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Risotto is a delicious Italian dish that consists of Arborio rice (along with any number of vegetables) that’s been cooked in stock or broth until it’s creamy and puffed up. It’s a labor of love, as it takes relatively constant attention and stirring over the stovetop, but we guarantee it’s worth it!

This dish is perfect on those chilly days when you just want to sit down to something warming and homemade that doesn’t take too much thought or effort, but still tastes amazing. With this recipe we decided to try making our risotto with barley instead of Arborio rice, and we were thrilled with the results! Regardless of whether or not you already have the right rice in your pantry, try this barley risotto and see how you feel; we love it and we think you will too!

Mushroom Barley Risotto

Serves 4


  • 1 cup barley
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 cups collard greens
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced (chestnut, cremini, etc.), rinsed and scrubbed of dirt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-5 whole sage leaves
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, de-stemmed, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Bring vegetable stock up to a boil in a medium saucepan, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. In a medium pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and saute mushrooms until softened and golden. 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Heat remaining olive oil and cook onion until softened and translucent, 8-10 minutes. During the last 2 minutes, add garlic.
  4. Add butter to the same pan and then pour in barley, sage, bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and cook until barley is toasted, 1-2 minutes, then add in white wine.
  5. Stir frequently until most of white wine has been absorbed, then add in 1 cup of boiled vegetable stock.
  6. Continue stirring and add in another 1/2 cup vegetable stock once you can make a track in the barley with your wooden spoon. Repeat, adding remaining vegetable stock in stages.
  7. With the last addition of vegetable stock, add in your collard greens and mushrooms (with juices). Stir until most of the liquid is absorbed, but mixture is still creamy.
  8. Taste to check and see if barley is al dente. There should be a little bite to the grain, without it being crunchy. Continue adding stock if barley isn’t cooked enough.
  9. Stir in Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Recipe adapted from Mark Bittman

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