This is a great side dish! Omit the risotto if you prefer to leave out the grain or substitute a little brown rice in place of the risotto. Add additional spinach if you want more “greens”. You can play with this recipe to make it your own. The recipe also includes cheese.

Butternut Squash Risotto with Spinach

2 1/2 to 3 cups of butternut squash peeled and chopped into bite sized cubes

2 tablespoons of olive oil

sea salt & pepper, to taste

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, grated

1 cup of barley

4 cups of vegetable, chicken, or beef stock

1 cup of baby spinach

1/2 cup of filtered water

1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese (raw milk cheese if possible)

3 teaspoons of butter

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (355 Fahrenheit).

2. Place the butternut pumpkin in a baking dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste and roast until softened and slightly golden brown.

3. Meanwhile, switch a rice cooker* on to cook mode and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened golden brown.

*(Cook the risotto on the stove top if you do not have a rice cooker. Be sure to stir and use extra stock if you want a softer risotto).

4. Add the barley and toss in the oil, onion and garlic to coat and then add the water. Cook until the water is almost completely absorbed before adding the stock.  Stir well and cover the rice cooker with the lid and cook 45 minutes or until the stock is mostly absorbed, stirring occasionally.

5. Add the roasted butternut pumpkin and cook for a few minutes, stirring to combine.  Check seasoning and adjust to taste.

6. Once the stock is almost absorbed add the butter and stir well to combine.  Just before serving add the baby spinach and cook until wilted.

7. Add the parmesan cheese and serve!