Barley Risotto with Mushrooms

I made this when we got home from a road trip on the week-end.  Whiling away the long hours  in the car, thinking about this and that. About how Jen had told me once how when the boys went camping they made risotto on the camp fire and substituted the stock with coconut milk…. it all got me thinking and creating when we got home.



Ready to eat!

it again tonight, I think I’ve fine tuned it enough to post it for everyone to use- this is a flavourful, richly delicious meal in one! Diary free- entirely vegan.  Also great served with a green salad on the side and some roasted vegetables: I did purple carrots and baby parsnips tonight. Dad, long adverse to mushrooms, ate a steak.



  • 1.5 cups barley , washed and drained in a colander
  • 1 x 400 ml can of light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups fresh button mushrooms
  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley or basil)
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pepper and salt to taste


  1. In a heavy based pot, heat the oil and fry the garlic till golden. Take care not to burn.
  2. Add the drained barley to the garlic as it turns gold, and stir well for two minutes.
  3. The chopped button mushrooms are now ready to be added.
  4. On a separate burner, warm the coconut milk over a low flame. Add  400 ml of water to the coconut milk.
  5. As for a risotto, add a ladle full of the coconut milk to the barley, every 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly.
  6. Lower the heat to a simmer and as the milk is absorbed by the barley grains, add a little more milk.
  7. Continue the process, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the thoroughly softened porcini mushrooms to the pot together with the water it is soaking in, and season to taste.
  9. Test the tenderness of the grains. The barley should be firm but tender.
  10. This amount of liquid should bring the barley to a point of being cooked to a good al dente tenderness.
  11. If  it is not quite there, add small amounts of water and keep stirring till you get the desired consistency.
  12. Turn it out into a warmed bowl and sprinkle with the fresh herbs.



Dried porcini mushroom soaking in hot water.


Mid-way:cooking gently in coconut milk


Adding the porcini mushrooms gives it the deeper colour and a richer flavour.