The detox kitchen’s barley risotto


In this recipe it is the starch in pearl barley that creates the creaminess of a classic risotto made with rice. The key is to cook the barley slowly, adding the hot liquid gradually.

Serves: 4


30g sunflower seeds

1 litre vegetable stock

3 sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked

1 tsp rapeseed oil

3 banana shallots, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

200g pearl barley

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes

A handful of green beans, finely chopped

A small bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped

Grated zest of 1 lemon

Salt and pepper


● Preheat your oven to 200°C.

● Spread the sunflower seeds on a baking tray. Toast in the oven for 10 minutes until golden.

● Pour the stock into a medium-sized pan, add the sage leaves and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the shallots and cook for 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 minutes.

● Now add the pearl barley and stir until all the grains are coated with oil. Add two ladles of the hot stock and simmer, stirring, until all the liquid has been absorbed – this will take 4–5 minutes.

● Add the butternut squash with another ladle of stock. Once this stock is absorbed, add another ladleful, continuing to stir regularly. Keep adding the stock in this way, adding the green beans with the final ladleful. Once this final addition of stock has been absorbed, remove from the heat.

● Season and stir in the chives and lemon zest. Leave for 5 minutes before serving, sprinkled with the toasted sunflower seeds.

Recipe from The Detox Kitchen Bible by Lily Simpson and Rob Hobson, Bloomsbury, £25

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