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Barley and Butternut Risotto

Barley and Butternut Risotto

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Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Lindsey Lower

Hands-on Time

1 Hour 5 Mins


Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

ByJackie Plant

October 2014

This hearty dish gets an extra helping of iron and magnesium from the barley, and your full-day's value of yumminess from the butternut and big shavings of parmesan cheese. Make it extra good and serve with a spicy roasted broccoli on the side.


  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup), divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage

Nutritional Information

  • Calories 421
  • Fat 6.2g
  • Satfat 2.3g
  • Monofat 2.6g
  • Polyfat 0.8g
  • Protein 17g
  • Carbohydrate 79g
  • Fiber 15g
  • Cholesterol 8mg
  • Iron 4mg
  • Sodium 438mg
  • Calcium 263mg

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°.

Step 2

Place squash on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.

Step 3

Bring stock and 1 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Keep warm.

Step 4

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion, salt, and pepper; cook 4 minutes. Add barley and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup stock mixture; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Reserve 1/4 cup stock. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion is absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup stock and 1 ounce cheese. Fold in squash. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and sage.

Butternut Squash Baked Barley Risotto

Looking for a simple and healthy vegetarian one-pot meal? Try this butternut squash baked barley risotto with kale. With minimal stovetop time, this risotto cooks in the oven and doesn’t require the usual stirring.

Soup season has me craving all things cozy. That includes chai lattes, sweaters and scarves.

If it’s served in a bowl or mug that I can wrap my hands around to warm up, then I’m all in.

I will never get tired of soup from vibrant green broccoli spinach to a deep red Tuscan ribolitta, but sometimes I want a filling serving of grains instead.

This butternut squash baked barley risotto ticks all the boxes.

I love risotto, but I don’t enjoy the work that goes into it. You basically have to baby risotto on the stovetop, gradually pouring in liquid and stirring until the grains absorb it and become tender.

As much as I love putting my absolute undivided attention on what I’m cooking, more often than not, I am not capable of such focus. It cramps my multi-tasking style.

That’s why baked risotto is such a game-changer.

Once high-maintenance risotto just needs a little time on the stove before you can put it into the oven to bubble away.

Arborio rice is traditionally used for risotto, but I prefer Italian barley.

I always have barley in my pantry since I use it in lots of recipes from grain bowls to salads.

Arborio rice is very specific to risotto, and I don’t like having ingredients that I will only use for one type of dish.

Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

You know those recipes you have that you turn to when you need something you know is going to taste fantastic, yet isn’t too hard, and will be pleasing to most? Meet Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash. This is one of those dishes you’ll want to make over and over because it’s perfect for so many occasions. It’s easy enough to be a weeknight dinner (trust me–this isn’t like traditional risotto where you have to stir it for 45 minutes!) yet elegant enough to be a holiday side dish or an entree you serve to company.

It’s so delicious, though, you won’t want to save it for special occasions.This recipe can work as a side dish or a vegetarian main. See? Very versatile. If you use is as a main dish, it’ll serve 4 people. As a side, it will serve 8 people.

I love the way the pearl barley cooks up so creamy, yet is a much lower glycemic index grain than the Arborio rice traditionally used in risotto. Pearl barley actually has a much lower GI than any kind of rice and most grains in general. Even though pearl barley is processed to have the hull and part of the bran layer removed, so isn’t a fully in tact whole grain, it cooks so much faster than the least processed barley, so I prefer to use it. Note that barely is not gluten-free.

I use the same method to cook this Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash as this Brown Rice Risotto. I start cooking it on the stove, and then move it to the hot oven to finish. Very minimal stirring is required, I promise!

This Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash is one of the most low-stress risottos you’ll ever make, yet the results will impress you. It’s creamy, fresh herbs add incredible flavor, with just the right amount of parmesan cheese. The butternut squash just makes this the perfect dish to make all fall and winter long.

Would you like to know what else makes this Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash a perfect weeknight meal? All of the ingredients can be purchased through Kroger ClickList! Now your grocery shopping and your dinner making are easy, low-stress experiences. Winning.

If you missed my post telling all about how much I love Kroger ClickList, you can read about it here. It really is a grocery shopping game-changer for busy moms. Even though I like grocery shopping, my schedule doesn’t allow for the leisurely trips I once enjoyed. If I have to choose between a long trip to the grocery store or being able to cook my family dinner, I’ll choose dinner every time. Thank you, Kroger, for allowing this online shopping experience that makes my life easier!

Step 1

Begin by preheating the oven to 180c and lining two baking trays with parchment paper.

Step 2

Scatter the small butternut squash cubes onto one and the sliced red peppers onto the other. Drizzle both with oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

Step 3

Meanwhile in a large saucepan on a medium heat add the extra virgin olive oil along with the white onion and crushed garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent.

Step 4

Next add the dried sage, pearl barley and butter and combine.

Step 5

Pour in the stock and leave to simmer for 25 minutes or so until the pearl barley has absorbed the stock and is cooked.

Step 6

Whilst the risotto is cooking prepare the pesto by adding all of the ingredients including the roasted red peppers into the Ninja blender and blending until smooth. Empty into a bowl.

