Delight in a satisfying bowl of textures and flavours with our Barley Risotto, featuring succulent barley paired with crispy mushrooms and spinach. This hearty dish promises a fulfilling dining experience.
Barley risotto with mushroom and spinach is an excellent alternative to the traditional arborio rice risotto. This hearty dish combines nutty barley, crunchy mushrooms, and vibrant spinach for a comforting and flavorful experience. It could be served as a side dish and a full vegetarian main!
Barley instead of Arborio?
Those two grains are similar in texture, although the barley is higher in fibre and lower in calories. In other words, eating your risotto with barley instead of rice is a bit healthier. The cooking process is precisely the same as with regular risotto. The excellent news is that barley is used in many diets and has many health benefits (Check here if you want to learn more).
As a kid, I suppose I wasn’t a fan of mushrooms… mainly its texture. I wasn’t eating them simply because I wouldn’t say I liked their chewy and rubbery texture. Later in college, I went to a restaurant where they would fry half-dehydrated giant portobello mushrooms with salt and garlic, and my mushroom skepticism magically disappeared! It tasted way better, and the chewy texture was gone.
So, until today, I have consistently reproduced this texture when I use mushrooms. As a result, I often make mushrooms in the oven or Air fryer with just a little oil, salt, and thyme. This way, its water evaporates uniformly, giving it a bolder flavour and much firmer texture. Plus, it needs way less oil to cook them this way.
For this Barley Risotto recipe, I highly suggest cooking the mushrooms apart in an oven tray; you have to add the mushrooms when the risotto is ready in step 8. They both take about 20 minutes to cook, so it’s easy to synchronize. They taste sharper and feel better than those chewy and filled broth versions.
You could use any mushrooms you prefer for this recipe. Make sure to clean them with a damp towel if they are sandy or cut the stem if they’re shiitakes. Also, you could switch the vegetarian broth to a chicken broth.
Other Similar Recipes
Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Spinach
- 800 ml vegetable broth
- 300 g spinach
- 250 g pearled barley
- 100 ml white wine
- 30 g parmesan (grated)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
Mushrooms (Air Fryer or Baked)
- 20 button mushrooms (sliced)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 branch thyme
- salt and pepper
- Start by making the mushrooms. Mix all the mushroom ingredients in a bowl, add to a baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C (350F°) or 10 minutes in the Air fryer.
- In a skillet or big pan, soften the onion on medium-high heat in olive oil for 10 minutes (add a little salt, which helps to release the juice from the onion).
- When translucent, add the garlic and the barley, and let it fry in oil for a few minutes while mixing.
- When the barley is lightly toasted, add the wine and cook for a minute or two (while still moving with a spatula).
- Then add some of the warm broth to cover the barley, mix until no more broth and repeat.
- Cook for about 15 minutes; add the spinach in the last 2 minutes.
- Cook until al dente, adding little broth, when it gets too dry, and mixing well
- Stop the fire, add the crunchy mushrooms, parmesan, salt and pepper, mix and serve.