Butternut squash is rich in calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, and just about any other fertility-boosting nutrient that you can think of – and with the complex carbohydrates from barley, you’ll be energized all through the day.
A recipe that combines the refreshing flavor of barley risotto and butternut squash
For the risotto:
- 1/2 of a cooked/peeled medium butternut squash
- 2/3 c. cooked white beans
- 1 tb coconut oil
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
- 3/4 c. uncooked pearl barley
- 1/4 c. uncooked corn grits (polenta) (or substitute with additional barley)
- 1/2 c. white cooking wine (or any white wine)
- 1 and 1/2 c. plain, unsweetened almond milk
- (optional) 3-4 drops liquid smoke
- 2 c. vegetable broth
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tb white balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper and salt, to taste
For the avocado basil cream:
- 1/4 cup silken tofu
- 1 avocado
- a handful of fresh basil leaves
- a pinch of fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tb freshly squeezed lemon juice
- red pepper flakes to taste
- Prep the squash and white bean puree. Combine the squash and white beans in a food processor or blender until smooth and set aside.
- Start the risotto. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When fully melted and warm, add the garlic, onions and celery and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the barley and corn grits, stir, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. It’s important not to skimp on this step because sauteeing the grains before adding any liquid is what gives the risotto its signature flavor – the taste of toasted barley is a beautiful thing! Add the squash and white bean puree, cooking wine, almond milk, and liquid smoke, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat back to medium.
- Tend to the risotto. Stir the risotto frequently (at least every 3-4 minutes, but you don’t need to obsessively stand over it). Whenever the liquid gets mostly absorbed, add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth. I needed about 2 and 1/2 cups of additional broth, but it will vary. Continue with this until the barley is fully cooked and the risotto has taken on a creamy consistency. Add the oregano, paprika and vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste (I didn’t need much salt, since my cooking wine was seasoned).
- Make the avocado basil cream and serve. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth (or as smooth as you can get it). Serve risotto in bowls, with a dollop of cream on top and optionally, additional fresh basil or parsley and black pepper.
Note: It’s best to make the avocado cream right before serving, since the avocado will oxidize and not be as pretty of a green color. When storing it, put a layer of water, oil, or plastic wrap (touching it directly) on top to preserve the color better.
Image and recipe reprinted with permission from www.yupitsvegan.com and www.healthyaperture.com