Vegan Risotto

I know, it sounds like something that just can’t be done. But it can. Not only did I do it, but I did it with pearl barley instead of white rice which while neither one really has a ton of redeeming value the barley doesn’t give me a sugar crash where as white rice does. I know that sounds crazy but it’s true. Anywho this risotto is amazing. I was apprehensive when I took the first bite, sometimes things just don’t work out, but I was thrilled with the results. Don’t take my word for it, I served this at Clean Dinners and as often happens I had a very skeptical man who was brought by a beautiful lady friend. He loved it. He even had to tell me that he didn’t think it could possibly be good but he was “amazed by your skills”. Thanks for the compliment, it’s good to hear after being told that I couldn’t possibly serve a good vegan meal!

With out further ado here is the recipe:

For the Risotto

1c pearled barley (soaked overnight with a little apple cider vinegar if possible, this cuts down your cook time and makes it a easier on your digestion rinse until clear then soak, drain well before cooking)
4Tbs olive oil
4 shallots (about 1cup coarsely chopped)
2 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
a few stems of fresh thyme if you’ve got it!
1 cup white wine
3 cups stock (I used my own veggie stock)

Optional
In the picture above I added peas and asparagus. I steamed the asparagus and added it chopped up with the raw peas about 1 minute before I took the risotto off the stove. Just long enough to heat but not over cook. A very popular add in is mushrooms. They go with barley like jelly goes with peanut butter.

For the creamy cheese flavor and texture

1 large avocado
1/2c cashew cheese I suggest for this recipe skipping the garlic and mustard seed)

either use a food processor to combine the avocado and cheese or mash with a fork in a bowl.

Start by heating your veggie stock on another burner. You’re going to keep this just below a simmer the whole time, nice and warm but not bubbling. 

Next grab a heavy bottomed saucepan/skillet. Something with a lot of room to work. Heat oil to med-high. Add the shallots for about 1 minute stirring to soften, add the garlic stirring about 1 minute. 

Add the barley. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes at this point you are steaming off the extra water from the soaking. 

Then add the white wine, bay leaves, and thyme or any other chosen herb you like. Keep stirring until the wine is absorbed.

Add one ladle full at a time of your stock. Stir until it’s absorbed then add another. Continue this process for about 20-30 minutes. Keep tasting, when your barley is chewy you’re done! You don’t want it mushy just cooked enough to not be hard any more but with a good texture.

Spoon the barley into your cream mixture, fold until nice and creamy. Serve immediately.

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