Home Recipes Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto

Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto

by Tansy Boggon
Bowl with Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto topped with Parmesan Cheese

A creamy, high-fibre vegetarian risotto made with nutritious, nutty, chewy barley and sweet roasted pumpkin.

Barley is often reserved for soups and stews. However, it makes for a delicious risotto that not only provides you nourishment but supports the good bacteria in your gut. This is because barley is high in resistant starches.

A risotto that promotes gut health

Resistant starches are prebiotic fibres that pass through the small intestine undigested. However, they don’t go to waste—these starches provide nourishment for the good bacteria.

A by-product of the fermentation of resistant starches by the good bacteria is short-chain fatty acids, particularly butyrate, which is absorbed by the colon cells. In this way, resistant starches help enhance the health of the colon.

However, let’s not get too caught up in the end result of eating this risotto. We don’t only eat for nourishment but pleasure!

It’s time to dig in and enjoy it.

Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto

Course: Main Course
Author: Tansy Boggon


  • 600 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into bite-sized cubes (or leftover roast pumpkin)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup barley
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water with 1 teaspoon garlic salt or stock powder
  • ½ cup white wine or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 150 g baby spinach
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan


  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
  • Place pumpkin on a baking tray and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast until softened and slightly golden brown, anywhere between 20 - 40 minutes, depending on the type of pumpkin used and oven.
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan or rice cooker add 1 tablespoon of olive oil with onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened.
  • Then add the barley and stir through while adding the white wine. Cook until wine is almost completely absorbed.
  • Then add stock or water. Stir well and cover with a lid.
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until the liquid is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally. If at this point there is excess liquid, drain if necessary (it will depend on the heat or cooker used).
  • Then add the roasted pumpkin. Stir through for a few minutes.
  • Then add the Parmesan and baby spinach. Stir through until spinach is wilted.
  • Enjoy!

Serve topped with additional grated parmesan on its own. Or top with sun-dried tomato, grilled asparagus, chicken or tempeh strips, or a side salad.

If you’d like to cook more with barley, check out my recipes for Barley, Beetroot and Feta Salad and Minestrone Soup with Barley.

Note: Barley contains gluten. Thus, it is not suitable for those with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

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