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One-Pot Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary

This One-pot Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary is comfort food at its best. Simple seasonal ingredients create a hearty vegan meal that is sure to become a hit on your winter menu!

Barley risotto is also called orzotto , and it’s like an Italian risotto but instead of being made with rice it’s made with barley. If you ask me, a glass of red wine (or two), is the perfect accompaniment to this heart-warming meal, and exactly what I want to enjoy on a cold rainy day.

What I love the most about this barley risotto is that it’s hearty, comforting and filling without being heavy.

It’s just as creamy as traditional risotto, but much lighter and healthier.

white pumpkin used for barley risotto with pumpkin on a white cake stand next to two pine cones

I’m always super curious to try new pumpkin varieties, ant this time I fell in love with this Casper pumpkin while shopping at the local market this weekend.

Casper pumpkins are known for their bright orange meaty flesh and their succulent sweet flavor. And this one-pot barley risotto was just the perfect excuse to use up some of this special pumpkin variety.

open pumpkin and cubes on wood board over orange napkin with two pine cones in the background

Ready in less than 30 minutes, this barley risotto with pumpkin and rosemary only requires one pot and 6 simple ingredients: pearl barley, pumpkin, rosemary sprigs, garlic, vegetable stock and extra-virgin olive oil.

This barley risotto is super delicate yet bursting with vibrant seasonal flavor, and *magically creamy* even without the cheese and butter- two classic ingredients of traditional Italian risotto. However, if you love cheesy risotto, feel absolutely free to stir in some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese just before serving.

I usually ditch the butter in favor of a high-quality, lightly fruity extra-virgin olive oil, a little goes along away and gives such a pleasant aromatic note.

Thanks to the pumpkin, even without butter, this barley risotto is just as creamy as it supposed to be. Also, barley requires a bit less attention than rice, so you can just add all the stock in one go and just stir from time to time.

close up pumpkin cubes with rosemary sprigs and wood spoon in a pan for barley risotto

Start by cooking the pumpkin in a large skillet with some garlic, olive oil and rosemary. Then add the barley and gently toast all the ingredients.

barley in a pan with pumpkin cubes and rosemary sprig, wood spoon stirring the mixture for barley risotto with pumpkin

At this stage, simply pour over the stock and allow to simmer until all the ingredients are cooked. All you have to do is stirring every now and then, and pour extra stock if necessary.

 Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary cooking in a pan

Your barley risotto comes together in about 20-30 mins. Once it’s cooked through, remove from the heat and add optional Parmesan cheese and a knob of butter (if you’re not vegan/vegetarian/dairy-free) if you like the traditional way, or keep it simple and light as I did, and just pour over a glug of extra-virgin olive oil and some freshly cracked pepper.

This Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary is vegan and dairy-free but incredibly flavorful and hearty. One of those comfort foods you can’t possibly feel guilty about!

Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary in a grey plate over orange napkin, cut pumpkin garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs in the background

I hope you guys give this delicious risotto/orzotto a try! If you do, please leave a comment below and let me know how you liked it! Or even better, take a picture, tag it #thepetitecook and share it on Instagram! Looking at your yummy creations always makes me smile :)!

One-pot Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary

This One-pot Barley Risotto with Pumpkin and Rosemary is vegan comfort food at its best. Ready in less than 30 min, and all you need is 5 simple ingredients!



  • 3
    Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 250
    organic pumpkin
    finely cubed (8.8 oz)
  • 2
    fresh rosemary + extra chopped to garnish
  • 1
    peeled and gently crushed
  • 120
    pearl barley
    washed and drained (4 oz)
  • 500
    vegetable stock
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve:

  • 1
    fresh parsley
    finely chopped


  1. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saute’ pan over medium-low heat. Stir in the garlic, rosemary and cubed pumpkin. Cook over medium-heat for 2 minutes, then pour in 1/3 of the stock and allow to reduce.

  2. Fold in the barley and toast for about 1 minute. Pour in the remaining stock, cover with a lid and allow to cook for 20 mins.

  3. Make sure to stir the barley risotto every now and then, and feel free to pour in a ladle of extra warm water if the mixture goes too dry.

  4. Continue to cook until the pumpkin is soft and the barley is tender to the bite.

  5. Remove from the heat and stir in finely chopped rosemary and optional finely chopped parsley. Drizzle with extra olive oil, season with freshly ground black pepper and serve,

  6. Store leftovers in airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Recipe Notes

This post was originally published in January 2016 and updated with new info and improved recipe.


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