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Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto

by Tansy Boggon

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 good bacteria in the gut 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 result of eating this risotto. We don’t only eat for nourishment but for pleasure!

It’s time to dig in and enjoy it.

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.

Roast Pumpkin and Barley Risotto

Course: Main Course
Author: Tansy Boggon


Roast Pumpkin

  • 600 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped into bite-sized cubes (or use leftover roast pumpkin ~ 3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup barley (195 g)
  • ½ cup white wine or 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or water with 1 teaspoon garlic salt or stock powder (880 g)
  • 150 g baby spinach
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan


Roast Pumpkin (if not using leftover roast pumpkin)

  • Preheat oven to 180oC.
  • Place pumpkin on a baking tray and toss with 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.


  • In a large pan or rice cooker add olive oil with onion and garlic. Cook until the onion is softened.
  • Then add 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 occassionally. 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.
  • Serve as is or sprinkeled with a little extra parmesan cheese or vegan parmesan cheese enjoy!

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