Vegan Barley Risotto with Roasted Carrots

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 11 votes

This vegan barley risotto is a creamy, satiating, flavourful, and pantry-friendly vegan dinner recipe! Topped with spice-roasted carrots, finely grated walnuts, and fresh dill. This cozy recipe cooks in about an hour.

An overhead shot of barley risotto with roasted carrots in a black braiser-style pot.
An overhead shot of roasted carrots and barley in a white speckled bowl with a fork to the side.
An overhead shot of ingredients to make a vegan barley and carrot recipe.
An overhead shot of cut carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet, dusted with spices.
An overhead shot shows a hand using a wooden utensil to stir up grains in a pot.

I love a good alternative risotto! Pearl barley is an excellent candidate for this because it cooks in a reasonable amount of time and it lets off some lovely creamy starch as you stir. I always have barley on hand, but I don’t cook with it often. Maybe you have a slightly neglected bag in your pantry too?

This vegan dinner recipe is topped with some simple spice-roasted carrots. The sweetness and flavour of those mesh beautifully with the creamy and nutty barley. There’s a good dose of smoked paprika, sautéed shallots, white wine for acidity, a little miso for depth, and some fresh dill on top. All of my usual favourites! Dill and carrots are just perfection together. With the barley base, it’s all just so flavourful.

Some Tips for Making This Vegan Barley Risotto:

  • Pearl barley is essential to the success (and faster cooking aspect) of this recipe. Pearled farro cooks in a similar way, so you could substitute that if you have it on hand.
  • Sometimes I peel carrots, and sometimes I don’t! It’s totally personal preference. Typically I just give them a good scrub and get on with the cooking. 
  • Grating the walnuts over a microplane gives you beautiful shavings on top of the risotto. Does it taste like parmesan? My friend, it does not. But once those little shavings combine with the chopped dill, the spices in the risotto, and some extra salt and pepper, it’s just so delicious! The walnuts add to the creaminess of the dish.
  • To substitute the white wine, just use extra vegetable stock along with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar of choice to make up for the acidity.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, I would search for a traditional arborio rice-based vegan risotto recipe, and just apply the same spices and flavours that we’re using here.

If you love this dish, I can also recommend my Creamy Vegan Orzo Risotto with Butternut Squash, and this Easy Vegan Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto.

A 3/4 angle image shows a dimly lit kitchen counter with prepped ingredients next to a pot on the stove.
An overhead shot shows a wooden utensil stirring up some grains and vegetable stock in a pot.
An overhead shot of barley risotto with roasted carrots in a black braiser-style pot.
A 3/4 angle image shows a hand grating a walnut into shavings over a barley and roasted carrot risotto in a braiser-style pot.
An up close, overhead shot of barley risotto with roasted carrots in a black braiser-style pot.

Creamy Vegan Barley Risotto with Roasted Carrots

This vegan barley risotto is a creamy, satiating, flavourful, and pantry-friendly vegan dinner recipe! Topped with spice-roasted carrots, finely grated walnuts, and fresh dill. This cozy recipe cooks in about an hour.
5 from 11 votes
An overhead shot of barley risotto with roasted carrots in a black braiser-style pot.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings 3 -4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 2 medium shallots, small dice (about ½ cup diced shallots)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • ½ cup white wine
  • chopped fresh dill, for garnish
  • 3-4 walnut halves, grated with a microplane

