Sunday, August 25, 2013

Barley, butternut squash, mushroom and ginger risotto

Barley, mushroom, butternut squash and ginger risotto

You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold

(Sting - Ten Summoner's Tales - 1993)

Fields of Gold is one of my favourite songs and reminds me of late summer just before harvest.

At one time, barley was a very important part of people's diet but nowadays most of the crop is used for animal feed and to make beer and whisky.

This is a pity because barley has some very special properties and I hope to convince you to try it if you have never done so.

Barley is a high protein, high fibre whole grain with numerous health benefits.

It contains gluten, though not as much as wheat, so is unsuitable for those on a gluten-free diet.

Current scientific evidence indicates that barley, like other whole grains, plays an important role in lowering the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer; helps weight loss and improves gastrointestinal health - please click here to Tweet.

Please click on this link to read my article on barley and its health benefits.

When cooked, barley has a pleasant chewy texture and nutty flavour.

Traditionally, it is used in soups and stews but you can use it like any other grain such as rice. It is, for example, a good alternative to arborio rice for use in risottos and can be used in salads, stir-fries or to make porridge.

Here is a delicious and satisfying recipe for a barley risotto, with butternut squash, mushrooms and ginger.


Serves 3-4

1. How to make a nutritious stock

Please click here for more information on seaweeds and their health benefits.

2. How to make the risotto

*Please click here for information on the difference between pot barley and pearl barley.

Nutritional information

The key nutrients present in this barley risotto are shown below, both per portion (very generous at 444g) and per 100g, and as a percentage of the guideline daily nutrient intake, referred to as the Reference Nutrient Intake, or RNI.

You can see that even in relatively large quantity this risotto is low in calories and fat, whilst being high in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Nutrients per portion as a percentage of the guideline daily intake (RNI)

Nutrients per portion and per 100g as percentage of guideline daily intake (Reference Nutrient Intake or RNI)

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