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.

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.
An overhead shot of barley risotto with roasted carrots in a black braiser-style pot.
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5 from 6 votes

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.
PREP TIME15 mins
COOK TIME45 mins
TOTAL TIME1 hr
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 3 -4
Author: Laura Wright

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

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.

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.
A 3/4 angle shot of roasted carrots and barley in a white speckled bowl with a fork to the side.
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