Mushroom Barley Risotto


This recipe was recommended to me by a friend (and fellow dietitian), and  it is awesome! Who knew barley could make such a nice risotto. It gets creamy but the grains stay nice and chewy, it’s a great combo! Barley also has more iron, protein and 5 times as much fiber as short grain rice.

This dish would look much prettier with the parsley added (if you’re trying to impress guests), but I didn’t have any on hand (personally I don’t really like parsley in it anyway!). The risotto thickens a bit once done cooking so keep that in mind and it keeps well to bring for lunches so make a big batch!


Mushroom Barley Risotto

Serves 4

Modified from Whitewater Cook With Friends


Olive oil
3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 large onion
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed
2-2.5 cups chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup parsley (optional)

Heat stock in a small sauce pan until simmering. Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot to generously coat the bottom. Saute barley until slightly toasted, about 5 min. Add onions and garlic and cook until transparent. Add mushrooms, and saute for another 5 min. Add the hot stock a 1/2 cup at a time stirring in between, cooking until most the liquid has been absorbed,  about 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Test barley, it should be al dente. If still too firm add another 1/2 cup water and continue cooking until done. Turn heat off, stir in cheese, cover and let sit 5 min. Season with fresh ground pepper and parsley.

7 Comments || Mushroom Barley Risotto

  1. I do not have the best of luck when making risottos – my rice is always still a touch too undercooked. I will have to try it with barley, and see if I can get it just right.

  2. Yes, definitely try this recipe! Just keep tasting it, stirring it and adding water until it’s done… i probably ended up adding another 3/4 cup or so. Fool proof :)

  3. We made this for dinner tonight, along with fish & a big salad…it was amazing! What great flavour & I love the texture of the barley.

    • I loved the texture of the barley too! I love this recipe. I like to add more mushrooms, and leeks are delicious in it too! I’m glad you liked it :)

  4. Brianna

    As an Italian, I love my risotto and I was eager to try a healthier version using barley. I am quite picky about my risotto but this recipe passed the test…It was delicious!! I was impressed it had the creaminess of a good risotto but I also enjoyed the new, hearty texture of the barley, I used a lot of mushrooms (regular white and shimeji) and a low-sodium, vegetable broth and it turned out wonderfully. I know even my chef boyfriend would be impressed!

    • Upbeet,RD

      Wow, praise from an Italian! This must be a great recipe ;) I love using a variety of mushrooms in this dish as well, the more the merrier! I actually prefer the texture of barley risotto to the traditional risotto now.

Share your thoughts + comments with Melissa (upbeet, RD)!


- Formerly known as Apron Strings and Healthy Things -

© 2014 Upbeet. All rights reserved.