Creamy pea & chive risotto

Creamy pea & chive risotto

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(21 ratings)

Prep: 5 mins Cook: 25 mins Ready in 30 mins


Serves 2
Pearl barley is rich in calcium, minerals, iron and potassium, and that's just to start with. Make the most of it with this creamy risotto

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily halved
  • Vegetarian

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal656
  • fat20g
  • saturates6g
  • carbs104g
  • sugars12g
  • fibre8g
  • protein20g
  • salt1.41g
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  • 2 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 1 onion, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 200g pearl barley
  • 1.2l vegetable stock
  • 140g pea



    A type of legume, peas grow inside long, plump pods. As is the case with all types of legume,…

  • 100g light cream cheese with chives
  • small bunch chives, snipped


  1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan, then gently fry the onion for 3-4 mins. Stir in the pearl barley, sizzle for a few mins, then pour in about a third of the stock. Simmer fiercely for 20 mins, stirring occasionally, adding more stock gradually as it is absorbed. With 5 mins to go, stir in the peas. After 20 mins there should be some liquid left and the barley should be cooked through.

  2. Turn the heat off under the risotto and let it sit for a min, then stir in the cream cheese and most of the chives. Season well and serve scattered with the rest of the chives.

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Comments, questions and tips

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5th Feb, 2015
I used goats cheese instead of cream cheese, delicious!!!
11th Jul, 2014
The other recipes recommended just from the pictures they include ingredients on my banned list. Think it is time someone got to grips with what 'low potassium' means.
11th Jul, 2014
How can a recipe described as rich in potassium come up when I put in low potassium recipes, is this not a contradiction?
29th Apr, 2014
I used 100g each of pearl barley and risotto rice, soaking the barley in cold water for 2 hours first. I also added garlic to the onions, white wine at the start of the absorption process, and some chopped ham with the peas at the end. I then used half a tub of light philadelphia with chives. Finished off with some parmesan shavings and chopped fresh chives this was delicious.....there was far too much for 2 however, so we both had to have seconds!!!
6th Feb, 2014
YUMMY! We took peoples' comments on board about cooking it longer - the packet of pearl barley said 1 hour so we added the peas after 55 minutes. Delicious. We will definitely be doing again. Very, very easy. Had with a nice salad.
25th Sep, 2011
That was delicious. I only used 50g of the cream cheese though and went for a plain type plus a little bit of mozzarella, which was much lighter. I also added some mushrooms and some pieces of pumpkin which I needed to use up and it went so well together. Delicious with a glass of cabernet Sauvignon and a side salad of rocket.
21st Aug, 2011
You can cook pearl barley for only 20 minutes like in this recipe- but in order to do that you must soak it first (for at least 2 hours, or overnight). Alternatively you can use pre-steamed quick cook barley.
11th Jul, 2017
Thanks! That explains my problem last night.
20th Aug, 2011
I like this and have made it several times - a very easy recipe, but I agree about the timings. I tend to cook it ahead - so turn it off after 20mins and leave it to absorb the liquid and gently cook through. Then just heat it up again before adding the cheese. The pearl barley is tasty and a different texture to rice.
lizfisher56's picture
8th Jun, 2011
I made this for the first time last night and wished that I had read some of these reviews first. Like others, I found the pearl barley took approx 1 hour to cook so I am quite confused how you can say that it only takes 20 minutes. I will ty it with arborio rice next time to see if that helps. Apart from the timing issue it was a good recipe.


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6th Feb, 2014
Cook for longer. Don't worry about flavoured cheese.
6th Feb, 2014
Cook it longer than the recipe says (we did about 1 hour) and don't worry about flavoured cream cheese. We just added extra chives. And used full fat cream cheese. Yum.
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