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Fungi Risotto (Pearl Barley Mushroom Risotto)

Fungi Risotto recipe excerpted from Wholesome Bowls by Melissa Delport.

This is a gamechanger in the world of risotto. Risotto is known as a challenging dish as it can often become stodgy or overcooked. The pearl barley is much more forgiving, but don’t be fooled. Even though it’s much easier to cook than classic risotto, it makes just as much of an impact.

Fungi Risotto recipe excerpted from Wholesome Bowls by Melissa Delport.

Fungi Risotto (Pearl Barley Mushroom Risotto)

Melissa Delport
Health Fact: Aside from being a good source of many vitamins and minerals, pearl barley also helps lower cholesterol due to the soluble fibre, beta-glucan.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 cup (250ml or 9fl oz) boiling water
  • 6 cups (1-1/2 ml or 52fl oz) vegetable Stock
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups (300g or 10-1/2 oz) pearl barley
  • 7 oz (200g) exotic mushrooms, sliced
  • Black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (125ml or 4fl oz) coconut cream
  • 3/4 cup (75g or 2-1/2 oz) Parmesan cheese, finely grated


  • Soak the porcini mushrooms in the boiling water. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable stock to a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat and bring to a slight simmer.
  • In a separate large saucepan over a medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Remove the porcini mushrooms from their liquid, adding the liquid to the stock pot. Roughly chop the porcini and add them to the onion and garlic. Add the rosemary and fry for another minute. Then add the pearl barley and fry until the grain becomes slightly toasted.
  • Add the stock to the barley, one ladleful at a time, stirring often. Once the barley absorbs the liquid, add another ladleful. Continue this process over a medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan over a high heat, add 1 teaspoon coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add half the exotic mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are hot and begin to fry, add the remaining mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Add some freshly cracked black pepper. Once the mushrooms are ready, set aside.
  • Keep adding the stock to the barley. Once it is ready, after 35–40 minutes, add the coconut cream and two-thirds of the Parmesan and fold through. Pop the lid on and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Once ready, add the exotic mushrooms and fold through. Season to taste, top with the remaining Parmesan and enjoy this warm, hearty bowl.


Wholesome Bowls by Melissa Delport. © 2023 by Watkins Media Limited. Typography and design copyright © Penguin Random
House South Africa (Pty) Ltd 2018, 2023
Text and photography copyright © Melissa Delport
2018, 2023.Excerpted with permission from Wholesome Bowls, by Melissa Delport. Copyright © 2023 by Watkins Media Limited. Published by Nourish, an imprint of Watkins Media Limited.
Keyword Melissa Delport, Pearl Barley, Porcini mushrooms, Risotto, Wholesome Bowls

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