Barley Mushroom Risotto

Barley is a highly nutritious food that is easy to prepare and delicious. It’s low glycemic index and load (GI: 22 hulled / 28 pearl, GL: 9 hulled / 12 pearl (1 cup), one of the lowest of whole grains) and high fiber content make it an excellent food for people with Type 2 diabetes. Wanting to incorporate more mushrooms into my diet, I decided to try this Barley Mushroom Risotto recipe.

My eight year who doesn’t like mushrooms had this to say, “Daddy this is absolutely delicious. This gets a Triple D – DD Delicious!” Being relatively new to cooking, my daughters and wife give me feedback on meals. Not all are a hit, but this was out of the ballpark.

When selecting barley, it’s healthier to choose whole grain, hulled barley which has the germ and bran still intact. This is available at most health food stores. Pearl barley (refined grain) which has germ and bran removed, is a less nutritious but still a good option. For people with pre or Type 2 diabetes, we recommend hulled barley. The whole grain version is better for controlling glucose levels.

Add two sides of oven roasted vegetables lightly coated in olive oil and salted such as broccoli, cauliflower or zucchini or steamed carrots or peas for one fantastic, highly nutritious meal.


On to the recipe: Barley Mushroom Risotto

I use an instant pot to make this recipe. If you want to use a stove top, see further down for instructions.



2 Tablespoons of avocado oil

1 Tablespoon of grass fed, no salt butter

1 Shallot minced

3 Garlic cloves

½ Teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves

1 Cup of Hulled Barley (or pearled barley if hulled not available)

3 Cups of chicken stock (4 if cooked on stove)

8 Oz or a small tray of mushrooms (variety your choice)

½ Tablespoon of salt

¼ Cup of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (grated)

Garnish: Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and fresh thyme leaves (for freshness)


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes


  • Press Sauté on the instant pot and add avocado oil and butter coating bottom
  • Sauté shallots and garlic stirring until softened (1-2 minutes)
  • Add the mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt (about 1-2 minutes)
  • Add chicken stock, barley, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • Close instant pot and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes (only 20 minutes if pearl barley used)
  • Depressurize using the quick release valve (slowly) and let sit for 5-10 minutes with no pressure
  • Add garnish and serve

On the stove top, use medium heat to sauté shallots and garlic later adding mushrooms, thyme leaves and salt (see order above). Add 1-2 ladles of hot chicken stock with barley (just enough to cover the 1 cup of barley). Cook until all the stock is absorbed.

Don’t boil too vigorously but instead you want a consistent simmer. Then add another ladle and cook until all liquid is absorbed before adding another ladle. Continue this process until you use 4 cups of stock rather than 3 in instant pot. Test and cook your barley until it is al dente.


This recipe was inspired from Seasons and Suppers.

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