Giving Risotto a Go

Whenever I see some form of risotto on the menu at a restaurant my eyes light up.

I’m not quite sure why I’ve never attempted to make my own, but tonight seemed like a good night to give it a go.

*Fantastic Recipe Alert!*

I followed a recipe for shrimp and zucchini barley risotto that I printed off a while ago but never got around to making.

That seems to happen to me a lot. I always flag recipes and forget about ’em a day later!

Tonight I was committed to making the risotto and purchased all the necessary ingredients at the grocery store with Ryan after work.

I was immediately intrigued by this particular risotto recipe because it called for barley rather than rice. I have never been much of a rice girl but I adore the nuttiness of barley.

The risotto came together pretty quickly and smelled heavenly.

Once it was ready, I served the risotto in a bowl on a bed of steamed broccoli.


My Bowl

My Bowl



Both Ryan and I gave this recipe two enthusiastic thumbs up.

I actually omitted the butter from the recipe and it still turned out savory, creamy and rich.

I will definitely be making this one again!


Dessert was oh-so-simple.

Coconut + Dark Chocolate Square

I enjoyed a coconut square, dipped in dark chocolate that Ryan brought back for me from his hiking trip.

It was sweet, sticky and the perfect conclusion to a yummy dinner.

Now we’re off to go pick up our save the dates from the printer! I can’t wait to see ’em! 😀

Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto

Ingredients (Makes four 1-cup servings)

  • 3 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup lightly pearled barley
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Bring broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan; keep warm.

2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and onion; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add barley; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

3. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup broth and salt. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes). Add shrimp; cook 4 minutes. Stir in cheese, butter, and pepper.

Nutritional Information: Calories 387, Fat 9g, Protein 26g, Carbs 52g, Fiber 10g, Cholesterol 97mg, Iron 3mg, Sodium 653mg, Calcium 200mg

Click here for seven healthy risotto recipes from, including the recipe detailed above.

29 Responses

  1. We love risotto! It is very delicious when made with some red or white wine, too. 🙂

  2. Love when a new recipe turns out fantastic! I don’t think I’ve ever made “real” risotto either. Just the boxed kind from Trader Joes, but it’s still always so tasty.

  3. Oooh I just ordered seafood risotto out for mother’s day dinner last night with my parents. So good!

  4. WOW Julie that looks so good!!!

  5. Ryan didn’t bring us any coconut squares 😦

  6. YUM! That sounds incredible! I made completely homemade mushroom risotto ages and ages ago and it was the BOMB.

  7. This looks delicious!!

  8. I love risotto, it is so easy to make yet so impressive! Next time you should add a squeeze of lemon juice, it give an amazing new dimension 🙂

  9. Risotto is probably one of my all-time fav dishes. My bf makes an awesome risotto with lemon and asparagus – sounds really simple – but its one of the best.

  10. seriously risotto is a HUGE favorite of mine! it’s so fancy but easy and always tastes great 🙂

  11. Yummy!! I have a sweet potato risotto recipe I tried forever ago and it was soooo good! I keep pushing it to the side, but after seeing yours, I’m more motivated to try it sooner!

  12. I’ve never tried risotto, but looks great!
    I like the dessert alittle more though 😉

  13. Popped in to say hi! That risotto looks great!

  14. did you alter the recipe when you made it by using less barley? it looks like there is just a small sprinkling of barley over a bowl of broccoli. I thought for risottos, the rice/barley was the main part of the dish

  15. Just have to tell you–I read your about me and I feel like we’re twins! I’m 5’6 and 3/4 almost 5’7, 125 lbs,and love to workout and indulge in peanut butter goodness! PB cookies, PB toast, PB on crackers, on a spoon from the jar….I think my favorite food in the world is a PB sandwich! But like you, I balance it with fitness and healthy light meals. Congrats on your upcoming wedding–I married my college sweetheart 4 years ago!

  16. Ahhhh, love risotto! Yum!

    That coconut square looks good too!

  17. This look so great. I love risotto, but the last time I made it it took so long I’ve been reluctant to cook it again. That coconut square is calling me.

  18. oooh i’ve never made risotto with barley but yours looks great! i’ve got a couple risotto recipes on my blog that you should check out. they were delicious!

  19. oh wow Julie that looks excellent. It is so fun to try out new recipes and even better when they work out and taste amazing!

  20. I’ve never even tried risotto, but it sure does look good!

  21. I love risotto and make i on occasion, though I’ve only ever made it with rice. Great recipe!

  22. Oh wow!! That recipe looks awesome and I’ve been looking for a tasty way to try barley so I’ll definitely be giving it a go!

  23. Very cool idea the cottage/ricotta/chocolate mix… I always have those in the house! I have to try that!! 🙂

  24. […] figured I would loosely follow last week’s recipe, but sub out some of the ingredients and include different veggies in the […]

  25. […] Lunch: This was inspired by Miss Julie‘s risotto post a few days ago. I have never tried barley before (well, I probably have, but […]

  26. I just made this and I LOVE it! I don’t really like rice so the barley was a great addition. and my boyfriend loved it too! Thanks 🙂

  27. […] much the main ingredient. So you can guess how excited I was when I came upon this recipe for Shrimp and Zucchini Barley Risotto on which she borrowed from Just like Julie (from Peanut Butter Fingers), […]

  28. I love the “Fantastic recipe alert”! Need more of these! I made this last night for me and my husband. He was very skeptical because our last risotto recipe turned out so bad we threw it away, neither of us could make ourselves eat it. But we easily ate over half of this (over broccoli which made it even better) and have the rest stashed in the fridge as leftovers. It got a “definitely make again” rating in this household!

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