A great risotto is one of my favorite comfort foods, closely followed by a crispy, melting center Arancini ball.  This version bucks tradition, using barley instead of arborio rice, for a novel twist on the classic.

Deliciously creamy and accidentally vegan, this easy peasy, 10 ingredient barley risotto comes together in 30 minutes using my Instant Pot, which cuts down on washing up and frees me from mundane pot-stirring duties. Simply start by sauteing your ingredients, then set the pot to pressure cook for a few minutes and do the rest of the work.

If you do not have an Instant pot, simply scroll down for the stovetop method. 

Quick Barley Risotto

With mushrooms, herbs and rocket pesto

25 Minutes

Serves 2

1 Onion, chopped

1 clove garlic

1 Cup Pearl Barley

1/2 glass wine (optional)

3 Cups Veg Stock

1/4 cup cashew cream/coconut cream

2 Tbsp pesto of choice

5 large mushrooms

Chopped parsley, sage or oregano for garnish

Crispy onions

Salt pepper and oil as needed

*If not following a dairy-free or vegan diet, you can add in 1/4 cup of parmesan once the risotto has finished pressure cooking.


Instant Pot Method:

For the risotto, your mushrooms can be roasted whole, for 15 minutes at 200C drizzled with oil, salt and pepper or thinly sliced and cooked until soft with your onions below.

Add a little oil to the metal insert of the Instant Pot and press the saute function (If you have the duo plus, adjust the saute intensity to “normal”). Add the chopped onion and garlic, and saute until the onions are soft. You will also add your sliced mushrooms in,  at this point, if not roasting them,
Add in the barley, stirring it to coat it with the oil.  Then add the white wine, and stir the barley until the wine has evaporated. Finally, add the stock and stir it through the barley.
Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and set it to cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Once the timer beeps, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, before releasing the remaining pressure and safely removing the lid.
Turn the Instant Pot back to Saute, on “more” (the highest heat setting for sauteing), then add the coconut cream, or cashew cream, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon the barley risotto into bowls, then garnish with your rocket, crispy onions and mushrooms.

Serve warm
Stovetop Method
For the risotto, your mushrooms can be roasted whole, for 15 minutes at 200C drizzled with oil, salt, and pepper or thinly sliced and cooked until soft with your onions below. 
In a large pot, heat a drizzle of olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until softened, (about 5 minutes). If you are adding your mushrooms in with the onions add them here. 
Add the barley to the pot, and stirring, for 1 minute to toast the grains. Add the wine and cook until absorbed about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of the hot vegetable mixture to the barley and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time and stirring frequently, until the barley is al dente, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
To finish garnish with fresh herbs, your roasted mushrooms (if using the roasting method), pesto, and crispy onions.
Serve immediately