The Foodie Physician: Dining with the Doc: Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

Dining with the Doc: Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

If you're looking for a hearty, nutritious, one-pot meal that's perfect for fall, then try my Butternut Squash Barley Risotto.  This recipe was just published (along with two of my other recipes) in the November 2012 issue of EveryDay with Rachel Ray magazine as part of the Express-Lane Suppers story.

Although traditional risotto is made with rice, my version is made with barley, a whole grain.  The barley is cooked in the style of risotto, which means that liquid is added in increments and stirred often.  This cooking technique allows the starches in the grain to release slowly and gives the dish a creamy texture.  Barley comes in a few different varieties including hulled, pot/Scotch and pearl barley.  My recipe uses pearl barley- a type of barley that is hulled (the inedible outer layer is removed) and polished.  Barley has a chewier texture than traditional risotto rice and a nice nutty flavor that works well with the sweet butternut squash and earthy thyme in this dish.

Pearl barley

Butternut squash, with its lovely orange-colored flesh and sweet taste is one of my favorite fall vegetables.  And it's great for you!  It's a rich source of fiber which besides promoting good GI health also helps lower blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar. Butternut squash is high in several nutrients such as Vitamins A, B-complex and C as well as potassium and magnesium to name a few. The rich orange color means it's packed in beta carotene which gets converted to Vitamin A in the body. One cup of cubed squash has 457% of the recommended daily allowance!  Vitamin A is important for vision, immune health, growth and reproduction.

To get the recipe for my Butternut Squash Barley Risotto, CLICK HERE.


  1. I love making risotto with barley, and actually my husband prefers the texture. I also like to do half arborio and half barley. This is the perfect fall dish, and can't wait to check out the feature in Rachel Ray! Congrats!

    1. Thanks, Katherine! I've never tried the half and half combo- great idea!

  2. I made the risotto tonight - delicious! Perfect recipe. I wouldn't change a thing!

    1. Thanks, Erin- I'm so happy to hear that you liked it! Hope you guys are doing well!

  3. I have never tried barley rissoto, always the rice.
    Perfect combination of barley and butternut squash. Sounds yummy!Definitely going to try it. Thanks.




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