Notes

  • Pearl barley is essential to the success (and faster cooking aspect) of this recipe! Pearled farro cooks in a similar way, so you could substitute that if you have it on hand.
  • Sometimes I peel carrots, and sometimes I don’t! It’s totally personal preference. Typically I just give them a good scrub and get on with the cooking. 
  • Grating the walnuts over a microplane gives you beautiful shavings on top of the risotto. Once it combines with the chopped dill, and some extra salt and pepper, it’s just so delicious! 
  • To substitute the white wine, just use extra vegetable stock along with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar of choice to make up for the acidity.
  • To make this recipe gluten-free, I would search for a traditional arborio rice-based vegan risotto recipe, and just apply the same spices and flavours that we’re using here.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cut carrots on the baking sheet. Toss the carrots with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and ground coriander. Once carrots are evenly coated, spread them out in a single layer and pop the baking sheet into the oven. Roasted the carrots until tender and slightly caramelized on the edges, about 25 minutes. Set aside.
  • Pour the vegetable stock into a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add the miso to the stock. Once it starts to simmer, lower the heat so that it’s just barely simmering and staying warm. Give it a quick whisk to dissolve/distribute the miso. Put a lid on top and set a ladle out on the counter nearby.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Pour the remaining olive oil into the pot and swirl it around. Add the shallots and sauté until very soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. If they’re starting to brown too fast, lower the heat.
  • To the shallots, add the smoked paprika, thyme, and nutritional yeast. Stir and cook until spices are very fragrant, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the barley to the pot and stir to coat in the shallots, oil, and spices. Let it toast for a minute or so.
  • Pour the white wine into the pot and stir. It should come up to a boil immediately. Let it continue to simmer and cook out for 2 minutes or so, stirring often.
  • Remove the lid from the pot of stock. Add two full ladles of vegetable stock to the pot with the barley and stir. The liquid should be simmering and bubbling. Keep stirring here there until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring often. Each time, you'll be cooking until the mixture seems a little dry, then proceeding with adding more.
  • You should be cooking the barley risotto for a total of 25-30 minutes, or until the grains of barley are al dente and the texture overall is creamy.
  • Once the barley risotto is done, check it for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Stir in the roasted carrots or simply serve them on top.
  • Garnish servings of the barley risotto with chopped fresh dill, finely grated walnuts, and some freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy immediately.
A 3/4 angle shot of roasted carrots and barley in a white speckled bowl with a fork to the side.
26/01/2022 (Last Updated 02/03/2024)
Posted in: autumn, carrots, creamy, main course, refined sugar-free, salty, side dish, spring, sweet, vegan, winter

14 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Karen

    Hi
    This barley recipe came up under my gluten free search of your recipes. Thinking it’s a mistake as barley does indeed contain gluten.
    Best, Karen (person with celiac)

    • Laura Wright

      Hi Karen!
      I think the site is turning this recipe up in the “gluten free” searches because under the “Tips” heading of this post, I include the text “To make this recipe gluten-free, I would…” and suggest alternatives. The search bar of my site searches all text in posts. I definitely know that barley has gluten and don’t want to lead anyone astray at all, but there are limitations to the search bar’s functionality and specificity. For certainty, I would use the Recipe Search page and select the gluten-free box.
      Thank you!
      Laura

  • Mikayla Agrella

    5 stars
    DELICIOUS! Never made any type of risotto before and this was a big success. Mine ended up borderline too salty, but I eyeballed the miso and bouillon so it’s surely my fault. I used Italian farro which was quicker to cook, added some cornstarch at the end to thicken the sauce. Very smart recipe, highly recommend!

  • Nicole

    5 stars
    Giving this 5 stars (if I could give 8/5 stars I would. Made a risotto based on this tonight and it was so good.
    Disclaimer: I made a few tweaks. I love mushroom risotto so I made that using pearl barley and the spices in this recipe. I also roasted eggplant and sweet mini peppers along with the carrot to top off the risotto. Hands down my favorite risotto I’ve ever made. Will definitely make this again.

  • Camille Guertin

    5 stars
    I absolutely love this barley risotto! This is my fourth time making it. I made it for some friends last night and it was a big hit, everyone loved it :-) Thanks so much, Laura! Your recipes are fabulous!

  • Erika

    I have semi-pearled purple barley—will that work?

    • Laura

      Hi Erika!
      I’ve never cooked with semi-pearled purple barley before, but from looking it up online, it seems to have the same cooking time and water ratios as pearled barley. I think you should be okay to substitute it!
      -L

  • Chelsea

    5 stars
    Lovely and amazing recipe! I used arborio rice and was still able to follow the recipe exactly. Loved the fresh herbs. Delicious!

    • Laura

      Chelsea,
      Thanks so much for letting us know about the arborio rice! It will be helpful for a lot of folks :)
      -L

  • Sabrina

    5 stars
    wow, so many wonderful ingredients and very nice flavor, especially all cooked together, thank you!

  • Kat

    5 stars
    Yum! Even though it’s a scorching summer in Australia and I sweated through making this, it was totally worth it! Beautiful depth of flavour and visually so appealing too. Thank you Laura!

  • Kim H

    5 stars
    Delicious!  I didn’t have any white wine so I went with extra stock plus a squeeze of lemon at the end.  Grating the walnut was so fun!  I’m not sure how much it really added to the dish, but what an enjoyable zen moment at the end.  Thank you, Laura, for your never-ending brilliance. 

  • Lisa

    5 stars
    Hands down best risotto I have ever had!!! Thank you for this recipe it is delicious and so unique!!

  • Lisa Snyder

    Do you have the nutritional information