Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

Hello everyone! I just wanted to thank you for viewing my blog yesterday. I was very surprised and happy to see how many people took a look. The dog above is my roommate’s dog. Her name is Stella and she is almost 8 months. She is a sweetheart and I had to post a picture of her.

Today I would like to dedicate some time to an inspiring post that I read yesterday. Sara Oullette, who is a Holistic Nutritionist, was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) just over a year ago. She did a post on how she struggled to become healthy again using whole natural foods, supplements, exercise and stress management. Please check out this link to see the article.

She also talked about her struggles with self-esteem through high school and even after. I think most women and even men can relate. The media is definitely to thank for that. Even from my own experience I suffered from years of self-esteem issues and have only truly started to feel good about myself very recently. Every woman has those days where they look in the mirror and think “I am fat today.” I still have those days. Check out this article by Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health. It is called “Look Good Naked or Love Yourself Naked?”

Sara suffered for years before she finally got real answers. It made me think about some of my experiences. I lost a lot of weight over the summer (I was still eating), I was exhausted, not sleeping and depressed. I had no idea what was wrong with me. On the first visit to the doctors they offered me anti-depressants before they even ran any tests. They eventually tested for many things such as diabetes, celiac and anemia. Everything came back negative and I was still stuck with no answers. When they finally stopped testing for things, I thought to myself, “wow, I am depressed.” I went to a naturopathic doctor, and finally she had answers. My adrenal glands were depleted, I had too much yeast in the body (can happen from taking antibiotics or eating too much refined sugar ; yeast feeds on sugar) and I was missing a lot of important vitamins in my body. Yes I was depressed but I now knew why. It felt so good to finally have some answers.

I took time off work to rest and build back my immune system and my adrenals. I got sick a lot over the winter and I am still in the process of improving my immune system. I put on a bit of weight and I now feel a lot more comfortable and healthier. Through diet, rest, exercise and vitamins I was able to overcome how I was feeling. I am still on that journey. It was people like Sara and the naturopathic doctor I seen who inspired me to become a Holistic Nutritionist.

So yesterday I went to the health food market and picked up a few things. I wanted to make a risotto for dinner. I made a Butternut Squash, Apple and Barley Risotto with Sage (and some maple syrup drizzled on top). I was not sure how it would turn out but it worked and I thought it was delicious. My measurements might be a little off. I forgot to write them down as I forgot I was going to post this recipe. It should be pretty close.


Butternut Squash, Apple and Barley Risotto with Sage

½ small butternut squash
1 cup barley
½ a small onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 litre of vegetable stock (water if you don’t have any)
1 organic apple diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
1 tbsp of organic butter (omit if vegan)
Pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg
Maple syrup to taste (I drizzled some on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the butternut squash and cut in half length wise. Removed the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and place flesh down on baking sheet. Bake for approx. 40 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, start sautéing your onions and garlic in a sauce pan for a few minutes. Add your barley and stir until toasted slightly. Add just enough stock to cover. Continue stirring constantly and adding more liquid as needed.
  3. As not everyone likes to sit there stirring a pot, I found once it was partially cooked I covered the pot and let it cook a bit and came back and stirred it every 3-5 minutes or so. The more you stir it the creamier it will get.
  4. Continue adding liquid as needed and stirring. Once almost cooked cover and let the rest of the liquid be absorbed.
  5.  Sauté your apples in a little bit of honey in a pan until cooked.
  6. When squash is done and cooled down a little, remove the skin and chop it finely or however you prefer. Fold it into the risotto with the apples. Season with salt and pepper and the butter.
  7. Put into dish, sprinkle with the chopped sage and drizzle with maple syrup.

Note: The barley also takes a while to cook so be patient.

I hope you enjoy the recipe. It was fun seeing if it was going to work out or not. If you don’t like barley you can try different types of rice such as brown rice or use Arborio which is what risotto is usually made with. I chose barley for its fibre and protein content.

Hope you all have a wonderful day! Thanks for reading my blog again!


2 responses to “Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

  1. i like your little stories, really makes me think,
    i’ve been feeling the same, exausted, depress and not sleeping
    i’ve been on anti0biotic a lot recently also.
    i will stay away from yeast products for a while.
    Now taking vitamins also to help my immune system.
    thanks for the information,

    • Thank you. I hope you feel better. I don`t know too much as I am not a nutritionist yet, but my friend Sara Ouellette (she is from sturgeon too) is one and she might be able to give you some better advice. Email her at sara@beyondvitality.com. Or if you have questions I could ask her for you too. Stress definitely leads to all those things as well. I was very stressed out even over the most little things.

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