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  • Writer's pictureTina Brand

Barley & mushroom risotto with miso and walnuts

Originally posted August 16, 2016

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 her boys went camping they made risotto on the camp fire and substituted stock with coconut milk…. it got me thinking and creating when we got home.

Cooking 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 tablespoon olive oil

  • 3 minced cloves of garlic

  • 1.5 cups barley , washed and drained in a colander

  • 2 cups mushrooms of choice

  • 1 x 400 ml can of coconut milk

  • 400 ml water

  • 3/4 to 1 cup dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup of boiling water for at least two hours.

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (flat leaf parsley, mint, basil or a combination)

  • 1-2 tablespoons organic miso paste

  • a handful of toasted walnuts

  • 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. Add a ladle full of the warm coconut milk mix 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 at a time.

  7. Continue the process, stirring constantly, about 10 to 15 minutes.

  8. Add the thoroughly softened porcini/shiitake mushrooms to the pot together with a little of the water it is soaking in, and season to taste.

  9. Add the miso, and continue stirring well.

  10. Test the tenderness of the grains. The barley should be firm but tender.

  11. This amount of liquid should bring the barley to a point of being cooked to a good al dente tenderness, but if still slightly firm, add the rest of the mushroom soaking water or more warm water, and continue to stir until a tender bite to the barley is achieved.

  12. Turn it out into a warmed bowl and sprinkle with the fresh herbs and some toasted walnuts.


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