Easy Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto



Well, I never did make it to Body Pump today after all! It turns out that my muscles do not appreciate the Booty Camp DVD after a long time off. I’m quite sore today and opted to give my muscles some time to repair themselves. The body builds muscles quicker when it has time to repair, right?

There is a Body Pump class tomorrow morning that I am hoping to go to to end 2010 with a bang!

In the meantime, I decided some healthy comfort food was in order. This dish blew me away and I think you will love it too! It is really easy to make and the prep work is very minimal. The recipe below makes enough for 4 side servings (~1/2 cup each), but you could easily double it if you wanted to serve it as a main for 4 people. Otherwise, it makes enough for 2 people for dinner.

Or you know…in a pinch, a food blogger who happens to be cooking at 7:30am and wants something for breakfast…


This recipe is very easy to make and requires just a few steps!

Mince your clove of garlic and gather your barley, oil, and herbs.


Looking good.


Add the above ingredients into a medium sized pot and heat over medium until the barley begins to sizzle. Now add in the minced garlic and reduce to low heat. Cook for 1 minute.


Gather your canned tomato, milk, water, nutritional yeast, salt, and miso…



The original recipe called for 3 tablespoon of miso, but I thought that was way too much sodium for my liking. I needed only 1/2 a tablespoon and it tasted awesome. The great thing about cooking (as opposed to baking), is that you can always adjust dishes to taste because everyone will prefer different things.

You might be able to get away with leaving the Miso out (if you don’t have any), but make sure to add in more salt to taste.


Add to pot and mix well. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to low.


Cook on low, covered, for about 35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to ensure that the barley doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot (it will if you leave it, so be careful!).

The result is a healthy, creamy, chewy, and rich barley risotto that makes the perfect winter dish. No dairy required.


This would make such a great dish to serve on New Year’s day if you are not into the whole black eyed peas thing.

I continue to be blown away by the delicious foods I can eat as a vegan!


The original recipe calls for pearled barley, but I picked up pot barley instead because it is much more nutritious. Not having cooked with either before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I absolutely loved the pot barley’s chewy texture!

From what I understand, pearled barley kernels are polished to remove the double outer hull and the bran layer, which also removes many of the nutrients, sort of like white rice. It cooks much more quickly as a result.

Pot (Scotch) barley, on the other hand, is polished like pearl barley, but to a lesser extent. The kernels are less refined, retaining more of the bran layer and it takes longer to cook, but the outcome is a wonderful chewy texture similar to wheat berries! You can use either pearled or pot barley in this recipe.

It has a great nutty flavour too.


It was love at first creamy bite.

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jen December 30, 2010

This looks delicious!! Can’t wait to try it!


2 Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun!) December 30, 2010

Oh dear lord, I love this recipe! Thank you!!


3 jenna December 30, 2010

this looks so creamy and good!! barley is one of my favorites too!! thanks. I hope you make it to body pump tomorrow! :)


4 Healthy Chocoholic December 30, 2010

That looks soo good! I do have a couple of questions. We don’t have nutritional yeast or miso, are they neccessary, or are there any subs for these ingredients?


5 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

The nutritional yeast is necessary as it gives the creamy/cheesy taste, unless of course, you are going to add in regular cheese, then by all means leave it out.
I only used 1/2 tbsp of the Miso, which makes me think it could be left out, as long as you add more salt to taste (since Miso is so salty you will need to compensate if removed).


6 Healthy Chocoholic December 30, 2010

My family loves cheese, so I might just add that……….thanks for the tip! =D


7 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010



8 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 30, 2010

I love chewy grains too – I don’t think I’ve ever tried pot barley, just the pearled kind. This sounds so delicious and yummy! Quick question – where do you buy your miso from? I’ve looked in most grocery stores we have around here and all I can seem to find is packets of miso soup!


