Brilliant Barley & Butternut Risotto - Nature's Choice
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Brilliant Barley & Butternut Risotto

7 September 2017

You are most likely not very well acquainted with barley in this modern day and age of convenience and processed foods, although your grandmother will certainly know a delicious dish or two. Barley may not be as popular as other whole grains like oats, rice, or any of the new “kids on the block” like Quinoa or Buckwheat but it has a rich nutritional profile and is economical and very filling.

Barley provides a range of important vitamins and minerals such as fibre, selenium, B vitamins, copper, chromium, phosphorus, magnesium, niacin, and more. And when compared to many other grains, even other ancient whole-grains, barley is lower in fat and calories, but higher in dietary fibre and certain trace minerals. For example a one-cup serving of cooked barley has less calories, but more fibre, than an equal serving of quinoa, brown rice, amaranth, sorghum, millet or wild rice.

Apart from adding it to a soup to add thickness and texture where else can you use it? Well it works perfectly in a risotto style dish like the one below! Barley is cheaper and lighter than Italian risotto rice, you can add all the liquid at once and plus its really hard to overcook

Serves 4

1 tbsp organic butter (or coconut oil)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 small butternut squash (600-700g), peeled and diced into small chunks

2 garlic cloves, crushed

small glass of white wine OR verjuice OR 150ml apple juice with 1 tbsp lemon juice added

400g pearl barley

1.2l hot vegetable stock

1 tbsp cream cheese or vegan cream cheese

50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), grated

large handful parsley, chopped

Method

Heat the butter in a large shallow saucepan. Add the onion and squash, and cook very gently, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the squash is starting to soften, about 10 mins. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more. Splash in the white wine or alternative and boil down. Add the barley, give it a stir and pour in the stock.

Gently simmer for 45 mins, stirring occasionally, until all the stock has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Add a little extra stock during cooking if it evaporates too quickly. Turn off the heat and stir through the mascarpone, half the Parmesan and all the parsley, then season. Spoon into bowls and scatter with the remaining Parmesan and ENJOY!

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