Sunday, April 3, 2011

80--- Barley Risotto with Fennel and Crimini Mushroom Saute

Barley is a short-season, early-maturing cereal grain that can be grown in both irrigated and dry lands. If I had more garden space, I would grow it. It can be used in soups, salads, side dishes, or as your breakfast cereal.

In addition to FIBER, barley is also a great source if niacin, which is a B-vitamin. Niacin can reduce platelet aggregation and can also help to reduce cholesterol levels.

This recipe utilizes this wonderful grain in place of the rice used in a traditional Italian risotto.

Barley Fennel Risotto with Crimini Mushroom Saute

Serves 4

4 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1 cup pearl barley

1 Tbsp fennel seeds

1 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp olive oil

1 lb crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and sliced thick

1 clove garlic, pressed and finely minced

1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely minced

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat vegetable broth to a boil, then set aside.

In a large nonstick flat sided skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender. Add fennel seeds, pepper and thyme and heat for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add pearled barley and 2 cups warm broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir frequently and simmer until most of the stock is absorbed, 4-5 minuets. Add remaining warm stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally, waiting until stock is absorbed before adding more.

While barley cooks, heat remaining 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Add minced garlic and saute until fragrant. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned. Sprinkle in parsley and salt, cover and reduce heat to low, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender.

When barley is fully cooked, stir in Parmesan cheese. Spoon barley into bowls, then top with mushrooms.

Nutrition Info per 1 cup barley and 1/4 cup mushrooms: 304 calories, 6 g fat, 13 g protein, 40 g carbohydrates, 10 g fiber


  1. That looks so delish!! It has great stats too 10 grams of fiber is awesome! I cant really eat barley, but I think red quinoa could be a great replacement.

  2. Could hulled barley be used in this instead of pearled? I know it would greatly increase the cooking time but I would prefer to use the whole grain if you think it would yield even remotely similar results.

  3. You can use hulled barley- but it will increase the cooking time before each broth edition. The final texture will be chewier and less "risotto-like", but let me know how it turns out!

  4. Thanks...I'll probably kick myself for trying it when I'm stirring it forever, but will probably give it a shot!

  5. I did make it with hulled barley. It took forever to cook as anticipated, but I also didn't stand there and tend to it like one normally has to with traditional risotto. Start to finish probably nearly 2 and a half hours. I also added an additional half cup of stock (I used chicken instead of veggie).
    I'm not quite sold on the spices (apparently I'm not a huge fan of fennel and thyme) but overall I was pleased with the results.