9 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

I got it at Ontario Natural Food Coop (its a wholesaler), but Ive seen it at whole foods before too. Not sure if Loblaws or other chains carries it? Sometimes you can call your grocery store and request something if they dont carry it.


10 Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day December 30, 2010

Yum! I love using barley in risotto.. and with tomato.. yes please.


11 Ashley December 30, 2010

Gorgeous photos!! This meal is right up my alley. Will have to give it a try next week! I really want to explore more grains and barley is definitely on the list! xo


12 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg December 30, 2010

Mmmm…I am such a fan of risotto! I love the addition of miso here– very interesting!


13 Victoria (District Chocoholic) December 30, 2010

Oh I love creamy risotto but hate that it’s usually full of butter and fatty cheese – this looks incredible. I want to lick my screen. Angela, you are a genius!


14 Heather @ Side of Sneakers December 30, 2010

Ummm, delicious?!!!! I’m a huge risotto fan- I never thought of adding another base flavor to the rice, but it sounds divine!


15 Michelle December 30, 2010

Oh wow, I can’t wait to try this recipe! I love barley! Angela, you rock!


16 Allison @ Food For Healing December 30, 2010

that looks so hearty and delicious!
I want to try body pump too! i just need to decide if i want to rejoin a gym or not… :S


17 Bronwyn Coyne December 30, 2010

That looks delicious. I really need to start “cooking” and not just “baking”.


18 Jil @ Big, City, Lil Kitchen December 30, 2010

OH wow – this looks awesome.


19 Tiffany @ Conor & Bella December 30, 2010

This looks wonderful! And easy to make. :D


20 Sommer J December 30, 2010

Looks perfect and absolutely comforting.


21 Anna December 30, 2010

This looks delicious. Seeing as how I have everything on hand it might be tonight’s dinner – just a quick substitution of rice of quinoa for the barley to make it gluten free – hope it’s as delicious as the original looks :-)


22 Anna December 30, 2010

Sorry – I meant to say *rice or quinoa


23 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

let me know how it turns out…I was wondering about quinoa too!


24 Katy (The Singing Runner) December 30, 2010

Looks delicious as always! :)


25 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} December 30, 2010

This is a standard recipe for us from Vegan Yum Yum. So delicious!!


26 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

isn’t it soooo good? I was not expecting it to be so delicious.


27 Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow December 30, 2010

If that doesn’t look comforting I don’t know what does!!!! :)


28 Nico December 30, 2010

this looks super, but I must admit that I might sub parmesan for the nooch ;)


29 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

half the fun of cooking is experimenting ;)


30 [email protected] Stepping to the Brightside December 30, 2010

Oh my, that looks absolutely decadent. Who knew veganism could make this happen?!


31 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey December 30, 2010

This looks perfect for a sick girl <—- ME!


32 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

Hope you feel better soon!


33 Joslyn @ missfitbliss December 30, 2010

Wow this looks good! It’s refreshing to see such a healthy recipe. I got kind of overwhelmed (in a wonderful way) staring at so many delicious holiday treats over the past month! This looks like a good way to start the new year:)


34 amy December 30, 2010

I have been following your website for almost a year now and I think you have a real talent for expressing yourself and your passions. I can’t wait to see your new resolutions!


35 amy December 30, 2010

I have been following your website for almost a year now and I think you have a real talent for expressing yourself and your passions. I can’t wait to see your new resolutions!


36 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

thank you Amy :) All the best in 2011 to you as well!


37 Candy @ Healthy in Candy Land December 30, 2010

This looks so yummy! I’ve been looking for ways to use nutritional yeast more often, so I am going to have to try this one for sure. Your photos are beautiful!


38 Nicole (Picky Nicky) December 30, 2010

That looks amazing! I love how it has miso in it, I’m always looking for new ways to use up that stuff. It’s great spread on sandwiches :) But then again, I have weird taste :P


39 Camille December 30, 2010

Oh my, it looks so tomato-y and delicious! I am a sucker for anything tomato so this is right up my alley!


