Fungi Risotto – Try this ancient grain bowl recipe from Whole: Bowl Food for Balance
 More about the book!

Whole: Bowl Food for Balance is all about healing your relationship with food. Food is not the enemy and neither is your body.

Taking the time to get to know your body, treating it with respect and nourishing it with real fresh food is the single most important thing you can do for yourself. Eating mindfully, cutting out processed foods and embracing the foods that fuel you and leave you feeling energised are all part of the journey to finding happiness with food.

Try Melissa Delport’s recipe for pearl barley mushroom risotto: 


Fungi Risotto

Pearl barley mushroom risotto (v)

Serves 4

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.


1/2 cup porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
6 cups vegetable stock
coconut oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh
rosemary needles
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
black pepper
200 grams exotic mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup coconut cream
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese


Soak the porcini mushrooms in the boiling water and set aside for 15 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock to a medium-sized saucepan over low heat and bring to a slight simmer.

In a separate large saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add the onion and sauté until softened. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.

Remove the porcini mushrooms from their liquid, adding the liquid to the stock pot. Roughly chop the porcinis 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 medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a separate frying pan over 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 ½ cup of the Parmesan and fold through. Pop the lid on and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Once ready, add the mushrooms and fold through. Season to taste and top with the remaining Parmesan and enjoy this warm, hearty bowl.

Health tip

Aside from having many vitamins and minerals, pearl barley is great for lowering cholesterol due to the soluble fibre, beta-glucan.

Categories Cookery Non-fiction South Africa

Tags Melissa Delport Penguin Random House SA Recipes Risotto Whole: Bowl Food for Balance

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