Creamy Barley Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Crispy Kale

Creamy Barley Risotto with Roasted Mushrooms and Crispy Kale

A creamy risotto made with pearl barley instead of rice.  Topped with hearty roasted mushrooms and crispy, garlicky kale, this dish makes a delicious and comforting vegetarian winter supper.


For the RIsotto:

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

2 cups water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 cup pearl barley

½ cup dry white wine

¾ cup shredded parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon unsalted buter

Chopped fresh parsley or chives for serving

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


For the Roasted Mushrooms and Crispy Kale:

2 10-ounce packages cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

4 cups chopped curly kale, stems removed

1 garlic clove, minced

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss kale with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic.  Massage the oil into the kale with your hands until it darkens in color.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Toss mushrooms with remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (for easy clean up).  Season with salt and pepper. Transfer pan to oven and roast mushrooms for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.   

  3. Meanwhile, Combine broth and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a simmer,  Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

  4. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and thyme and cook for one more minute. Add barley and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add wine, stirring constantly until liquid is fully absorbed.  Add two ladles of the broth/water mixture and reduce heat to medium low.  Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until liquid is fully absorbed. Continue adding the broth/water mixture, one ladleful at a time, stirring frequently and allowing the liquid to fully absorb into the barley mixture before adding more liquid to the pan.  Continue the process until the barley mixture is tender and creamy, about 45 minutes total.  You may not need to use all of the broth/water mixture.  Stir in butter and cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. Once the mushrooms have roasted for 30 minutes, remove pan from the oven, push mushrooms to one side and add the kale to the pan.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 and roast vegetables for an additional 10 minutes or until kale is tender and beginning to look crisp around the edges.

  7. Serve risotto topped with with the roasted mushrooms, kale and a sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley.

Keywords: barley, pearl barley, risotto, vegetarian, mushrooms, kale