Fantastic feasts and where to find them

‘Risottos’ of all grains

(Kimmy) Let me begin by talking a little about the Glycemic Index (GI). GI has a range of 0-100 and is based on glucose with a GI of 100 . Carbohydrates have different GI which indicates how quickly they are digested and absorbed and therefore how quickly the blood glucose level increases after consuming them. Although lower GI foods are thought to be better for you, there is more than just the glycemic index that you have to consider… for example the other ingredients you add to the food and how you cook it, etc…

ANYWAY, back to risotto… Given its name, it should really be made with rice (riso), but I thought I’d experiment with different grains with lower GI values, instead of rice for risotto recipes. So far I have experimented with oat groats, spelt, barley, buckwheat, orzo pasta.

  • Oat groats seem to disintegrate faster the the others. It works well as a breakfast meal, especially when cooked with pieces of sliced apple.
  • Spelt and barley works quite well and has good texture without getting too soggy.
  • I have yet to perfect cooking buckwheat – so update to come….
  • Orzo pasta works well in a creamy spinach risotto dish

Mushroom barley risotto


For mushroom risotto, my basic ingredients are:

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • Mushrooms sliced
  • 2 cups of grain of your choice
  • Crème fraîche
  • Salt
  • Stock cube (or home made stock)

Optional extras:

  • Peas
  • Carrots chopped


  • Cook grain according to specific grain with stock *
  • Fry onions and add salt
  • Add mushrooms to the frying pan
  • Add cooked grains
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of Crème fraîche

* Water to grain ratio 3:1 for Barley, Spelt, Oat Groats – 1 cup grain to 3 cups boiling water or stock. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 40 – 60 minutes or until grains are chewy. For Spelt: Drain off any excess water. (Cooking time is at least 20minutes longer if not soaked overnight)


You can add other herbs to your taste… Also, NOTE you can also sauté the sliced mushrooms with butter to give it a slightly different flavour and leave a couple to place on top of the risotto as decoration.

Serve as a starter or a main with steamed broccoli, pan fried fish (Spelt risotto with pan fried fish), meat of your choice.



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