40 Sana December 30, 2010

When ever i make risotto it comes out all mushy, is that how it’s supposed to be?


41 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

Im not sure…I dont think so? The Pot barley is nice because it takes a LONG time to get mushy and was very chewy in this recipe.


42 Amanda (Eating Up) December 30, 2010

Mmm…tomato risotto sounds delicious! Great recipe, as always!


43 Andrea December 30, 2010

Love risotto, love nutritional yeast, love barley, love tomatoes… well isn’t this ideal! heehee


44 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010



45 Jennifer and Jaclyn @ Sketch-Free Vegan December 30, 2010

oh wow, looks spectacular! I love to cook with gen-mai miso, my absolute fave.
i just had a flashback to my campbell’s tomato soup days.



46 Moni'sMeals December 30, 2010

this I will be making! Look so good.

Congrats by the way on ALL your accomplishments of the year. :)


47 Angela (Oh She Glows) December 30, 2010

thanks Moni :)


48 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 30, 2010

Oh how I love risotto!


49 Lauren December 30, 2010

You make every recipe look good!


50 Katey @ Bonne Santé December 30, 2010

Awesome to see a healthy vegan risotto – a notoriously creamy, cheesy, heavy dish. Can’t wait to make this!


51 ezzie December 30, 2010

Delicious! Risotto= true love.


52 ezzie December 30, 2010

Delicious! Risotto= true love.


53 Sarah M December 30, 2010

I have been a long time admirer of your blog, and I continue to be blown away. When most people think “vegan,” they think dry tofu and spinach. You make your meals look so appetizing and rich! Being a vegan looks fun and delicious when you prepare meals. Keep up the great posts!


54 Felicia (a taste of health with balance) December 30, 2010

this looks so great angela! creamy and cheesy is right up my alley ;)


55 Molly December 30, 2010

Hi Angela,

I have followed your blog for a few months now and I just wanted you to know that you have inspired me this New Year. I am eager to be more healthy this upcoming year as many big life changes happen (like graduating college, yikes!) and I hope that through my healthy life choices, my students will make their own healthy choices. Thanks! Happy New Year.


56 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 1, 2011

that is so great to hear!


57 Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) December 30, 2010

Angela this looks awesome! I love tomatoes. As in, I eat one every single day. Sometimes 2 a day :) Lycopene much? haha

Anyway this one looks delish..I can’t eat barley b/c it’s a gluten grain but i love barley. But it doesnt love me. I would loveeeee to make this recipe!

Happy 2011!


58 Roz December 30, 2010

This looks amazing. I have some pearled barley on hand, and will likely try it using that. Is there a HUGE difference nutritionally between pearled and pot?? (barley that is! :) )


59 Emily December 30, 2010

Ange this looks so great! Risotto is definitely one of those things in life that I have always been wanting to have but couldn’t because of the non-vegan versions. Hope to try this one, especially the barley, soon!


60 Heather (Heather's Dish) December 30, 2010

i love risotto but am always looking for a way to make it healthier…this sounds amazing!


61 Lee December 30, 2010

I have a recipe just like this for quinoa but I’ll have to try it with Risotto! Happy 2011 :)


62 Kat December 30, 2010

I really want to try nutritional yeast. Where can I get it?


63 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 1, 2011

I think you can find it at most bulk food stores and health stores :)


64 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin December 31, 2010

I love all your recipes you’ve been posting lately! One of my goals for the New Year is to try out more recipes, so you can bet I’ll be making all of these! :D


65 Jen December 31, 2010

I recently started following your blog from the Project Food Blog series. This recipe looks delicious–I’m making it as we speak!


66 Gloria January 1, 2011

I made this last night and it turned out great! Thank you =D


67 Emily January 1, 2011

I made this yesterday and it was INCREDIBLE! I was not expecting it to be so creamy and cheesy-tasting. I’ve been meaning to try a recipe with nutritional yeast in it for a while- now I’m so glad I did. I’m trying to cut out dairy and this will make it a lot easier.

