Mixed Mushroom and Arugula Barley Risotto

© Sweetgoddess | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Sweetgoddess | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

It may be spring on the calendar but you can certainly still feel the winter chill.

It’s a perfect time for risotto but if you substitute barley for the traditional rice,   the nutritional ratings  soar.  Barley is chock full of much need fibre – especially blood cholesterol-lowering soluble fibre — along with a range of phytochemicals. This grain is also a prebiotic.

Assorted mushrooms also provide a range of health perks.   Button mushrooms have been linked to protection against breast cancer while shiitakes may benefit immune system function.  The arugula is packed  with a wide assortment of nutritional goodies: it’s a member of the cancer-fighting brassica family, offers different types of vitamin E and  contains carotenoids including those that protect vision.

Mixed Mushroom and Arugula Barley Risotto

Makes 4 servings

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4  cups sodium-reduced vegetable or chicken broth
12 ounces assorted mushrooms   (shiitake, button, oyster and portobello)
2/3 cup pearl barley
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped arugula
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring broth to boil in a small saucepan. Cover and reduce heat to low. (Keeping the broth warm speeds up the cooking time)

Heat oil in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add  mushrooms and  sauté for another 6 minutes. Add barley and stir for 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup  broth; simmer, stirring often, until broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup  at a time, allowing  for broth to be absorbed and stirring frequently. Cook until barley is tender but still firm to bite,  about 35 to 40  minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese and arugula. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

Nutrition information per serving
•    Calories:  251
•    Protein:  12 grams
•    Fat: 7  grams
•    Saturated fat:  2 grams
•    Carbohydrate:  34  grams
•    Dietary fibre:  7 grams
•    Sodium: 239 milligrams

Are you a risotto lover? What combinations do you favour? Please share in the comment section below.

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Categories: Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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2 Comments on “Mixed Mushroom and Arugula Barley Risotto”

  1. Roslyn
    March 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

    I love barley, but husband has celiac disease. I will make this with quinoa.. adjusting the time of course

  2. March 23, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    Thanks for the idea, Roslyn! I’m sure the quinoa will taste great!

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