A rustic vegetarian recipe from Umbrian cuisine! Barley is very popular in my home region as well as it is in other areas of central Italy.
As long as spelt, is often used as a main ingredient in soups. Today we will use it as a substitute for rice.


  • 400 g of pearl barley
  • 350 g of peeled tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • chopped chili
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 180 g of kale
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt
  • 50 g Parmesan Cheese, grated










Place barley berries into a colander. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
Place rinsed berries into a pot. Add water. Ratio of water to grain should be three parts water to one part spelt. Add a few pinches of sea salt.
Peel the potatoes and dice into 2 cm lenght pieces. Put them in the pot.
Place the pot on a burner over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grain and the potatoes are tender (about 20-25 minutes).
Meanwhile heat 5 tbsp of oil in a large pan. Add the crushed garlic, chopped chili and the sliced onion and fry for 5-6 minutes over a medium flame. Add the peeled tomatoes and salt at taste. Cook for 10 minutes then revove from the burner and leave aside.
Cut the bottom of the kale leaves and discard. Chop the kale into stripes and rinse under running water.
One minute before draining, poach the kale leaves into the boiling pot with barley and potatoes.
Remove from the heat and drain. Add the mixture to the tomato sauce and stir-fry for one minute.
Add a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese before serving.
Buon appetito!