Vegan Barley Risotto with Braised Squash and Chermoula

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 55
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large servings 1x



Risotto Base

¾ cup Bob's Red Mill Barley

4-5 cups vegetable broth

½ medium yellow onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Cashew Cream

⅓ cup cashew cream (see note)

1 teaspoon nut yeast

1 small garlic clove

1 teaspoon miso

½ teaspoon light vinegar


¾ pound butternut or kabocha squash (peeled and cubbed)

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup red chermoula (see note)

Fresh parsley leaves, for serving


  • Prep the items you will need for the base of the risotto. Blitz the barley in a blender for a couple of seconds, just to breakdown some of the grains. Heat the vegetable broth in a pot and let sit. Finally, mince the onion.
  • Heat a large skillet or braised over medium heat. Add the olive oil to the heated pan and follow with the minced onion and salt. Cook until the onions are tender; about 10 minutes. Add in the barley, stirring to coat, then add a few ladles of the hot broth.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the barley, occasionally stirring, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add a few more ladles of the broth and continue in this pattern until the risotto is cooked, 45 minutes or so.
  • While the risotto cooks, prep the cashew cream and squash. Combine the cashew cream with the nutritional yeast, minced garlic, miso, and vinegar; set aside.
  • For the squash, heat a skillet with a lid over medium-hit heat. Add the olive oil followed by the squash. Keep the heat on high and cook the squash, stirring only a couple of times, until the squash has a good color on some of the pieces. Once that happens, turn off the heat, add the chermoula, stir, and cover. Let rest while the risotto continues to cook. The squash will continue to cook and become tender.
  • Once the barley is tender and most liquid has been absorbed, stir in the cashew cream. Taste and adjust the salt level as needed. Top with the squash and fresh parsley.



Chermoula: I like the red chermoula recipe from Eden Grinhpan's cookbook, Eating Out Loud. You can find a version of her recipe here (but it's missing preserved lemon, which the book's recipe calls for one whole preserved lemon rinsed. You can also use lemon juice/zest).

Cashew Cream Base: I keep the base easy: soak ¼ cup cashews in hot water for about an hour. Drain and place in a blender along with ¼ cup of fresh hot water (or hot broth). Puree until smooth and use as directed.