This incredible meal not only tastes delicious but the health benefits are amazing. Barley contains lignans which fight cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more.
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How to make Barley Risotto: Risotto made with barley instead of Arborio rice, topped with mushrooms and spinach. Barley risotto is just as creamy as traditional but better for you!
16 ounces cremini baby bella mushrooms
6 ounces portabella mushroom caps
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 tablespoons olive oil divided
5 cloves garlic minced, divided
16 ounces fresh spinach
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
3/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large fennel bulb stem and outer leaves removed, cored, and diced
1/2 large yellow onion diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup pearl barley*
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry white wine
Brush off the mushrooms with a barely damp paper towel. Cut the creminis into thick slices. Remove the stems from the portobello caps, cut the caps into thick slices and halve. In a medium pot, heat the stock to just below a simmer.
In a wide, deep pot such as a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Add the mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 clove minced garlic and sauté until the mushrooms are browned, soft, and give up their liquid. With a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl and set aside, then pour the mushroom’s leftover liquid into the saucepan along with the chicken stock.
Reduce heat to low and add another 1 tablespoon olive oil to the Dutch oven. Wait a minute to ensure the temperature of the pot decreases (this will prevent the garlic from burning). Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and sauté just until fragrant, about 15 seconds, watching carefully so that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the spinach, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, stirring to combine. Cover the pot and let steam for 2 minutes, then uncover, increase the heat to high, and stir for another minute, just until the spinach wilts. With a slotted spoon, transfer the spinach to a bowl and set aside. Discard any excess liquid that has cooked out of the spinach.
Reduce heat to medium. Add butter and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat until the butter melts. Add the sliced fennel and chopped onion and cook stirring often, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the barley and stir to coat with the butter and olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring often, then add the dried thyme, bay leaf, remaining garlic clove, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook 1 additional minute. Add the wine. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Add 2 full ladles of the stock to the barley. Stir and simmer over medium heat until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Constant stirring isn’t necessary, but do watch the pot and stir often. Continue adding the stock, 2 ladlefuls at a time, until it is all absorbed and the barley is creamy, but maintains a bit of chew, 25 to 30 minutes total.
To serve: Ladle the barley into bowls, then top with spinach and mushrooms. Enjoy immediately.
*Pearl barley is barley with the hull removed and is widely available in most grocery stores.
**Alternative method to save time (but increase dishes): Saute the mushrooms, then the garlic in a second pot, while the barley is cooking in the first. This multitasking will result in a faster dinner, but one extra dish to wash.
SERVING: 1(of 4)CALORIES: 526kcalCARBOHYDRATES: 82gPROTEIN: 19gFAT: 16gSATURATED FAT: 4gPOLYUNSATURATED FAT: 2gMONOUNSATURATED FAT: 9gTRANS FAT: 1gCHOLESTEROL: 8mgPOTASSIUM: 2128mgFIBER: 21gSUGAR: 5gVITAMIN A: 20066IUVITAMIN C: 60mgCALCIUM: 243mgIRON: 8mg