Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash
It was one of those dinners where I wanted something simple, fancy, very healthy - yet didn't want to really sit and slog in the kitchen. Fancy meal with not so much effort?? Umm... My brain cells started thinking. Then I remembered that I had some cooked barley from the previous night which I had refrigerated for a bread and was thinking if I could do something with it. I recalled one recipe from a DETOX book which I had noted down and I thought this was a good time to make that.
Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash
My idea of planning my day to day meal is that it has all the elements of Vegetarian Pyramid - its not possible every day to be perfect, but at least I try. Though getting enough vegetables every day for a vegetarian is not a big deal, it is of course to make sure that other nutrients like protein, vitamins etc are consumed enough too. Like I try to include greens as much as possible in a week, nuts, enough protein and other minerals etc. Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash This Barley Risotto helps to meet that need. I use wholegrain for the fiber, vegetables (squash,carrots,onions etc), Protein (tofu) and nuts (walnuts). I had this Risotto with Spinach Raita which not only has greens but also calcium and protein from Yogurt. It was filling, not so much work and was fancy enough to serve to guests too.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 2 people
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley ( cook it in pressure cooker for a faster cooking time )
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced (or as per taste)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 cup, cubed tofu (use extra firm - or the hard tofu) [ or mushrooms if you want to ]
  • 1 tbsp toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tsp or so fresh sage, chopped
  • few cilantro/parsley for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
1. Place the butternut squash on a baking pan, toss it with 1 tsp. Olive oil and sage. Season with pepper.
2. Roast it in a preheated 400F oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Make sure to stir it in the middle so that it cooks evenly.
3. Meanwhile in a skillet, add 1/4 tsp of oil ( optional. I skipped it). Sweat the onions with little salt, add garlic. Once slightly soft add carrots and tofu until they come together.
4. Next add the cooked Barley and squash - toss it until well combined. Taste and add more seasoning (salt or pepper), if needed.
5. Garnish with lots of herbs and serve with any side dish of your choice or on its own.
Low in fat and immense in nutrition, not to mention hearty. Sprinkle some nuts on top before serving Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

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By Happy Hump-asana Day: Surya Namaskar A / Sun Salutation A « Vogue Yogini on Mar 9, 2011

[...] now, keep it real and make this barley dish [deeelish! even the big guy approved, sans tofu]. Later, [...]

By Angela on Mar 31, 2010

very enjoyable. i can even get my husband to eat healthily with food like this. Thanks :mrgreen:

By Elle on Sep 23, 2009

This looks great! Thanks for the post! Can't wait to try it! :)

By Bryan on Sep 23, 2009

This looks good, really colorful. However, I wouldn't call it a risotto at all.

By tracieMoo on Sep 17, 2009

wow.. they look so colourful.. and healthy!

By Indhu on Sep 16, 2009

love your healthy lunch/dinner ideas... even your salads are filling unlike the leafy greens that I see .. I can never be satisifed with greens... need something filling like beans/tofu... the risotto looks delicious... I should buy barley :)
thanks Indhu - I dont like leafy salads either. With due respect to others and with no malice intended, I actually feel like a goat when I am such salads! Hats off to those who can actually make a meal out of it! I need something more hearty! Leafy salads make me depressed! ;)

By CurryLeaf on Sep 16, 2009

How do you get such ideas.Truly healthy.Never ever thght of making a barley risotto.BTW,I have made your tofu bhurji recipe and it turned out excellent.I could not stop eating it.I will be posting it by today or tom and will also be sending it for Vegan World: Indian event.Hope its ok. Next in my list is the brown rice flour cookies where I may use the normal rice flour.Hope mine comes out in edible condition
I am glad you liked them Sweatha :) Its our fav. too. You can of course send them dear. As for the cookies - its all trial and error. Try it out - will wait for your version and probably make them from you :)

By Siri on Sep 15, 2009

It 'sounds' so yum yum Dhivs.. I meant that in a literal sense as I can't see your pics here, from my office :(. I will get to this once I reach home! Hope you are doing good buddy. As I said to you, I moved to a new house and I am still adjusting to it. I dropping down dead once I reach home! Loads of hugs, Siri

By peanutts on Sep 14, 2009

I Have tried to cook pearl barley but some how it always ends up either too soft or slightly undone, and i dont have a pressure cooker. So how will I know it its cooked well?
Your best bet would be to pre-soak barley overnight. For 1 cup of Barley use about 2-1/2 to 3 cups of water (or stock). Bring the water to a boil and then add the barley to it. Stir for a minute - then close with a lid and lower the heat to a low-med. If you have soaked your barley, then it takes about 15 minutes to cook - if not , it takes about 30-40 minutes on a stove top. You know its done, when it has a chewy texture. ( or else mid way you can check by putting one in your mouth and testing it to your preference in texture. Hope this helps :)

By Ambika on Sep 14, 2009

hey dhivya, lovely risotto..I have never used barley before, hope to try your recipe very soon..

By Madhuram on Sep 14, 2009

Lovely dish Dhivi. I make a barley venpongal and Bee's barley thayichadam quite often. Now this is a good idea. I think I will be using something else instead of butternut squash. Somehow I don't like this squash and pumpkin in savory dishes. I have to go through all your posts in leisure.

By Kiran on Sep 14, 2009

What a great recipe, I have yet to try making risotto and am glad for this idea. I love the way you mentioned you try and incorporate all the food groups, Asian meals tend to have the correct balance sometimes. But we do have to be inventive sometimes and I like your idea. I will be trying this for sure, thanks for the inspiration. Did you soak the barley over night or just cook it straight?
I usually pre-soak when I get the time since it cuts down my cooking time considerably. But pressure cooking works v well in case I have forgotten to pre soak it and cook it straight. It takes about the same time.:)

By Pavani on Sep 14, 2009

I saw a salad recipe in Veg. Times with wild rice, kidney beans & squash this morning and here you are making a similar recipe but with much better ingredients. Looks delicious.

By Priya on Sep 14, 2009

Never every thought of this sort of delicious dishes...simply superb and fantastic dish!