Fresh Sheet…More Spring Greens

Spring, spring, spring! In early spring, I always find that I face a bit of a dilemma: my mouth screams for fresh green flavours but in reality, there aren’t a lot of fresh spring greens at the ready! Our asparagus is still weeks away here in Vancouver but for those of you south of the border, those tender green stalks are just begging to be plucked. So for the next instalment of our Daily Perricone blog posts, we created a delicious asparagus and edamame risotto that fulfils that craving for vibrant flavours while providing plenty of energizing whole grains.

Asparagus and Edamame Risotto

For those of you looking to experiment with more plant-based meals, this barley delivers a satisfying and protein-packed punch. The combination of barley and edamame make this risotto far healthier and nutrient-dense than your typical Arborio rice version and no less creamy!

Serves 6

7 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups shelled, frozen edamame beans
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 onion, diced
1 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare, heat vegetable stock until simmering and fill a bowl with very cold water. Working in batches, blanch asparagus and edamame beans by placing them in the simmering stock for one and a half minutes to cook slightly. Quickly place them in the cold-water bath to stop the cooking process. Set aside.

Keep vegetable stock hot over low heat. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, sauté onions in half of the olive oil until onions are soft. Add remaining olive oil and barley. Stir until barley is well coated.

Add a half cup of the hot stock and stir until the broth is absorbed and barley is creamy. Continue stirring, adding the hot stock half a cup at a time until barley is al dente, about 30 minutes. When adding the last half cup of hot stock, also add the blanched asparagus and edamame beans to reheat them. Once all broth is absorbed, turn the heat off and stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Enjoy!

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