Barley Risotto with Fennel Recipe

This convenient alternative to traditional stovetop risotto uses healthy, fiber-rich whole grainseither barley or brown riceseasoned with Parmesan cheeseshowlist_icon.gif, lemon zest and oil-cured olives. The gentle, uniform heat of a slow cooker allows you to cook a creamy risotto without the usual frequent stirring.
Per serving: 235 calories; 5 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 6 mg cholesterol; 36 g carbohydrate; 9 g protein; 8 g fiber; 750 mg sodium; 467 mg potassium; 0 g added sugars
Carbohydrate Servings: 2
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 fat
Nutritionshowlist_icon.gif Bonus: Vitamin A (35% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv)
Scaling Disclaimer: EatingWell recipes are tested extensively in the EatingWell Test Kitchen. EatingWell cannot guarantee a recipe that has been scaled to make a different number of servings from the original. Also note that scaling only applies to the ingredient measurements: no adjustment is made to the recipe instructions, so pan sizes and cooking times and ingredient amounts referred to in the text of the recipe only apply to the original number of servings.


2 teaspoons of fennel seeds

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs

1 cup of pearl barley

1 small carrot

1 large shallot

2 garlic

4 cups of reduced-sodium chicken broth

1-1 1/2 cup of water

1/3 cup of dry white wine

2 cups of frozen French-cut green beans

1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup of pitted oil-cured black olives

1 tablespoon of freshly grated lemon zest

Freshly ground pepper

Preparation Instructions

Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Combine the fennel seeds, diced fennel, barley (or rice), carrot, shallot and garlic in the slow cooker. Add broth, 1 cup water and wine, and stir to combine. Cover and cook until the barley (or rice) is tender, but pleasantly chewy, and the risotto is thick and creamy, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or low.
Shortly before serving, cook green beans according to package instructions and drain. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the green beans, Parmesan, olives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto. If it seems dry, heat the remaining 1/2 cup water and stir it into the risotto. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fennel fronds.

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