Kale and lemon barleyotto with breadcrumbs

  • Prep time 10 mins
  • Cook time 1 hrs 30 mins
  • Serves 5+
kale and lemon barleyotto


  • A glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • 80g green leek tops, washed and finely sliced
  • 80g onion, finely sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 200g pot barley
  • ½ unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
  • 200ml white wine (optional)
  • 200g kale, finely shredded
  • Breadcrumbs to serve

Recipe developed by eco-chef Tom Hunt

Locally grown, yet undervalued, barley is a delicious alternative to rice. It is easy to grow and has a strong, deep root system that helps prevent soil erosion. It is also an affordable and nutritious, grain. Use it to bulk out broths, as a base for a whole grain salad or in risottos – known as barleyotto or orzotto in Northern Italy. Like many foods, wine has become a commodity, lowering its quality whilst increasing its impact on the environment. Choose wine the same way you do good food: buy less, but better, from vineyards that care for the environment.


  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium/low heat.
  2. Add the leek tops, onion and garlic and gently cook without browning, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the barley, half of the lemon zest and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the wine (if using) and bring to the boil.
  5. Pour in enough boiling water to cover the barley and simmer gently, stirring regularly, until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Top up with more boiling water if necessary and continue cooking until the barley is tender but with a bite – approximately 30-40 minutes.
  7. Set aside to rest.
  8. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the shredded greens for 2 minutes.
  9. Drain the greens but save the water.
  10. Blend the greens to a purée, adding a little of the cooking water if necessary. (Keep any leftover cooking water as stock in your fridge or freezer).
  11. Stir the green purée into the barley and season well with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
  12. Serve by spooning into bowls and top with the remaining lemon zest and the breadcrumbs.