Also, I used pearl barley- I’m not sure if it’s the same as pot barley, but it came out perfectly.


68 Gloria January 5, 2011

I used Bob’s Red Mill 100% whole grain barley and it took about 1.5 hours to cook. I loved loved loved the slight chewiness and it was totally worth the wait. Thankfully my dinner guest was late :) We ate generous portions of the risotto as our main dish with a fresh loaf of hearty bread. Mmmm delizioso! Needless to say, the two of us polished off the entire pot. Thanks Angela!!


69 janet January 5, 2011

I had Ottolenghi’s tomato barley on my hitlist, but yours looks so much easier. Both look totally scrumptious, though. :)


70 Brooke January 12, 2011

This recipe was sooooooo good! I should have cooked my pot barley longer but that is lesson learned for next time…..and there will definitely be a next time for this. It was sooooo good!


71 Laura @ Starloz January 18, 2011

i’ve never used barley, i might now


72 Alexis May 28, 2012

This was delicious! I added chickpeas and chopped kale to make it a complete meal, and it was fantastic. Thanks for all your wonderful, healthy recipes!


73 Jennifer May 31, 2012

I love this blog! I go to it for all my recipes! I was wondering where you get all your cute colorful spoons? Haha i know..weird question.


74 Angela (Oh She Glows) May 31, 2012

thank you Jennifer! Most of them are from Crate and Barrel or random kitchen stores. :)


75 kaly June 7, 2012

this recipe is phenomenal! i’ve had the worst craving for a vegan version and lo and behold, here it is! thanks so much.


76 Rebecca June 25, 2012

This was a hit with me and my husband last night. Will def make again. I’m not vegan so used Parmesan cheese instead of nutritional yeast and also only had pearl barley at home but it was so yummy. think it might become a new staple in our house.


77 Jenny June 26, 2012

I’ve actually never had risotto before, but even without a point of comparison, I can say for sure that this is truly an amazing recipe. I was definitely not expecting something so tasty… but then again, I always repeatedly pleasantly surprised by all of your recipes, Angela. (Even the ones that I know will turn out well… will end up turning out better than I could have imagined, similar to how the ones I doubt from the get-go turn into fabulous dishes.)

Thank you for this!


78 Miss August 16, 2012

Do you think it’d be possible to replace the canned tomatoes in this recipe with passata or tomato puree? I’m not a fan of tomato seeds and try to avoid it as much as possible. And could I use rice instead of miso?


79 Miss August 16, 2012

*barley, not miso!


80 Leiah September 15, 2012

This was surprisingly good! I used the little can of tomato paste I had on hand (diluted it with vegetable stock). Omitted the miso. Creamy, rich, and reminded me a bit of spaghetti-O’s, but a grown-up, tastier version :)


81 Court November 1, 2012

Do you think you could sub wheat berries for the barley? Do you think I’d need to soak the wheat berries first? I have a tub of hard red wheat that I use for baking bread, but I’ve never thought to use them in an entree recipe before, that is until you made a comment that the texture of barley & wheat berries was similar.


82 Ren5ae May 23, 2013

Oh dear… I’ve got to say, my first attempt at one of your recipes did NOT go down well at all. I thought “oh, this one has ‘easy’ in the title, that’s for me!”.. lol apparently not. Not only did the barley refuse to actually cook properly (still got quite a bit of crunch), but the sauce got all burned. I had it on the lowest heat and was hovering over it stirring every couple minutes to try (“try” being the key word here) to keep it from burning. No such luck.

I then tried to mask the burned flavour with a little cayenne pepper and onion powder (which has rescued meals in the past), to make it seem “smokey” instead of downright burned.. Worked to a point, but it was still quite evident that some burning had taken place.

