Roasted Pumpkin And Pearl Barley Risotto

This beautiful barley risotto is a colorful vegetarian dish served by Sydney based Maria Laitinen.
By Maria Laitinen

This is one of my all time favourite dishes. I love the texture, the flavour and the colour – it’s a feast to all your senses! I love using pearl barley to make “risotto” as it has a lovely nutty and wholesome flavour and goes wonderfully with the earthy flavours of roasted pumpkin. Walnut oil is also my favourite and it gives this dish almost a luxurious finish. Topped with golden pine nuts and creamy feta cheese this is a perfect vegetarian meal on its own.

Roasted Pumpkin and Pearl Barley Risotto

  • 750g (5 cups) Jap pumpkin (kabocha)
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Himalayan pink rock salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
  • 280g (1,5 cups) pear barley
  • 1 litre (35 oz) organic vegetable stock
  • low-fat feta cheese, to serve
  • pine nuts, toasted, to serve
  • walnut oil, extra, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/356F.

2. Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Cut the pumpkin into small chunks and place on a roasting tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle on the herbs, seasoning and the oil and toss well to combine. Arrange the pumpkin evenly on the tray, then bake for 20 minutes or until fully tender. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

3. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until soften. Add the barley and stir through. Add the stock, bring to boil and let simmer stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.

4. In the mean while, place the pumpkin into a bowl of a food processor and blitz until smooth. Add one teaspoon of walnut oil and blitz again to mix. Once the barley has cooked through, add the pumpkin puree and let simmer for a further few minutes.

5. Serve the barley risotto with crumbled low-fat feta cheese, toasted pine nuts and a drizzling of walnut oil.

9 Comments
  1. This sounds amazing. i love the idea of using barley instead.
    just wondering though, did you soak the barley at all before you used it??

    1. Thank you all for your comments! This is one of my favourite recipes as well!

      Rachel: No, I didn’t soak the barley, but if you want to shorten the cooking time you can of course do that.

      Thanks!

      Maria
      x

  2. Trying this tonight…and using already pureed pumpkin I froze from last years harvest. Is it 5 cups pureed pumpkin- or 5 cups chunked pumpkin? Can’t wait!

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