I am a huge fan of risotto and have posted about the dish before (here, here and here). It is one of the best comfort food meals and with so many variations, you could eat this all year round and never get tired of it. For today’s recipe, I decided to switch up the traditional Aborio rice version and introduce a new grain to the mix. Barley is such a nutritious grain, that I think often times gets overlooked and over shadowed by brown rice, quinoa, or other grains. I’m definitely guilty of sticking to my usual grains and not branching out much. Fortunately, I spotted barley at the grocery store and picked up a bag. Using barley in this risotto gave it an entirely different taste and texture than what I was used to, but it was actually very good. The barley not only adds a hefty portion of protein and fiber, but it brings a nutty, chewier texture to the dish as well. While barley may be chewier than most grains, that doesn’t mean this risotto isn’t creamy. It’s a whole new risotto that will leave you wanting more. I look forward to experimenting more with this wonderful grain 🙂
1 cup dry barley
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup almond milk (can substitute milk of choice)
1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 Tbsp miso, mixed with 1/2 Tbsp water
1/4-1/2 tsp kosher salt, to taste
1. Rinse barley. In a saucepan, heat olive oil, basil and oregano. Add barley and stir to coat the barley in oil. Let heat over medium heat until it begins to sizzle.
2. Once the barley sizzles, add the minced garlic and heat for another minute. Add the tomatoes, milk, water, nutritional yeast, miso, and salt. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. *Cooking time may vary. The grain will continue to soften as it cooks, but it should still retain it’s crunchy, chewy texture. Cook to your liking.
3. Serve up the risotto with a side salad and a sprinkle of vegan cheese. Delish!
This dish was perfect for a cold winter night like last night (or every night recently!). A meal with a comfort food feel, but will still keep you on track with your healthy eating goals 🙂