Butternut Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds


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Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 18 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 247 per serving
Percent from Fat: 27%
Cusine: Italian, Vegetarian
Course: Dinner
Diet: mediterranean
Food as MedicineSM Ingredient: Squash

Food as MedicineSM Tip

The folate in butternut squash can help break down homocysterine, an amino acid that in large amounts can lead to increased fatty deposits in peripheral arteries, a higher risk of coronary artery disease, and stroke.

Culinary Taste Tip

Toasting the barley in a dry sauté pan brings out a hearty, toasty flavor, while also helping the grain cook faster.

Culinary Technique Tip

Cook the risotto in a flavorful liquid, such as the green tea in this recipe. The risotto will absorb its flavors and its anti-inflammatory catechins.


3 green tea teabags, such as Tazo brand
1 cup quick-cooking pearled barley, such as Mother's brand
3 cups ½-inch diced butternut squash (12 ounces)
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder, or other spicy Indian curry powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup crumbled goat cheese
¼ cup sliced unblanched almonds, toasted


Bring 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat (or in a 1-quart Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave oven). Add tea bags; turn off heat and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags.

Meanwhile, toast barley in a dry sauté pan or deep skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add squash, 1 cup of the tea, curry and salt. Simmer, stirring frequently, until tea is absorbed, 3 to 4 minutes. Add additional tea by ½ cupfuls, simmering until tea is absorbed before adding additional liquid. This should take 12 to 14 minutes. When barley and squash are tender and all tea has been incorporated, remove from heat. (Barley should be on the wet side to make a creamy sauce; if it is dry, stir in a little hot water.) Stir in goat cheese until melted and creamy. Transfer to serving plates; top with almonds.


Turmeric may replace the curry powder, and feta cheese may replace the goat cheese (but it will not melt completely.)

Nutritional Analysis

Total fat (g): 8; Fat calories (kc): 70; Cholesterol (mg): 11; Trans fatty acids (g): 0; Saturated fat (g): 3.2; Polyunsaturated fat (g): 0.9; Monounsaturated fat (g): 2.9; Fiber (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 39; Sugar (g): 2.3; Protein (g): 9; Sodium (mg): 513; Calcium (mg) 100.

Comments on Butternut Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds

From: Sleek

Pardon, but the suggestion to buy pre cut-up chunks of squash in bags just rubs me the wrong way if you are encouraging people to get good nutrition.
Isn't it true you are losing all kinds of nutrients by buying stuff that's been cut up and exposed to light and air?
Thanks for your attention

From: judithompson

From Judi,

I am wondering where the 11 trans fatty acids come from in this recipe, plus the carbohydrates - I thought would be higher than 7. I also agree with Sleek, cutting your own pumpkin doesn't take much effort - fresh is best.

From: mhellwig

Just to let you know that you have misread the nutritional info-the nutritional number comes after the word not before it. This recipe has no trans fatty acids and 39 g of carbs. Easy mistake to make!

From: sbentson

Can one use "non-quick" cooking barley?


From: MNgardener

I liked the texture of the barley, but found this dish to be very bland (odd, since so many recipes in this collection are heavily spiced!). Should it be 2 TABLESPOONS of curry? Traditional risotto uses chicken broth and wine and parmesan, which I will try next time. I would also add, do not stir it too much, the squash should maintain its integrity for textural contrast- otherwise you have an unappealing mush!

From: muggle

I was skeptical but...I used more like 3 Tablespoons of really good curry powder and, because I had no tea bags, Trader Joe's unsweetened Green tea with pomegranate and blueberry in a bottle. And I used feta instead of goat cheese. I thought it was OUTSTANDING! Absolutely delicious!

From: joyhawkinson

If you're eating gluten-free and cannot have barley, whirl brown rice in a food processor quickly, just to break up the grains. Then toast in the oven and proceed just as with the barley. It's delicious with the increased amount of curry. Also makes a nice substitute for couscous.

From: skeddings

I agree with the bland comment and came on to look at comments to see if there was as solution. I love the textures of this dish and the ease of preparation. Next time I will probably double the goat cheese to increase the flavor. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks so much for this website and these recipes!!

From: Treffie

Some of us would rather buy the precut stuff!! It is better in the long run to eat healthy foods like this precut veggies or not!

From: humphrey

Do you have any recipe that is good for the heart? I have a heart disease and I'm looking for a delicious food that is good for me. If you have some please share it with me. I like to write essays about recipe.
Don't forget to share your other stuff to us...

From: lucedanby

I love cooking and with this nutritious recipes, our health will not be compromise. I tried Butternut Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds to cook at home and my family loves it. Not only my family but also my friends. They ask me if where did I get the recipe and I give the url of your website.

From: energystar56

I realize that spices like Turmeric have health benefits but I would really like to see some recipes that don't have Curry or Indian spices.
It is the one type of food I don't really like and every email seems to have an Indian spiced recipe.
Some variety please.

From: merrydancer56

I haven't tried this yet, but i appreciate every comment. I am so far from eating healthily i need every time saving device there is. if you have a family history of alzheimers go curry go.

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