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Barley Asparagus Risotto – Vegan

10/12/2010

I love the idea of risotto.  Slow cooked Italian rice dishes full of chicken stock, veggies and some lots of dairy.  It tasted like pure heaven when I studied abroad.  Like grandma was in the kitchen stirring away for hours building up her muscles.

Many bloggers proclaim how easy it is to cook with a bit of time and patience.  Unfortunately I often lack those exact things. Smile Especially that time bit.  I need dinner done in 30 minutes or less…hopefully cooking itself while I rush to get ready for my next meeting.  This makes risotto a no-go.

risotto no

But one of my wonderful cookbooks suggested making risotto with barley.  Okay don’t kill me…by definition risotto is a rice dish but this recipe was right up my alley.  I had to modify the ingredients for a vegetarian/non-dairy diet with a few easy fixes.

Instead of winter squash risotto with chicken stock and white wine, I make Barley Balsamic Risotto with Asparagus.  Is your mouth watering yet? It should because this is the quick and easy substitution for us risotto lovers with little time.

Barley Balsamic “Risotto” with Asparagus – Vegan

  • 2 tsp. olive oil, separated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar (I always use more because I love the flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cup asparagus spears, chopped into 2 inch pieces (I use frozen when out of season but other veggies are fine)
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (it’s not as weird as it sounds)

Instructions

  1. Place 1 tsp. of oil into pan over medium heat to coat bottom of the pan.  Add chopped onions and garlic to allow them to sweat for 5 minutes. IMG_5724 If I were these onions I’d be sweating a lot because I placed them in a big stock pot.  I was making multiple things at once and was short on cook ware.  Smile
  2. Add second tsp. of oil and barley.  Stir to coat barley completely.  Let cook for 1 minute. IMG_5727
  3. Add the stock and cover to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.  IMG_5356This is the part I love.  I can walk away and forget it until the timer beeps and no burning Smile I just miss the muscles from stirring risotto.
  4. Turning heat as low as possible, add vinegar and asparagus.  Stir and cover to soften asparagus and incorporate the vinegar.  You may need to add one more glug of stock if it is too dry.  IMG_5729Avoid lifting the lid of the pot while it steams.  You’ll get a facial and cold asparagus.
  5. Remove from the heat.  Now for the special ingredient.  Add the nutritional yeast and watch if fall like snow into the pot.  Stir to incorporate to the desired cheesy effect.  IMG_5735

If you are a blogger of course you need to take a final picture of the goods.  I topped it with a bit more nutritional yeast and some garlic salt because I need to repel the vampires Smile

IMG_5741

There you have it…”risotto” without all the work.  Less than 20 minutes and my arms don’t look like Arnold.  I might need to do some more planks to get the biceps I want Open-mouthed smile

What traditional dish do you like to simplify?

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