Recipe for Vegan Mushroom Barley Risotto from Chef Sandy Le

Chef Sandy Le shared with us this delicious recipe for Vegan Mushroom Barley Risotto. This dish is an imitation of the Classic Mushroom Risotto, altered by using barley in place of arborio rice. It’s also dairy-free! An all-time comfort food for the cosy fall months to come.

Recipe for Vegan Mushroom Barley Risotto

Vegan Mushroom Barley Risotto


  • 1 cup Pearl Barley
  • 2 cups of Water
  • ¼ cup White Wine (optional)
  • ¼ cup (35g) Dried Porcini Mushroom
  • 2 cups of Hot Water
  • 3 tbsp. EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • 2 minced Shallots
  • 2-3 cloves of minced Garlic
  • ½ cup sliced King Oyster Mushrooms
  • ½ cup Shimeji Mushrooms
  • ¼ cup sliced Asparagus or Green Peas
  • 1 pinch of Dried Thyme
  • 2 pinches of Dried Oregano
  • 3 tbsp. chopped Parsley
  • ½ tsp. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1-1.5 tsp. Salt
  • Micro Greens for garnish (optional)


1. Soak the porcini mushroom in the hot water for 10-15 minutes.

2. Remove the mushroom from the water and rough chop into small pieces. Save the mushroom liquid as it will be the stock for the risotto.

3. In a very hot pot, add in olive oil and tilt the pot around to ensure that it’s evenly coated. Turn down the heat to med-high.

4. Saute the shallot for about 30 seconds or until it’s slightly transparent.

5. Add in the mushroom mix and cook for few minutes or until it’s caramelized.

6. Stir in the garlic. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC!

7. Once the garlic is slightly coloured, add in the wine to deglaze the pot.

8. Pour in water and the mushroom liquid.

9. Add in barley, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.

10. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium-low heat.

11. Stir occasionally and cook for about 30-35 minutes.

12. Taste the barley to ensure it’s al dente. Add more water if needed.

13. Check the seasoning

14. Add in the asparagus.

15. Turn off the heat and cover the lid for 5 minutes.

16. Remove the lid and sprinkle the parsley over it.


About Chef Sandy Le:

I’m a Red Seal Chef with over 20 years of experience. My journey began when I enrolled in the Asian Culinary Arts Program at VCC. It was on impulse; I had no desire to become a chef as I always wanted to be a math teacher. The purpose of taking the program was to learn to cook delicious meals for my family. After finishing the Asian Culinary Arts Program, I also enrolled in the Culinary Arts Program. I also figured that it would be nice to learn to cook Western Cuisine as well. Upon the completion of my program, my mother-in-law tried persuading me into dentistry. The idea of looking at people’s teeth all day is not what I want as a career. I convinced my mother-in-law that, since I’ve already spent a pretty penny on my culinary courses, I should give it a go and see if it’s something I would consider. As it turns out, I have never looked back since. I guess you could say that I stumbled into this amazing path! Life is funny that way. As of today, my mother-in-law is still waiting for the day that I will leave this industry.

Currently, I am only working part-time at Penang Bistro, as my husband has enrolled me back in school to take some Business courses. My last employment was with the Pan Pacific Hotel. I was a Commis 1 for nearly 5 years. Prior to that, I was the Sous Chef of Nook Restaurant on Denman. I was also there for nearly 5 years. My earlier years include Cheshire Cheese Inn (Dunbar), Hollyburn Country Club, EA, Fish On Rice, and Pacifico Pizzeria.


About Demian Vernieri 520 Articles
Demian is an Argentinian retired musician, avid gamer and editor for the Montréal Guardian, Toronto Guardian, Calgary Guardian and Vancouver Guardian websites.