Mushroom Pearl Barley Risotto with Caramelised Onions

The inspiration for this recipe comes from an amazing new pop up restaurant I went to the other night.. We had the tasting menu and the highlights for me where; roasted Jerusalem artichoke, truffley mushrooms and a gorgeously creamy celeriac pearl mushroom risotto.

I couldn’t wait to try and recreate the pearl barely risotto but there was no celeriac in the supermarket so I decided to make a delicious mushroom (Andys favourite!) risotto instead and its so good.

If you haven’t made risotto with pearl barley before you should definitely give it a go.. It’s more chewy (in a good way) than arborio rice and becomes really rich and creamy. I decided to top with some sweet and gooey caramelised onions, toasted almonds for texture and peppery rocket.

And the secret ingredient – I stirred in four tablespoons of nutritional yeast at the end as it adds a lovely cheesy favour – happy days!

Nutritional yeast is rich is b vitamins, minerals and fibre to name a few of it’s health benefits and it’s what makes the ‘cheesy’ taste for cashew cheese and sauces –  It’s one of my favourite store cupboard staples.

I hope you like this my recipe; if you recreate it tag on instagram with #rebelrecipes @rebelrecipes for a chance to be featured. Love Niki x

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  2 servings
  10 minutes preparation time
  Aprox 40 minutes cook time


Caramelised onions ingredients;

  • 2 onions sliced into long strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Big pinch sea salt

Risotto ingredients;

  •  1 1/2 cups pearl barley
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cups veg stock
  • 4 cloves smoked garlic sliced
  • 3 tbsp white wine
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • Zest 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp Fresh Thyme
  • 4 cups mushrooms of choice – broken up a bit
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Himalayan salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp toasted hazelnuts
  • Handful rocket
  • Big glug truffle oil


To make the caramelised onions: 

  1. Add the oil and sliced onion to a small pan and fry very slowly on a low heat for 30 – 40 minutes until caramelised.
  2. Then add the salt and pepper. Set aside.   

To make the risotto;

  1. Add the oil to your frying pan on a low to medium heat then add in the chopped onions. Fry for 8-10 minutes until soft.
  2. Next add the garlic and fry for a minute then add in the wine and the pearl barley. Stir to combine thoroughly.
  3. Add 2 ladle fulls of stock at a time until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Fry the mushrooms in the oil in a separate pan then add in the salt and pepper. Set aside.
  5. When the barley is the consistency you like it add in half the mushrooms, lemon juice, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and stir well
  6. For super soft and gooey add extra virgin olive oil and cover the pan and allow to sit in the pan with the heat off for a further 5 minutes or so.
  7. Top with the caramelised onions, the remaining mushrooms, toasted hazelnuts and rocket.
  8. Drizzle a good glug of truffle oil over the top.

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  1. Karmyn on March 30, 2020 at 8:43 am

    Just made this last night and it was incredible! Instead of hazelnuts I used almonds and I didn’t have any thyme but the meal still was flavoursome. I finally know how to use my pearl barley that had been sitting there waiting, wanting to be eaten. Thanks for the delicious recipe! x

    • Niki on March 30, 2020 at 1:06 pm

      So happy you liked it.
      Much love

  2. Linda on January 10, 2019 at 10:53 am

    Mmm, going to try this tonight, it sounds gorgeous. Does that read half a cup of pearl barley please Niki?

    • Niki on January 10, 2019 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Linda
      It’s 1 1/2 – just made a bit clearer.
      Hope you enjoy

  3. Janine on February 7, 2016 at 7:46 am

    Good morning NIki, I really have a Problem by checking out your recipes. All are so perfect and delicious I really like to cook them all LOL. But the time, you know. The time is missing. Maybe when I cancel my blog … LOL. Great recipe. xoxo Janine

    • Niki on February 11, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Janine! You’re the best…
      Lots of love
      Niki xxxx

      • Keiwan on April 20, 2016 at 10:35 pm

        Haejllulah! I needed this-you’re my savior.

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Recipe Tags: pearl barley risotto vegan


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