Baked Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Carrots

Baked Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Carrots

Wholesome and nutty, barley is a superb alternative to arborio rice in this risotto, since it’s naturally plump and chewy when cooked. The grated Parmesan and butter stirred in at the end release the barley’s starches, creating a silky, creamy texture. Make sure to use pearl barley, not hulled, since it cooks much faster and is more tender. As for the mushrooms, white button, cremini and earthy shiitakes are a tasty, accessible mix, though any combination of oyster, king trumpet and maitake would raise the bar. Still, the best thing about this risotto, which is a satisfying vegetarian weeknight dinner (or side to any large roast or fish) is that it’s baked, taking away the pressure of constant stirring at the stove.

45 mins total time

30 mins active time


Serves 4



  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ small white onion

    or yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)

  • 5 cloves garlic

    thinly sliced

  • 1 lb mixed mushrooms, such as white button, cremini and shiitakes

    halved if small, quartered if large (about 7 cups total)

  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 oz pearl barley

    (about 1½ cup)

  • 1 medium carrot

    very thinly sliced into rounds (about 1 cup)

  • 4½ cups water
  • 2 oz grated parmesan cheese

    (about ½ cup), plus more for serving

  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup chopped chives


  • 1Insert the wire rack into position 7 and set oven to 425°F Bake. While the oven heats, continue to the next step.
  • 2In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  • 3Add mushrooms and remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • 4Stir in barley, carrot and 4½ cups of water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  • 5Once the oven is preheated, cover the Dutch oven, transfer to the oven and start the timer.
  • 6Bake until barley is tender and chewy and almost all of the liquid is absorbed. If not, give it a bit more time.
  • 7Stir in Parmesan and the butter until slightly thickened and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
  • 8Divide among shallow bowls. Sprinkle with chives and more Parmesan, to taste.