Recipe - Broccoli Pearl Barley Risotto with Seared Chicken

This dish is perfect for a cold winter's evening, it's heartwarming and packed with delicious flavour. A Donna Hay recipe with a twist, I've used pearl barley instead of quinoa flakes, which is nice and affordable so you can bulk this one out for some weekday lunches. The thing that transforms this is the cashew nut pesto! Its soooo scrummy and makes the whole dish come together, you have to try it! Recipe below, happy munching x

Ingredients - Serves 2 with some extra risotto for lunch!

  • 2 chicken breasts - more if you want some for lunches
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 brocolli heads, cut into florets
  • 1 white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 750ml of chicken stock
  • 100g pearl barley
  • 100g cashews, save some for sprinkling at the end
  • bunch of basil
  • large handful of grated parmesan, plus extra to serve
  • 60ml water


  • Blitz the broccoli in a food processor and pulse until it looks a little something like rice.
  • Heat some oil in a large saucepan on a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 mins. Add the pearl barley and fry for a minute.
  • Add in the broccoli, cook for another minute. Then add the stock, turn down the heat and leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, adding more water if necessary. This should take around 20 mins to cook.
  • Whilst the risotto cooks, make the cashew pesto. Place the cashews into the food processor and whiz for 2 mins or until a paste forms. Add the basil, parmesan and slowly add water until you get a nice, smooth consistency.
  • Now to fry you chicken. Season with salt and pepper, the place the chicken in a medium-hot pan with oil. Around 5-8 mins each side, depending on how big your chicken pieces are. Pop them on to a chopping board to rest.
  • The risotto should now be ready, the pearl barley should have a little bite to it, but not too much! Take it off the heat and stir in the cashew pesto.
  • Slice the chicken, serve the risotto in a nice wide bowl and place the chicken on top. Scatter the remaining cashews and give a little sprinkling of parmesan. Bon appetit!