Tag Archives: risotto

Fiddleheads Barley Risotto

Spring in the Epicurean world

Spring is one of my favourite seasons for amazing ingredients like wild leeks (ramps), fiddleheads and morals. Due to long cool spring this year, we had abundant supply of fiddleheads. One of my favourite dishes to make in the spring is fiddleheads risotto.

Risotto is like a kryptonite for me – as much as I love it, it doesn’t love me back.  Risotto is generally made with Italian Arborio rice (white short grain rice with a hard kernel) which is quite high in starch and its high GI – which really doesn’t agree with my type1 diabetes (T1D) where it elevates my blood glucose high.  At restaurants I usually get it as a side dish or take a lot of insulin for it.

Barley is a great substitute for Arborio rice even if you don’t have diabetes – as it gives it a rich firm texture without being so being high GI.  It’s making appearance in many high end restaurants in North America as it’s very popular in Italy. So here I am sharing my favourite Barley Risotto recipe and it’s not rich as it doesn’t need lot of butter, cream or cheese. It’s very light and perfect as a main dish or as a side dish.







Chefs Note: Pot barley has more fibre than pearl barley as they remove some of the bran.

Fiddlehead Barley Risotto

Fiddlehead Barley Risotto

Barley Risotto with Fiddleheads

Prep time 10 min              Cooking time 30 min                       Serves 4


1 tbsp extra light olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup pot parley (soaked 1 hr and washed, drained)

2 ½ cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1 cup fiddleheads, whole (trimmed and washed)

1 tbsp chopped mint

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp low-fat parmesan

Salt and pepper for taste


Warm the oil in medium sauce pan over medium heat and sauté the onion and add bay leaf and cinnamon stick.

Add pot parley and sauté well until all ingredients are incorporated well and add vegetable stock and bring it boil. Add fiddleheads and reduce heat to low and cook 25 minutes or until almost all the water is absorbed.

Add butter and parmesan to arrest the cooking as the risotto will thicken once you add the parmesan, adjust taste with salt and pepper as you will need no salt at all (due to parmesan and stock) and fold in gently chopped mint and cover for 5 minutes.

Serve warm with a spinach or arugula salad as the combination is great!

Nutritional Analysis per 1 serving: 1/2 cup = 125 ml: Calories 238; Carbohydrate 32g; Fibre 3g; Fat 9g; Saturated fat 3g; Sodium 245 mg; Protein 8g