Wild West Barley Risotto


Recipe courtesy of Recipes for Healthy Kids

When Michele Obama challenged American schools to create healthy cafeteria recipes for a national competition, many Philadelphians sprang into action. WHYY Friday Arts chronicles the coming together of numerous forces, including chef Daniel McLaughlin, the non-profit AUNI, the Agatston Urban Nutrition Initiative, and the Philly children and teens who participate in AUNI's cooking clubs, to create a delicious and healthy menu that any school would be proud to serve.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Yield: 6 servings



  • 1.5 cups of whole pearled barley (7 oz)
  • 1.5 cups of parsnips (.5lb)
  • 3 cups of butternut squash (1lb)
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock (32oz)
  • .5 tablespoon of olive oil (1.5oz)
  • .5 teaspoon of salt (.05oz)
  • .5 teaspoon of pepper (.05oz)
  • 1 pc of cinnamon stick (.1oz)
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic (.1oz)
  • 1 cup of apple cider (8oz)
  • .25 cup of orange juice (2oz)
  • .25 cup of water (2oz)
  • .5 teaspoon of ground ginger (.05oz)
  • .5 teaspoon of cardamom (.05oz)
  • 1 cup of red onions (4oz)


  1. Preheat oven to 450F and slice parsnips into thin ¼” coins. Peel and dice squash into 1/2” cubes.
  2. Toss both parsnips and squash in ½ of the oil salt and pepper. Lay vegetableson 14” x 16” tray (2’ x 4’ for 50) and bake for 20 minutes until slightly browned and soft.
  3. Slice onions and mince garlic.
  4. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent (about 10 minutes), sprinkle with ½ of the salt and pepper,
  5. Add the barley, stirring to coat with oil and onions. Add the cinnamon and the lemon, and then gradually add the vegetable broth. Allow to simmer for 30 minutes until barley is plump.
  6. Place the baked soft parsnips in a blender with ½ of the olive oil, ½ of the salt, ½ of the pepper, the apple cider, orange juice, water, ginger and cardamom. Blend mixture until it is creamy.
  7. Stir parsnip mixture into the cooked barley. Once the barley is well coated with parsnip cream, gently stir in baked squash.
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