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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baked Barley Risotto with Vegetables - vegan


It is summer. It may have been unofficially so since Memorial Day, or maybe you don't think it will be until the solstice, but, for me, it's summer now. Over the weekend, temperatures rose, and we've had several days with beautiful, sunny, 85 degree weather. Mr Official Taster and I celebrated on Sunday with a nice drive and some veggie burgers at one of our favorite spots

Monday was my day off, and with an afternoon high of about 90 degrees, I did not want to stand by a stove. A baked dinner seemed like a better choice. The heat stays (mostly) contained in the oven, right? As part of my effort to diversify, and since I can't actually invent a new grain, I thought I'd try swapping out my usual arborio rice and make risotto a little more exciting. I really like the barley choice. It's got a slight crunch and more depth of flavor than the rice. It's also more filling, and according to the internet, healthier. And the internet is always right. Right?

It seemed only logical to take advantage of the oven's heat to make a batch or two of cookies. It worked out pretty well, if I do say so myself. 


Baked Barley Risotto with Vegetables - vegan
I halved this recipe and used a 7x10-inch baking pan, baked at the same temperature and for the same time, and it turned out beautifully. This is a recipe that practically begs for variations. Try red onion, caramelized onions, various spices, seasonal vegetables. Depending on your vegetables of choice, you may want to add them halfway through the baking rather than at the beginning. I do that for asparagus, but last night's tomatoes and peppers went in with everything else.  

1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
lemon zest, chili powder, italian spices, black pepper, etc to taste
1 C grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
2 C pearled barley
32 ounces vegetable broth
1/2 C water
salt to taste
seasonal vegetables
more cheese, lemon zest, parsley, green onions as garnish

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent - about 5 minutes. Turn off heat, add lemon zest, thyme leaves, chili flakes, black pepper, and/or anything else your heart desired. Toss together and set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together uncooked barley, cheese if using, and the onion mixture. Spread evenly in your prepared baking pan. Add vegetables, vegetable stock, and water and stir gently to ensure even cooking.

Place in the oven and allow to cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Stir briefly, and cook for another 20-30 minutes. Barley is done when liquid is absorbed, so adjust time as needed.

When completely cooked, remove pan from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes. If you'd like, add salt to taste and top with lemon zest, fresh thyme, black pepper, parsley and/or cheese.

To reheat leftovers, I put a couple teaspoons of water in a small saucepan, added risotto, and cooked on medium until heated through. Stir frequently.

17 comments:

  1. I think using barley to make risotto is one of the best tricks in the book! I haven't tried a baked version yet, though--very interesting. Thanks for the great idea!

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    1. Eileen, it really is! I only wish I had figured it out earlier. I liked the baked version mainly because of how little work it entails. What are your favorite additions?

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  2. Do you think this would work with roasted turnips and sweet potatoes? I have some that NEED to be used soon, and this sounds really good!

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    1. I don't see why not! If they're already roasted, I might wait to add them until halfway through so they don't turn into mush. What do you think? let us know how it works out!

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  3. This sounds really great! I like the idea of using pearl barley and not having to stand watch over the risotto for ages.

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    1. thanks! I was pretty tasty both as dinner and as leftovers for lunch the next day. I was really happy with the barley substitution, but you can do the same thing with regular risotto: http://www.katesshortandsweets.com/2012/03/baked-lemon-risotto-vegan-gluten-free.html

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  4. Fabulous! I have everything I need to make this. Looks delicious :)

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  5. Thanks for the fantastic recipe!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

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  6. This risotto looks so fresh and delicious! I love pearl barley and it's always good with seasonal veggies :)

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    1. thanks! It was my first foray into the pearl barley word, and I'm pretty excited about it :)

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  7. I love making risotto with barley, it's such a great healthy option. Once I did a barley risotto where I swapped beer in for the traditional white wine, and the malty flavour of the beer went tremendously with the nuttiness of the barley. I've never tried a baked risotto, though, so I'll have to give this a try. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. beer?! that sounds *excellent* Much more fun than wine, which you can use as part of the liquid here. Brilliant!

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  8. I so wanna try this! How closely does this resemble classic risotto in taste and texture?

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    1. It's similar, but not the same. Barley risotto has a little bit of crunch and a slightly nutty taste, but it's still an overall creamy comfort food. I might like it better than classic risotto, actually, because it's a little more interesting taste-wise and definitely more filling. I hope you try it!

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    2. Oh I intend to 100%! I don't expect it to be exactly like risotto but
      I am so restricted that I am sure it will be satisfying and yummy! Thanks :)

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