Beet & Barley Risotto with Goat Cheese & Apples

This is not your traditional Thanksgiving side dish but it will be a welcome addition to the table for vegetarians and omnivores alike. The nutty tones of barley combine well with the sweetness of apple and the tangy goat cheese. The bright red color will add a splash to your spread. Or enjoy it any night with a salad and some crusty bread.
September 01, 2014


Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add onion, cooking until translucent (5 minutes), being careful not to brown. Add garlic and barley and sauté 2 minutes.

Add white wine and allow to evaporate (about 2–4 minutes). Add stock 1 ladle at a time (allowing the liquid to absorb before adding the next ladleful) and stir constantly until barley is tender, or for approximately 20 minutes.

Add beet juice and apples. Stir until liquid is reduced and “risotto” is a thicker consistency.

Remove from heat and add lemon zest, lemon juice, half the thyme, butter and ¼ cup goat cheese. Stir until combined and season to taste. Serve warm, garnished with remaining goat cheese and chopped thyme.

* If you don’t own a juicer simply purée 1–2 roasted beets in the blender until very smooth, adding a little water if needed. This can be done days in advance and refrigerated.

Recipe by Chef Marty Lyons, XO Café, Providence


  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, small diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • ½ cup beet juice (from roughly 1 large purple beet)*
  • ½ cup (1 whole) diced apple
  • Grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
  • 4 sprigs thyme, stemmed and chopped fine
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
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