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A spoon in a bowl of barley risotto.
Course Side Dish

Butternut Squash Risotto with Barley

By: Elysia
Servings 6 servings
This healthy butternut squash barley risotto is perfectly creamy and perfect for fall. Pearl barley is cooked with roasted butternut squash.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth (or use chicken broth)
  • 1 small yellow onion finely chopped (or about 1 cup onion chopped)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for garnish)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For garnish:

  • Finely chopped fresh parsley


  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a medium sized bowl, toss the diced squash with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  • Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping half way through for 30-35 minutes or until the squash is tender and caramelized. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, warm the broth in a small saucepan over low heat.
  • In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, stirring and cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the barley to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often. Add the wine and cook until it is evaporated, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and add 1 cup of the broth, stirring frequently, until the liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Continue adding the rest of the broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each addition of the broth to be absorbed before adding more.
  • Remove from the heat when the barley is tender and the risotto is creamy. Stir in the cooked squash and grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with finely chopped parsley and additional parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately.


  • If you prefer not to add the wine, you can also sub in 1/2 cup extra broth or wine vinegar.
  • You'll know when the risotto is done when the barley is fully cooked and tender and the mixture is nice and creamy.
  • The risotto tends to thicken up slightly the longer that it sits. If you're not serving it right away, you may wish to add a bit of extra broth just before serving to make it more creamy.


Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 9gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 149mgPotassium: 591mgFiber: 9gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 13364IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 180mgIron: 2mg
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