Traditional risotto can be a labor-intensive process as you stand over the stove stirring, but the Instant Pot makes risotto pretty darn hands-off. Instead of using white rice, this recipe calls for pearled barley, which contains more fiber and nutrients, and has a creamy texture similar to risotto. Adding dried black-eyed peas, which cook along with the barley, makes this a complete and filling meal. If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, use another sturdy vegetable, like sweet potatoes or butternut squash, in their place, plus any other seasonings you like, such as fresh sage or rosemary. These options will become very tender and may partially dissolve into the sauce, making the resulting “risotto” even more creamy.
Prep: 10 minutes
Pressurize: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Natural Release: 10 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup pearled barley
½ cup dried black-eyed peas, unsoaked
2 cups water
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
1 generous handful baby spinach
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
1 Press Sauté and add the olive oil to the Instant Pot. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add the onion and mushrooms and sauté until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Press Cancel and stir in the garlic while the pot is still hot.
2 Add the thyme, barley, peas, and water and stir well. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing . Select Manual/Pressure Cook and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes.
3 When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
4 Stir in the salt, soy sauce, spinach, lemon juice, and Parmesan until the spinach wilts and the cheese melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, and serve immediately with additional Parmesan on the side. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 5 days.
MAKE IT VEGAN Omit the Parmesan and season with additional salt and lemon juice, to taste. Add ¼ cup nutritional yeast for an extra “cheesy” flavor, if you like.
MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE Use tamari instead of soy sauce and replace the barley with brown rice. Increase the pressure cooking time to 22 minutes, then blend the rice with an immersion blender after cooking to create a creamy texture, if desired.