I made this recipe knowing full well that my husband would not like it. I did at least wait for a night when he already had dinner plans. I’m caring like that. ūüôā

Turns out I’m the only person in family that did like it. The girls said it was just ok. Oh well. I’m still calling it a win since I thought it was awesome. It also served as our meatless dinner for this week. We’ll get back to that topic in a bit. First, here’s the recipe. I made a recipe and a half to ensure leftovers and I’m glad I did! Risotto for lunch. Yum.

Barley Risotto with Cannellini Beans and Kale adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Serves 3-4


5 cups low-sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2  medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/2 cup white wine (optional)

1 cup pearled barley (7 ounces)

1 cup cannellini beans

3 cups chopped kale

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons Smart Balance light

Salt and freshly ground pepper


In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and thyme and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 6 minutes.

Add the barley and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine if using and cook, stirring until absorbed, about one minute.

Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock 1/2 cup at a time in six additions ‚ÄĒ you‚Äôll have a cup of stock left in the pot ‚ÄĒ stirring until it is nearly absorbed between additions.¬†

SmittenKitchen suggests adding a¬†little more stock so that the risotto is a little on the “loose”¬†side.¬† I did just that.

Add the beans and let them cook for a minute. Add the kale and let it wilt and then cook for an two or three minutes.

Stir in the 1/2 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano and the Smart Balance and season with salt and pepper. Serve at once, passing more cheese at the table.

Nutritional Info: 446 calories, 13 gram fat, 62 grams carbs, 14 grams fiber, 21 grams protein

Back to the meatless dinner topic.¬† My husband protests when I serve meatless dinners.¬† He says its not a meal without meat and swears I’m trying to turn us into vegetarians.¬† Yep, one meal a week is going to do that.¬† I tried (to no avail) to explain that there’s plenty of protein in what I do cook.¬† He was having none of it.

Since I do the meal planning, list making, shopping and 99% of the cooking he’s learning to live with it.¬† Or eat a PB&J, which by the way is meatless.¬†

Do your dinners always include meat (unless your a no-meat type person of course)?