Saturday, 11 May 2013

Fiddlehead Barley Risotto [Virtual Vegan Potluck]

In my usual fashion, I'm late. Three hours late, to be precise. For the one thing I am usually not late for: a potluck. If you don't know what I am talking about, today is the day of the May 2013 Virtual Vegan Potluck, a worldwide event where food bloggers post their vegan recipes potluck-style. This is a fun event, so please click through the links and follow along the blog-hop through the different courses (I brought a main dish, so the posts before and after mine are also main dishes). You can either click through the links in order, or head to the main page for a listing off all of the different blogs who are participating!

I am very deeply sorry for my tardiness, and in an attempt to make up for it I offer you a lovely risotto. Please accept my apologies for being a horrible potluck participant, and enjoy some risotto. You should also enjoy the wonderful Stromboli posted by The Road to Serendipity, who is the previous poster in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Never heard of Stromboli? Neither had I (nor had they, apparently) but this looks delicious and definitely worth investigating. I am especially encouraged by the reference to being "penniless student hippies" in the introduction to this recipe. Tasty and student-budget-friendly? It doesn't get better than that. :)

Disclaimer: The fiddleheads were a much nicer bright green before this risotto sat in the fridge for the weekend, I just didn't get a picture! Guess I'll have to make it again... no complaints here. :)

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1.5 cups barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh thyme
  • juice of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup fiddleheads
  • 1 small leek
  • 1 cup fava beans (cooked, I used frozen)
1. Bring broth to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
2. While waiting for broth to boil, sauté onions in 1tbsp coconut oil for a few minutes, then add garlic.
3. Once onions are soft, add barley. Toast for 1 minute, coating in oil, and add wine.
4. After a few minutes (once the wine is mostly cooked off), add 1/2 cup of broth. Stir occasionally until broth has mostly been absorbed. Continue this process, gradually adding 1/2-1 cup of broth at a time, until 3 cups have been used.
5. During this time, sauté the leeks in coconut oil.
6. Add fiddleheads to broth, and continue adding broth to the risotto. Add fiddleheads with the last batch of broth, making sure that they have been cooking in the water for about 10 minutes.
7. With fiddleheads, add lemon juice, herbs, fava beans, and salt to taste. Continue stirring until broth is absorbed. The risotto should still be sticky, but not too watery.

I love making barley risottos, and find it magical how creamy they become even as a vegan dish. This version is light and spring-y and green, but the barley keeps it hearty and satisfying. It is a little bit time-consuming, but very straightforward and definitely worthwhile!

And, when you're finished check out this creative Michigan Cherry Chickpea Salad from Thyme and Love (from whom I especially beg forgiveness).

PS. Anyone who is here from the VVP, comment and say hi! I would love to meet you all. Also, if you feel so inclined, follow my blog with Bloglovin


  1. Better late than never! I love that you used fiddleheads in this risotto! So perfectly seasonal and delicious.

  2. I bought barley for the first time a few days ago and am yet to use it - this is the inspiration I needed! Thank you!

  3. With all of the other things going haywire in this Potluck, your tardiness barely registers ;-)! Sounds like a delicious and springy (as in the season...) dish! Thank you so much for bringing something to the Potluck!

  4. I'm still working on making the perfect risotto and when I do, I have to try this one!

    - alexis

  5. Fiddleheads are delicious. I never had them in a risotto before. Definitely need to try this one soon.

  6. Better then late then not at all! I wish I had seen this earlier, I tried fiddleheads for the first time this weekend and your risotto sounds much more delicious then my boring roasting method. Will have to try this the next time I find some more!

  7. I love your use of barley and fava beans in this dish, along with the fiddleheads, of course! Did you use pearl barley or hulled barley? Great dish!

  8. the risotto looks gorgeous! i love the barley in there

  9. Maggie - I think that this would be even better with roasted fiddleheads! To be honest, I had never had fiddleheads before so I just went for the simplest method. But roasted sounds delicious.

    Teresa - I used pot barley, so in between I guess. :)

  10. I have never heard of fiddleheads before and now 2 dishes include it. Gotta love the VVP from people all over the world. I really like that you used barley for your risotto. What a great idea, and also much healthier. I am definitely making this risotto soon but unfortunately without the fiddleheads... I will have to use asparagus or broccoli... not the same, I know, but it will have to do. Thank you for the great recipe!

  11. I'm sure that both would be delicious - I just couldn't resist how exciting the fiddleheads looked! But I was considering making it with asparagus before I saw them, since it's such a good time of year for them. :)

  12. I would be heaping this on my plate if it were a real potluck! Thanks for sharing
    x Vix :: vegan baking + raw desserts


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