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Barley and Quinoa Risotto

Barley and Quinoa Risotto

Serves 4-6


100g quinoa, rinsed under cool running water and drained
1 litre vegetable stock (store-bought or homemade, see recipe below)

100g barley, soaked overnight
50g borlotti beans (fresh or canned)

¼ head purple or white cauliflower
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped

30g unsalted macadamia nuts, toasted and finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable stock (optional)
2 carrots, roughly cut
1 onion, roughly cut
2 stalks of celery, roughly cut
1 leek, roughly cut
8 parsley stalks, roughly cut
2 litres water
1tsp salt


  1. To prepare homemade vegetable stock, combine all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, pressing gently on the vegetables. Let it cool to room temperature. The stock can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
  2. To prepare the risotto, put the quinoa and 500ml of the vegetable stock in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until the quinoa is cooked – about 15 minutes – stirring occasionally. The grain will look a bit translucent when done. If the grain has not absorbed all the liquid, drain it in a sieve.
  3. In another saucepan, put in the barley and the remaining 500ml of vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and simmer until the barley is cooked – about 15 minutes – stirring constantly so that it doesn’t stick. Taste to see if it is done; cooked barley should be tender all the way through. If the barley has not absorbed all the liquid, drain it in a sieve and discard the excess liquid.
  4. If using fresh borlotti beans, put the beans and enough water to cover them in a pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. The beans should take about 15 minutes to cook. If using canned beans, skip ahead to the next step.
  5. Break up the cauliflower florets into tiny pieces, of a similar size to the other chopped vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a wok and stir-fry all the vegetables (the cauliflower, red and yellow peppers and carrot). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Toss the quinoa, barley, stir-fried vegetables, borlotti beans and chopped macadamia nuts together, and serve.

This dish can be served warm as a main course or cold as an appetiser/salad.
Courtesy of Chef Janice Wong, 2am: Dessert Bar
From Awakening the Appetite, published by Parkway Cancer Centre