Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Slow Cooker Barley Risotto

Temporary borrowed picture from Worldhealth.net
Friends, I have possibly discovered the most wonderfully delicious healthy-meets-gourmet dish yet. (Have I reeled you in?) AND I cooked it in my slow cooker! For those of you who think crock-pots don't count as cooking (you know who you are) then think again! This meal involved a small amount of prep work, but really all the slow cooker did was take the dirty work out of risotto. Instead of constantly stirring, as traditional risotto requires, the grains slowly soak up the broth over a few hours. A few finishing touches and you're done. And the best part of this meal (in my dietitian opinion): FIBER! Although my less health-inclined husband would say it was the butter. And cheese. Regardless of which end of the spectrum calls your name, I promise you, this gets just as creamy and heavenly as regular risotto.

In my excitement and haste I forgot to take a picture. Maybe during lunchtime leftovers tomorrow. Again, lack of necessary ingredients caused me to alter this quite a bit and combine various recipes..but now I can claim this as my own, right?

Slow Cooker Barley Risotto
Serves 4-6 (Makes about 8 cups)

2 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 finely sliced shallots (about 3 Tbs)
1 1/2 cups barley
5 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 fresh thyme sprig (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c parmesan cheese
pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, cook sliced shallots in 1 Tbs melted butter over medium heat (about 1-2 mins).
2. Add thyme sprig and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add barley to skillet and cook an additional 2 minutes, or until all the grains are coated in butter.
3. Lightly spray slow cooker with non-stick spray. Add broth, salt, and barley mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until liquid is absorbed.
4. Add remaining 1 Tbs butter and parmesan cheese and stir gently until butter and cheese are melted. Salt & pepper to taste.

You will not regret this! :)


  1. Hey Heather,
    Wanted you to know that I made this slow-cooker barley risotto last week. What a great idea! It was delicious and so easy. I was really surprised at how good it turned out. I added garlic to the recipe, but I add garlic to everything. Next time I make it I'm going to add portobello mushrooms. Since there was a good amount of leftovers Aaron grilled some Mahi to add to the barley risotto and it was like a "chicken and rice" spin-off. Hope all is well in Italy! (so jealous)


  2. Hey Jess! Thanks for letting me know! It's always nicereassurance that these can be replicated :) I'm planning to make this again soon and think I will add some mushrooms too. Good to hear from you!