This one-pot pearl barley risotto with pumpkin is healthy comfort food at its best. Simple ingredients create a 30-minute vegan meal perfect for a weeknight dinner!
Barley risotto is also called orzotto , and it's like an Italian risotto that features pearl barley instead of rice. Paired with a glass of wine, this is exactly my ideal dinner meal on a cold rainy fall day.
What I love the most about this barley risotto is that it's hearty, comforting, and filling without being heavy.
It's just as creamy as traditional risotto but much lighter and healthier.
I'm always super curious to try new pumpkin varieties, ant this time I fell in love with this Casper pumpkin while shopping at the local farmers market this weekend.
Casper pumpkins are known for their bright orange meaty flesh and their succulent sweet flavor. And this one-pot risotto was just the perfect excuse to use up some of this special pumpkin variety.
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto in 30 Minutes
Ready in less than 30 minutes, this pumpkin risotto requires one pot and 6 simple ingredients:
- pearl barley
- rosemary sprigs
- vegetable stock
- extra-virgin olive oil
It's a very delicate dish loaded with vibrant seasonal flavors, and *magically creamy* even without the cheese and butter- two classic ingredients of traditional Italian risotto.
However, if you love cheesy risotto, feel absolutely free to stir in some freshly grated Parmesan cheese or a vegan Parmesan-style hard cheese, just before serving.
I ditch the butter in favor of a high-quality, lightly fruity extra-virgin olive oil, a little goes a long away and gives such a pleasant aromatic note.
Thanks to the pumpkin, even without butter, this barley risotto is just as creamy as it supposed to be.
Also, barley requires a bit less attention than rice, so you can just add all the stock in one go and just stir it from time to time.
Step 1. Start by cooking the pumpkin flesh cut into cubes in a large skillet with garlic, extra-virgin olive oil and rosemary.
Step 2. Add the pearl barley in and gently stir-fry all the ingredients for a couple of minutes.
Step 3. Pour over the hot vegetable stock and allow all the ingredients to simmer over medium-low heat until cooked through, for about 15-20 minutes.
Make sure to stir every now and then, and pour extra stock if necessary.
Your barley risotto will come together in about 20-30 minutes from start to finish.
Once it's cooked through, remove from the heat and add optional cheese and butter (if you're not vegan/vegetarian/dairy-free) if you like the traditional way.
Otherwise, keep it simple and light as I did, and just pour over a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and some freshly cracked pepper.
This quick and easy risotto is naturally vegan and dairy-free but incredibly flavorful and hearty. One of those comfort foods you can't possibly feel guilty about!
More Pumpkin Recipes To Try:
- Pumpkin Muffins With Chocolate Chips (dairy-free!)
- Vegan Pumpkin and Carrot Soup
- Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
One-pot Pearl Barley Risotto with Pumpkin
- 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 250 g pumpkin flesh, finely cubed (8.8 oz)
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary + extra chopped to garnish
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and gently crushed
- 120 g pearl barley, washed and drained
- 500 ml hot vegetable stock
- sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (optional)
- Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saute' pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic, rosemary and cubed pumpkin. Cook over medium-heat for 2 minutes, then pour in ⅓ of the stock and allow to reduce.
- Fold in the barley and toast for about 1 minute. Pour in the remaining stock, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 20 minutess.
- Make sure to stir all the ingredients every now and then, and feel free to pour in a ladle of extra warm stock or water if the risotto becomes too dry. Season with about ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt or to taste.
- Continue to cook until the pumpkin is soft and the barley is tender to the bite.
- Remove the pan from the heat, discard the garlic, and stir in finely chopped rosemary and optional finely chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
- Store leftovers in airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
This post was originally published in January 2016 and updated with new info, no change to the recipe.
Healthy Kitchen 101 says
I've tried the barley for my dishes, it looks nourshing indeed! Gonna look for some in my next shopping 🙂