I really enjoy risotto-style dishes but I'm not a huge fan of rice, so I enjoy seeing recipes that use other grains. This recipe uses pearl barley, which gives the same texture as a rice risotto but is a bit healthier. The barley absorbs the flavors of the vegetable broth, onions and mushrooms quite well. The leftovers are a great base for a new meal, too. I combined the leftovers with a thick marinara sauce and roasted red peppers, letting the mix simmer for a few minutes to create a tomato-based risotto dish. You can get creative with remaking the risotto for meals later in the week for quick dinners.
This recipe is adapted from Food and Drink.
barley risotto

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 60 minutes 

Total time: 75 minutes 

Yield: 6-8 servings

Barley Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms


  • 1 14-gram package dried porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup crumbled fresh soft cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pinch each of fine sea salt and black pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. In small bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms with 1 cup hot water and set aside for 5 minutes. Then remove the mushrooms, and place the soaking liquid in a soup pot along with the vegetable stock. Heat it over medium heat until it is steaming. Chop the mushrooms into a fine dice.
    barley risotto
  2. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion, porcini and pepper. Cook until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Then stir in the barley. Add the stock liquid to the barley mixture a little at a time, stirring often. Allow the barley to absorb the liquid before adding more. Continue to add it until the barley is tender but slightly chewy, about 20 minutes. You might not need all of the stock.
  3. Stir in the cheese and half of the chives, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle the risotto into bowls or a plate, garnish with the remaining chives, serve and enjoy!
barley risotto
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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Barley Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms
So savory and rich, this risotto is great for dinner on a cold night.