Barley Risotto with Shrimp

Barley is a great whole grain alternative to white rice. This recipe uses whole grain barley, rather than that which is more commonly seen in the store, as pearled barley. The pearled variety has had some of the husk removed and cooks faster. It is also a bit less nutritious.

Barley Risotto with Shrimp


4 tablespoons butter

1 onion, small dice

1 cup whole grain (not pearled) barley

1/4 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken broth

3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes


fresh ground black pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary

1 lemon, half of it zested, half cut into wedges


In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, 1 minute.  Stir in the barley and wine and let simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.

Add the broth and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Stir the shrimp into the barley, cover, and cook until the shrimp is firm and pink, about 4 to 5 minutes.  Stir in remaining butter and pepper flakes; season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with the rosemary and lemon peel.  Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I love barley! This recipe sounds really great. So far I’ve only made it as a baked recipe and one traditional style risotto where you had to keep adding liquid. This one sounds so much easier!


    1. linkyh says:

      OK, I love shrimp and I love barley, but I found out I’m not totally crazy about them together. The flavor was good, I liked the bit of red pepper and the lemon. DH said he thought barley went with beef but that he liked both the barley and the shrimp in this dish. I cooked the barley for almost an hour, if I do it again, maybe I should let the barley cook even longer so it’s not al dente?!? Thanks for posting, Luce


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