Winter Barley Risotto with Carmelized Onions and Roasted Mushrooms

Winter Barley RisottoI am always in search of a hearty, filling, warming meal in winter that isn’t chock full of over-the-top rich ingredients that leave me wanting to take a nap. And this Winter Barley Risotto fits the bill beautifully.
Packed with chewy, nutty barley instead of white rice or pasta, this high fiber, low glycemic load supergrain helps keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable for hours. And if you haven’t yet been seduced by mushrooms-their rich, meaty flavor, their stellar nutrition credentials, or their supreme versatility in the kitchen-that’s about to change.


Winter Barley Risotto


1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped into 1/2 in dice
1/2 cup (about 1/2 oz) dried shiitake mushrooms
2 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh)
1 tbsp freshly chopped sage (or 2 tsp dried)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup diced celery
2 medium carrots, diced
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken)
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 pound sliced white mushrooms
3 tbsp best quality butter


  1. In a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, warm the olive oil over low heat. Add onions, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, raise the heat slightly, and cook an additional 10 minutes, stirring, until onions are nicely browned.
  2. Meanwhile, place dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Bring 1 cup of water to boil. and pour over mushrooms. Set aside.
  3. When onions are browned, add tomato paste, rosemary, sage, and stir into onions for 1 minute. Add wine and cook another minute, scraping up any yummy browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add celery, carrots, barley, the broth, and the reserved soaking mushrooms and all the liquid.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, covered, until barley and vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. (Note: You can stop here and chill until ready to use).
  5. To serve: melt butter in large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Place mushrooms in a single layer over pan and don’t stir! Let them brown nicely that way (shaking pan every so often) for 2-3 minutes. Flip, and cook another 2 minutes.
  6. Ladle about 1.5 cups barley risotto into serving bowl and top with a handful of roasted mushrooms.


Serves: about 6