Barley Risotto

Returning with something super simple but so delicious.
During the detox, while on the search for various grains to keep things interesting,
I remembered barley.

My mom used to use it in many of her soups when I was a kid. This, of course, makes it an easy favourite for me. It’s hearty and slightly chewy. It’s soft, warm and filling, making it a perfect, but overlooked addition to so many dishes in the winter. Thankfully though, I see it making a comeback in a few other blogs and food magazines.

Treating it like a risotto, is a great way to flavour the barley. And in this case keeping it open to so many different flavour variations. It’s no secret that I love spinach, so pair that with some sautéed mushrooms and even a pan fried tofu and this becomes a perfectly satisfying, affordable and easy winter weekday dinner.


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced
1 Cup Pearl Barley
3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Sprig Thyme, optional
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, adding the minced shallots to sweat.
Add the barley stirring well to coat with oil and lightly toast.
Cover with all of this liquid at once. Once the mixture begins to lightly simmer, stir and reduce the heat to maintain.
Add thyme, if using.
Stir occasionally until broth is mostly absorbed and barley is tender. (If more liquid is needed add 1/2 cup water.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Spinach & Mushroom Topping

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, Sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves, packed

Heat the oil and add the garlic and mushrooms.
Sauté over a medium high heat until mushrooms begin to brown.
Add the spinach, turning regularly to wilt.
Serve hot over top of prepared barley.


~ by Dayna on February 1, 2009.

11 Responses to “Barley Risotto”

  1. Lovely dish!!

  2. oh my god, i have to try this recipe because it combines my favorite things…spinach & mushrooms. why this combination is so good i have no idea but i love it!
    It’s one of my absolute favourites too. It’s wooly socks on the table kind of perfectly satisfying – all on the cheap.

  3. Great idea for barley- thanks for the recipe!

  4. Mmmm looks fantastic! I’ve only just recently discovered I like barley and am always on the hunt for new things to do with it.

  5. I love barley! This sounds wonderfully simple and flavorul too.

  6. I love barley, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about preparing it risotto-style. Thanks for another great recipe!

  7. The mushrooms and spinach look delish!

  8. i love the mushrooms!!

  9. Looks great for cold weather and so beautiful too! I love that you made a topping for it instead of mixing it in.

  10. Your blog is wonderful! I am addicted to food photography and am a new vegetarian with a family of meat eaters. They are open minded so we are working on it! I will definintly follow your blog and plan on cooking many, many things. :)

  11. I have been mixing barley with arborio rice to make risotto for several years now. I view risotto as my favorite vehicle for cleaning out the leftover bits and pieces in the fridge, as well as something as yummy as this one you have provided.
    Mmm. The mix of the two sounds delicious not to mention a little more nutritious. Thanks for the tip.

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