Barley Beetroot Risotto

Barley replaces rice in this recipe, creating a flavorful, bright dish that’s best served with crumbled goat cheese.


  • 4 cups (1¼ l) vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, optional
  • 2 Tablespoons (28 g) butter
  • 1¼ cup (200 g) medium onion, peeled, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 beets quartered
  • 2 cups (60 g) fresh spinach
  • 1½ cup (300 g) barley, uncooked
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white wine
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • ½ cup (60 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup (120 g) goat cheese


  1. Place onions and garlic into the Vitamix container.
  2. Add water to float ingredients above the blades.
  3. Turn machine on and off to pulse 8 to 10 times. Drain and set aside.
  4. Place 2 cups (480 ml) of the vegetable broth, beet and thyme into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  5. Select Variable 1.
  6. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to the highest speed. Blend for 40 seconds.
  7. In a large sauce pan over high heat, add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent. Add spinach and sauté for 1 minute. Deglaze with white wine.
  8. Add barley and beet mixture. Cook over medium heat adding broth every 10 to 15 minutes until barley is fully cooked, about 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Finish with parmesan cheese.
  10. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese.

Chef's Notes

Beets contain a group of phytonutrient called betalains; it's what gives red beets their color. They are powerful antioxidants that also have detoxifying benefits.