Vegan Barley Risotto

So, last weekend I did nothing. Sadly, my definition of nothing means that I did not do homework. Thus, doing something in my life equals doing homework. After 12 years of schooling, this is what my life has come to. Sigh. Anyways, for the normal folk, I did do something! I went crazypoop grocery shopping. Again for the normal folk who don’t know what crazypoop grocery shopping is, it is the event where you hit multiple (I mean multiple) grocery stores in one day…just because. So, last weekend two of these stores were Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. First came Trader Joe’s where I picked up way too many things like chocolate almond milk (REALLY good…thick, sweet, almost like creamer!), Blueberry Cultured Coconut Milk (like liquidy yogurt…and too high in fat for my taste) and dried kimchi (Stay away…I warn you people. It’s rank). I picked up the aforemetioned along with some 10 minute barley. I feel like I always see barley mentioned places, but I didn;t know what to do with it….I still got it. Then I headed to Whole Foods where I thought I could find some inspiration. And I found inspiration in the form of nutritional yeast. Fat Free Vegan does a really good job explaining nutritional yeast here. With barley and nutritional yeast in tow (what was not in tow was the beautiful Vitamix they were demonstrating in-store. WAH), I headed home to test out a concoction. It morphed into a barley risotta and was seriuously delicious. Read on for the recipe!

Recipe: Makes 4 cups
2 cups 10 minute barley (regular barley would work, it would just take longer)
4 cups barley boiled water (explanation in the directions!)
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread
1/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp granulated garlic power
2 tsp dijon mustard

Boil barley for about 15-20 minutes until it is soft and has a bite to it. Boil it in more than 4 cups of water, because you will need 4 cups of water for the risotto “stock”
Drain barley after cooking, saving those 4 cups of water it was boiled in
In a saucepan with 2 tbsp Earth Balance, saute leeks and garlic on medium heat until tender, about 4 minutes
Melt in remaining 2 tbsp of Earth Balance
Then add spelt flour to make a roux
Whisk thoroughly until the flour taste is gone, about 2 minutes
Slowly add in four cups of water, whisking as you add
Once the water as thickened, add in nutritional yeast, basil, dijon, dried basil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
Stir until sauce combines and warms, about 3 minutes
Now, add in cooked barley
Cook on medium heat for about 5-7 minutes or until barley becomes soft and risotto-like
Turn off da heat, garnish with same basil, and enjoy!!!


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