Slow cooker spinach and halloumi pearl barley risotto makes a great side dish or vegetarian option that cooks in your crockpot in a couple of hours. So tasty and great for summer!
Slow cooking grains
This month the theme for the Slow Cooked Challenge over with Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen is Rice and Grains.
I’ve only tried a risotto once in the slow cooker, and it was partly extremely soggy and partly still hard, so not successful at all!
So I thought I might avoid rice this time and try a different kind of grain.
In the supermarket many of the grains I looked at only needed a short cooking time (things like buckwheat, couscous and so on) and so a long cooking time wouldn’t really work for them.
Pearl barley though is a grain I’ve used in lamb stews I’ve cooked in casserole dishes in the oven before, so I knew it could handle a longer cooking time.
I decided to take inspiration from that recipe and make a pearl barley risotto with a similar base, using the ingredients in my fridge.
A bag of spinach waiting to be used up and some light halloumi with mint caught my eye so these would go in too. Read on for my recipe for slow cooker spinach and halloumi pearl barley risotto!
Here is what you will need (get the quantities from the recipe card):
- onion, garlic
- pearl barley – the main ingredient
- vegetable stock cube – I like to use Marigold powder as I love the flavour, choose a stock cube you like.
- spinach – I use fresh but frozen would work too
- halloumi – or replace it with feta or another crumbly type of cheese.
- optional – lemon juice, fresh herbs
Step by step
Pearl barley doesn’t go soggy even if cooked for a long time as here.
It retains a nice bite which is great and has a delicate nutty flavour. So it works well in this pearl barley risotto dish.
It is easy to prepare, simply add the pearl barley to the slow cooker along with some onion, garlic and herbs for flavouring.
Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.
Then stir through chopped spinach and halloumi.
Optionally, squeeze over some lemon juice and add some chopped fresh herbs for additional flavour. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper.
How to serve
This risotto was delicious warm served with avocado, mozzarella and salad on the side. I’ll also be using the rest up cold in salads over the next few days.
It also works well as a side dish to hot dishes like chilli, or alongside shredded meat. So you can also have it as a side to other slow cooker dishes.
Pin this recipe for later:
Slow Cooker Spinach and Halloumi Pearl Barley Risotto
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- 200 g pearl barley
- 600 ml vegetable stock made using freshly boiled water and 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
- 75 g fresh spinach chopped finely
- 40 g light halloumi cut in small pieces
- Place the onion, garlic, pearl barley and vegetable stock in the slow cooker.1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 200 g pearl barley, 600 ml vegetable stock
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours, keeping an eye on the pot at the end of cooking to check for sticking.
- Chop the spinach finely and stir it through the pearl barley.75 g fresh spinach
- Dice the halloumi and stir it through as well reserving some to place on top.40 g light halloumi
- Season with pepper and serve as a light meal with salad.
Sending this over to the Slow Cooked Challenge hosted by Janice this month, with the theme of rice and grains. A great theme which made me cook something a bit different!
Also linking up with Meat Free Mondays with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes.