Heart-warming barley risotto


A few years ago I have discovered various types of grains. In the past I used to cook only with rice and maybe some quinoa. I’m sure you know it too. You tend to use what you know are familiar with and what your parents cook with. Nowadays, I use buckwheat, millet, amaranth, corn, oats and of course barley. I probably forgot to mention a few of them but you get an idea.

I have always loved Italian risotto but I wasn’t happy with nutritional value of rice that is used in recipes. I was looking for some alternatives and tried various types of ‘healthier’ rice but none of them worked out perfectly. Then I’ve heard about barley as it’s very popular in Switzerland and decided to try it.

It worked very well! The barley risotto is healthier than normal risotto and the taste is a little bit different but it doesn’t mean that it’s not as good as Italian risotto. Barley simply has another taste but if you combine it with right ingredients you will love it and definitely ask for another portion.

It’s as versatile as Italian risotto and you can cook it with green peas or asparagus in spring and with pumpkin or mushrooms in autumn. These are my favorite combinations.

Nutritional yeast adds that cheese flavor, butter creaminess, spring onion that tangy bite and roasted tomatoes compliment all these components perfectly.

Autumn is a great season for us to fuel our bodies with healthy, seasonal and nutritional ingredients and it’s only up to us to use this opportunity and make the best meals for us and our families or friends.


Barley risotto

Delicious, heart-warming autumn meal
Servings 4


  • 1 cup barley
  • 20 g dried mushrooms
  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 - 1.5 L homemade vegetable stock
  • 1 spring onion
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • cherry tomatoes


  • Soak dried mushrooms in 2 cups of hot vegetable stock for about 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture and put them aside. Keep the stock as it's full of flavor that we want to add to our barley risotto.
  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Place tomatoes on the baking sheet and coat them with 1 tbsp olive oil. You can also use a little bit more if you like. Sprinkle it with some salt and pepper and roast the tomatoes for 20 minutes.
  • While the tomatoes are in the oven we can start with our barley risotto. Peel onion and garlic and chop them as small as possible.
  • Heat up 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan and add chopped onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until they become lightly brown.
  • Add barley, mushrooms and chopped thyme and saute for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock (start with the one that you have left from the mushrooms) and stir continuously until it is absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup of stock at a time stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the barley is almost cooked (for about 30 minutes)
  • Add nutritional yeast and chopped spring onion and stir until all ingredients are combined. Cooked for another 5 minutes.
  • Add salt, pepper and lemon juice. Stir all ingredients in the mixture and remove from the heat. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if required.
  • Serve the barley risotto immediately. It makes 2 servings as a main meal and 4 servings as a starter. Place tomatoes on top of each plate and enjoy.

I hope you will give this delicious meal a try and let me know if you liked it.

Thank you for visiting!



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