 50 mins
  • 551 calories / serving
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée​
  • 30g pack fresh basil, leaves and stalks separated, stalks finely chopped
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube, made up to 1ltr
  • 1 dried bay leaf (optional)
  • 2 aubergines (about 300g each), cut into 3-4cm chunks
  • 8 whole large garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 300g pack whole cherry tomatoes
  • 40g walnut halves
  • 125g ricotta
2 of your five-a-day and low in saturated fat

Each serving contains

  • Energy

  • Fat

    20g 28%
  • Saturates

    4g 22%
  • Sugars

    15g 17%
  • Salt

    1.3g 22%

of the reference intake
Carbohydrate 67.4g Protein 16.5g Fibre 19.2g


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Heat ½ tbsp oil in a casserole dish or large pan. Add the onion, partially cover, and cook for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the smoked paprika, tomato purée and the basil stalks, adding a splash of water if it’s dry. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 mins.
  2. Stir in the pearl barley, cook for 1 min, then add the chopped tomatoes, stock and bay leaf, if using. Season with black pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally (and adding 100-200ml just-boiled water to loosen if needed), until cooked.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large roasting tin, toss the aubergine in the remaining 1½ tbsp olive oil and season, ensuring the chunks are in a single layer – you may need two tins. Add the garlic cloves. Roast for 10 mins, then scatter the cherry tomatoes over. Roast for 20 mins until the veg is tender.
  4. For the final 5 mins of roasting, spread the walnuts out in another roasting tin and bake until toasted; cool slightly, then chop.
  5. Carefully, squeeze the roasted garlic from their skins, using the back of a knife onto a chopping board. Stir into the barley, then fold in half the roasted veg. Season with black pepper.
  6. Serve the risotto topped with the remaining veg, a spoonful of ricotta, the toasted walnuts and the basil leaves.

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