I am continuing with my vegan experiment. It’s interesting how I used
to just not even take a second look at vegan recipes before. If a
vegetable dish didn’t include some cheese, I wouldn’t even notice it. I
am very glad that I decided to be a vegan for a few weeks, I found so
many wonderful dishes that will be part of my regular repertoire from
This is my first attempt at risotto and it’s not even a real risotto.
Hmm… if risotto is made from barley, wouldn’t it be called barlotto?
(I know, I know, the real name for “barlotto” is actually orzotto)
Anyway, it’s a tasty and healthy dish with brilliant colour that will
lift your mood.
recipe adapted from Food and Drink magazine (winter 2009)
- Pot barley or pearl barley – 1 cup
- Vegetable stock – 3 cups
- Water – 1 cup
- Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Onion, chopped – 1
- Garlic, minced – 2 cloves
- Salt, pepper – 1/4 teaspoon each
- Dry white wine – 1/2 cup
- Beets, peeled and diced – 2 cups (about 1 large or 2 medium)
- Lemon juice – 2 tablespoons
- Cilantro, finely chopped – 2 tablespoons
– Rinse barley in a sieve under running water, stirring to make sure
it is well rinsed, until water runs clear. Drain well and set aside.
– Heat stock and 1 cup of water in a saucepan or in microwave until steaming. Cover and keep hot.
– Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
– Add onion and saute for about 3 minutes or until starting to soften.
– Add garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes.
– Add barley and stir to coat well.
– De-glaze the pan with wine and cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated.
Stir in 2 cups of the stock mixture and the beets. Cover, reduce heat
to medium-low and boil gently, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes or
until beets are almost tender. Add a little more of the stock if
necessary to keep mixture moist.
– Uncover and simmer for about 20
minutes, stirring often and adding stock, a ladleful at a time as the
previous addition is absorbed, or until barley is tender with a slight
bite and beets are tender. You may need to add a little more hot water
if the mixture gets too thick before the barley is tender.
– Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.
– Season to taste with salt and pepper.
– Original version called for goats cheese sprinkled on top of cooked
risotto. Since I tried to make it a vegan version, I sprinkled some
chopped pecans on top. Their sweetness and earthiness matched the
“risotto” pretty well.