This is creamy risotto without the cream, clocking in at less than 250 calories per bowl. Plus, if you love the deep orange sweetness of squash, you’ll love this beta-carotene-rich risotto. Pearled barley has more than double the fiber of arborio rice (traditionally used in risotto) and gives off healthy starches to thicken the broth as it cooks. A pop of lemon adds a savory note.
Seared Portobello Mushroom and Squash Barley Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium acorn squash, about 1 1/4 pound (550g)
- 1 cup (200g) pearled barley
- 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cups (100ml) vegetable stock, no salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 large portobello mushroom, cut in 12 slices
In a large pot, spread 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and place over medium-high heat. Add the onions and stir until they start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally.
While the onions soften, halve the squash and place in a steamer over simmering water. Cover the pot and steam for 10 minutes. When the squash is tender when pierced with a paring knife, take out and let cool; scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Mash the squash to make about 2 cups (550g). Reserve.
To the onions, add the barley, white wine, thyme and stir, then add in the stock and raise the heat to high. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and stir in the squash. Simmer for 5 minutes or so, until thick and creamy. Stir in the lemon and parmesan. When the parmesan is melted, remove from the heat and cover loosely.
Heat a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high, then drizzle with remaining olive oil. Place the portobello slices in the pan in one layer, and cook for 3–4 minutes, until shrunken and deeply browned. Serve 1 cup risotto with 2 slices of mushroom arranged atop.
Serves: 6 | Serving Size: 1 cup risotto, plus 2 slices portobello
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 245; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 6mg; Sodium: 272mg; Carbohydrate: 42g; Dietary Fiber: 8g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 8g