I ended up getting so fed up with the lack of barley-related cooking that was going on, and with the continual burning of the sauce, that i just threw in some more water and tossed the lot into the microwave to see if that would nudge the barley into submission. It didn’t.

So for the last hour I’ve been sitting here trying to get down this dreadful pile of burned-but-still-somehow-undercooked-barley gloop.

I don’t know how you do it. You make it look so delicious and easy haha, I appear to have some real anti-skill in the kitchen..

I’m thinking next time I might pre-cook the barley a little before attempting this.



83 Ren5ae May 23, 2013

Ooo, or possibly make the same sauce but use quinoa instead of barley..


84 Sully August 4, 2013

I made this risotto this week and it was amazing! I haven’t been able to find nutritional yeast, so what I did was throw a handful of cashews in the food processor and I used the pulverized cashews. Still turned out delicious and creamy!


85 Vanessa February 24, 2014

This looks amaazing! :)



86 Erin R March 5, 2014

I know this is an older post, but I recently discovered your website and made this recipe for dinner tonight. YUM!!! My husband thought it was cheesy rice. We will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the wonderful recipes!


87 Kate October 18, 2014

I made this the other night and it was great. I love how much easier the method is than regular risotto but the reward is just as good! For the tomato puree, I had about 3 oz of tomato paste leftover from another recipe, and I just threw that in the blender with 10 or 15 cherry tomatoes, seeds, skins and all. The result was a little less than 1.5 cups but worked out awesome! Didn’t have miso either but I just used extra salt. And the barley I used was quick-cooking barley from Trader Joe’s. It took about the same amount of time as the recipe though, 30ish minutes.

Thanks for a great recipe, I think I will definitely be making it again.


88 Michelle November 17, 2014

We loved this recipe so much we made twice in one week. Thank-you so much for your seriously delicious cuisine and attention to detail in your recipes. You can tell the amount of testing and care that went into…new to vegan world. We are looking for recipes which are not heavy on processed soy products…more whole foods and lower oil. Your blog is my favourite for recipes…bought your cookbook and like yourself after each meal am simple “blown away” by how delicious it can be to eat vegetables!


89 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 19, 2014

Thank you Michelle! I appreciate it :)


90 Chelsea Balkam April 26, 2015

This recipe is AMAZING. So tastey and creamy and easy to make. I added in some spinach in the last 8 minutes to add some greens :) so yummy!


91 Adeana August 14, 2015

Thanks for this recipe. Do you think black barley will work for this? Maybe it would just take a bit more time?


92 Justin December 3, 2015

best vegan recipe I have come across of.
I have been doing vegan cooking for a while and this is is super tasty, healthy and easy to make, and not to mention very original ! this is a winner


93 Michele January 23, 2016

I’m not familiar with pot barley, but I do have pearled barley on hand. Do you think there is any difference? Would I be ok using the pearled? Thank you!


94 Marianne May 15, 2016

What could I substitute for nutritional yeast?


95 Angela Liddon May 26, 2016

Hi Marianne, unfortunately, there isn’t really a substitute for the nutritional yeast, as it’s what gives the pasta its creamy/cheesy taste (unless you consume real cheese, of course!).


96 Ashley March 9, 2017

Wow! This was so amazing! I didn’t have any nutritional yeast, so I cooked it without, then added in about 1/4-1/2 cup cashew cheese at the end. It was so good I could hardly keep myself from eating the whole pot!


97 Connie Leung October 13, 2017

I LOVED this recipe!! It was sooo good! I doubled the amount because I had a 28oz can for the tomato. But I halved the amount of water and it was perfect!

Toasting the barley definitely made a huge difference – Thank you!!


98 Angela (Oh She Glows) October 13, 2017

Hi Connie, I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a big hit! Thanks for letting me know :)


99 Haley January 15, 2018

Looks great! If I want to double the serving size do I need to cook the barley longer?


100 Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018

Hey Haley, Oh good question. I’m sorry but I’m not sure! Please let me know if you try anything out.


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