Barley and Butternut Risotto

September 13, 2014

Hello there! Well, I have been on a little break, haven’t I? Last month I was working with Redition Music to present our first party ‘Southern Sunsets’ down in Unawatuna. It was a wonderful party and a great time was had by all, so all the effort put in, was worth every moment!

With one event finished, another one is in the pipeline! This one I’m helping out with, is Colombo’s first ‘proper’ flea market, arranged by the Sustainability Hub, we are striving to promote; reduce – reuse – recycle, and at the same time everyone can make some rupee with there unwanted items and, pick up some bargains! One persons trash is another’s treasure! If you are interested in having a stall at the market or are looking forward to grabbing a bargain, please head over to the FB event page to find out where / when / how and bookmark the event in your diary!

Now, onto the main event! So yes, it’s another squash recipe – you know I eat them every day don’t you?! Maybe it’s the beautiful orange colour I love so much, and the delicious taste of course…

Barley and Butternut Risotto for two.


  • Ingredients:
  • 350g butternut squash
  • 150g onion
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon and salt
  • A couple of thyme stalks if you have
  • 2tbsp coconut oil
  • 80g Barley
  • 300ml stock
  • 35g pumpkin seeds (or can use chopped cashew nuts if you live in Sri Lanka)
  • 100g leeks
  • 50g mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped herbs – a selection of, or one of, thyme, marjoram or oregano.
  • 80g carrot
  • 3 tbsp cream
  • Some more coconut oil, nob of butter, salt and pepper.


Tray for baking, saucepan, frying pan, sieve and grater.

Now normally I would prepare all the ingredients first and then start cooking, but with this recipe, it’s best to get the butternut roasting and the barley cooking and then prepare the other vegetables.

Turn on the oven to 180c / 350f / gas mark 4. Start by chopping up the butternut, if you get smaller butternuts you can slice them in half and cut them in two so they are about the size of your palm. If where you live, you get big butternuts, then chop them into large chunks. As I get my butternuts from the lovely Saaraketha they are organic and I don’t need to peel them!

Then peel and chop your onions into big chunks, place in a baking tray with the butternut and sprinkle with cinnamon powder, salt, 2 tbsp of coconut oil and some thyme stalks if you have (can do without but it is nice to add). Place in the oven and roast for 40-50 minutes (depending on your oven) it takes 50 minutes in my gas oven and I cover the tray with foil otherwise the gas seems to dry the vegetables out too much.

Next take the barley and rinse in the sieve for a few minutes, place in the saucepan with 300ml of stock (it really is best to use stock for this as barley doesn’t have much taste) Bring to the boil then cover and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

Whilst the barley and butternut are cooking, start preparing the other vegetables. Chop the 100g leeks into chunks, quarter the 50g mushrooms, crush and chop the 3 garlic cloves, grate the 80g carrots and chop the fresh herbs – I have a lovely herb garden I get my herbs from, you can use dried if you can’t get any fresh – use about half the quantity and check the taste.

Heat up a frying pan and toast either the 35g of pumpkin seeds or chopped cashew nuts.

Once your barley is cooked, it should look a little like this:


There should be a little stock left, that is fine, turn off the heat and leave it in the pan whilst you start cooking the vegetables. (Hopefully by the time the barley is cooked, there should be about 10 minutes left for your butternut and onions)

Add a tbsp of coconut oil to the frying pan and add your leeks, fry for 3 minutes, then add a nob of butter, some salt and pepper, and the mushrooms and garlic with 2 tbsp of fresh chopped herbs, fry over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the grated carrots, cook for 3 minutes (check the butternuts and onions and get them out of the oven if ready) then add the cooked barley and 3 tbsp of cream. Check the seasoning, add a little more salt, pepper and herbs if required, heat through for about 1 minute.

Get your bowls or plates out and serve up the risotto. Place the roasted butternuts and onions on top (discarding the herb stalks) and then sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin or cashew nuts.

Serve and enjoy!


For an *extra* treat, you can also add 3 slices of pan fried haloumi to each plate, if you haven’t tried pan fried haloumi yet, it is to die for! But with or without this Barley and Butternut risotto is delicious!

I hope you enjoy, take care and see you soon! I am on holiday for a couple of weeks but will be back with tales of my adventures as soon as I get back. I am going to Yarndale and can not wait for to be surrounded in yarn again, I do miss having a local yarn shop so this will be a great treat!

Rebecca x


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