Step 7

Rinse the blender and next add half of the butternut squash to it and blend again until smooth.

Step 8

Pour into the risotto along with half of the pesto and stir until combined.

Step 9

Finish by plating up and topping with the remaining butternut squash chunks, pesto dollops and fresh basil. Enjoy!

  • 1 tbsp olive or cooking oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 150g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 150g green lentils, rinsed
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • 150ml white wine
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Select the SAUTE function and scroll down to VEG ASPARAGUS then press START. Add the oil and allow to heat up for 2 mins.

Add the squash, onion and garlic and stir regularly for

3 minutes until the onion and other vegetables begin to soften.

Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine then press the BACK button.

Put the lid on and close the pressure valve then select the PRESSURE COOK function and MULTIGRAIN program, and then adjust the time to 20 minutes. Press START.

When the program has finished, we recommend the SLOW RELEASE method before opening the pressure valve and removing the lid.

Tasty Recipes

- 2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½&rdquo cubes (approx. 4 C)
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 8 C chicken stock
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 2 C pearl barley
- ¼ tsp thyme
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ C grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 C walnuts, coarsely chopped and toasted


Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and cinnamon and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, flip the butternut squash and roast for an additional 15 minutes, until the squash is tender.

Once the squash is in the oven, pour the chicken stock into a medium stockpot and place over medium heat, reducing heat to low when it begins to simmer.

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and soft. Add the barley and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Pour 1 C of the warm chicken stock into the barley and stir constantly while the stock simmers and is absorbed.

When the stock cooks out and the barley pot begins to look dry, add another cup of chicken stock. Continue stirring, cooking and adding stock until all the stock is used and the barley is creamy and al dente, approximately 35 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Gently stir in the roasted butternut squash. Top each serving with walnuts.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion (about 8 ounces), chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages sliced fresh cremini mushrooms
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked whole-grain hulled barley (not pearled about 10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 fresh sage sprig, plus 3 tablespoons fresh leaves
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • ⅞ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash (about 20 ounces)
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onions, and cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the skillet cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates, about 8 minutes. Add the barley and sage sprig to the skillet cook, stirring often, 1 minute.

Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Stir together the barley mixture, stock, salt, pepper, and sugar in the slow cooker stir to combine. Sprinkle the squash over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH until the barley and squash are tender, about 4 to 5 hours. Remove the sage sprig.

Using the back of a spoon, mash the butternut squash cubes into the risotto until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream and vinegar until incorporated. Sprinkle the servings evenly with the cheese and sage leaves.

Multicooker Directions: Complete Step 1. In Step 2, coat the inner pot of a 6-quart multicooker with cooking spray. Stir together the barley mixture, stock, salt, pepper, and sugar in the pot. Sprinkle the squash over the top. Lock the lid turn Pressure Valve to "Venting." Cook on SLOW COOK [More] until the barley and squash are tender, about 5 hours. Turn off the cooker. Remove the sage sprig. Complete Step 3.

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, (3/4-inch cubes) (see Tip)
  • ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add broth, water, barley and squash bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper mix gently.

Tip: To save time, use conveniently peeled and cubed butternut squash, available in many supermarkets in the fall and winter.

Barley and Butternut Risotto - Recipes

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 6 cups)

5 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (divided)

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

5 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (divided)

1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a heavy rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash, garlic cloves, sage leaves and 2 tablespoons of oil together. Spread out in an even layer, season with salt and pepper, and roast, tossing once with a spatula, until tender and lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the risotto. In a 4-quart pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and tender, 8 minutes. Add the barley and stir to coat with the oil, cook 1 minute.

Add the white wine and simmer, uncovered, until almost completely absorbed. Add 5 1/2 cups of the broth and the pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender with a bit of chew, about 30 minutes.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Chop the garlic and sage leaves roughly and add them to the pot along with the roasted squash. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan and stir thoroughly. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, add the remaining 1/4 cup of broth, if necessary, to adjust the consistency of the risotto.

Creamy Barley-Butternut Risotto

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Butternut squash soup plumps barley to a creamy consistency and infuses it with flavor as it cooks. Finely chopped vegetables cook in the same amount of time as the barley, for a one-pot meal that’s ready in about 20 minutes.


  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley leaves, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 12.3-oz. pkg. silken firm tofu, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups prepared creamy butternut squash soup, divided
  • 1 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
  • 2/3 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 cups baby kale


1 Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spread walnuts on baking sheet, and toast 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned set aside.

2 Meanwhile, pulse cauliflower and 2 Tbs. parsley in food processor, or until cauliflower is shredded. Transfer to bowl. Purée tofu in food processor 15 seconds, or until creamy set aside.

3 Bring 2 cups soup to a boil in medium saucepan. Stir in cauliflower mixture, barley, and sage. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, or until soup is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining ½ cup soup, carrots, and tofu. Cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve risotto on bed of kale, sprinkled with walnuts and parsley.

Watch the video: φ, Φ, κριθαράκι για ριζότο (June 2022).


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