Whole Grain Recipes


Barley Basil Risotto with Fresh Asparagus & Corn

Barley Basil Risotto with Fresh Asparagus & Corn

Kathryn Conrad

In midsummer, when fresh corn abounds yet asparagus is still available, this barley-based risotto-style side dish is especially delicious.


1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup thinly sliced ramps (or other onion)
1 cup whole grain barley grits*
3 cups warm vegetable broth, divided
1 cup (1-inch slices) asparagus
3/4 cup fresh corn kernels (about 1 ear)
1/4 cup  grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp thinly sliced fresh basil
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

For garnish:
thinly sliced basil (optional)
shaved parmesan cheese (optional)
freshly ground black pepper (optional)


1. Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté until tender.

2. Stir in barley grits; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Add 1/2 cup broth; cook 2 minutes or until the broth is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in the asparagus and corn kernels; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in cheese, basil, lemon zest, pepper and lemon juice. Serve immediately, topped with additional basil, cheese and pepper if desired.

* Barley grits are broken-up bits of barley kernels. If you can't find them, you can use Hull-less Barley and simply break up the kernels a bit in a blender or food processor first.

Recipe courtesy of Kathryn Conrad, WGC Culinary Advisor.


Nutrition facts per serving: Calories: 270, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1.5g, Sodium: 790mg, Carbohydrate: 46g, Fiber: 10g, Protein: 10g

makes: 4 servings
serving size: about 1 cup

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