cooking · Dinner

Barley and Vegetable Risotto

Until I started making risottos out of barley I had found few reason to love barley. Too often you only see it in the form of mushiness in soup. The risottos give it a bit of bite in the texture and yet still creamy. So I keep looking for new and tasty ways to make it!

For a side dish I took a pound of purple carrots I had picked up at the local farmers market this past weekend. Fair warning, they stain hands almost as bad as beets! But oh, they taste so good – though you will have to admit, they look almost like beets as well.

Barley and Vegetable Risotto


4 cups lower sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
16-ounce bag frozen stir fry vegetable blend
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pearled barley, checked and rinsed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat
to low and keep warm.
In a large deep pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the vegetables and thyme and cook, stirring
occasionally, until the vegetables are nearly done. Lower the heat to medium and add the barley and cook, stirring often, for 2
minutes. Add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the
stock 1/2 cup at a time and stirring until it is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done
when the barley is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, taking roughly about 35 minutes.

Stir in the cheese and butter, season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Serves 3.

Purple Carrots For Us!


1 lb purple carrots

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup orange juice

pinch ground cinnamon

pinch kosher salt


Wash, trim and peel the carrots, slice each carrot into 4 pieces lengthwise, then chop. Heat up the oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add in the carrots and cook for a minute or two, then lower the heat to low, cover tightly and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes till soft. Take off the lid, stir in the cinnamon, salt and orange juice. Cover loosely and let cook on low till thickened.

I let mine sit and cool a bit before serving, the sauce thickened up perfectly. I tasted for salt before serving – while I kept mine low sodium, you need a little to bring out the flavor of the carrots as well as keeping the orange juice from being too sweet.


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