Barley Risotto with Collard Greens

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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 290 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

If you are looking for a stick-to-your ribs vegetarian main dish, look no further. This nutty barley risotto, studded with mushrooms, leeks, carrots, tomatoes and hearty collard greens, is ideal for a cold winter meal. Feel free to substitute your favorite hearty greens, such as kale or chard, for the collards.


  • 5 Tbs. (2 1/2 oz./75 g) unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. (315 g) button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) dry red wine
  • 2 1/4 cups (18 fl. oz./560 ml) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) diced canned tomatoes with juice
  • 1 Tbs. mild honey
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) pearled barley
  • 2 cups (6 oz./185 g) thinly sliced stemmed collard greens
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) grated Parmesan cheese


Put the flameproof insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium heat, then add 2 Tbs. of the butter and warm until melted. Add the mushrooms, carrot, leek and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Whisk in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the flour is fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes and their juice, honey, rosemary, 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper, and stir well. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.

Transfer the insert to the slow cooker and stir in the barley. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours. The barley should be tender.

Uncover and stir in the greens. Re-cover and cook on high setting for about 30 minutes. The greens should be tender.

Stir in the remaining 3 Tbs. butter and the cheese.

Transfer the risotto to a large shallow serving bowl or individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2014)

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