This week I am doing the Welfare Challenge to bring awareness to the inadequacy of welfare rates in BC. Here in our beautiful province, a person on welfare receives only $610 per month. When this is broken down and basic accommodation, phone, and personal hygiene are accounted for, only $18 per week is left for food. World Food Day is just around the corner on October 16th, making this a good time for us to take on the challenge and experience how difficult living off a strict food budget can be. I’m only on Day 2 and can only imagine the stress and weight that someone trying to feed themselves or a family may feel. I am fortunate enough to have the background and education to be able to make healthy and smart food choices on a budget and already I feel better equipped to help those that may not be. With the help of some foraging, this Chanterelle Barley Risotto with Kale and Mung Beans can be prepared for just under $0.45 per serving.
“Mung beans are an inexpensive source of protein, as well as dietary fibre, magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate and other B-vitamins”
Getting to spend the weekend in the magical Tofino, BC is always a treat. This time it was all about getting into the water and filling our bellies with yummy wholesome food. We did, however, take some time to forage for some fall-season delights. Chanterelles grow well in the rainy coastal climate, and despite being a popular tourist destination we managed to get quite the load in less than an hour. Chanterelles are easy to identify and have very few look-a-likes on the island – see my post Hunter Gatherer Part 1: Chanterelles for some tips on how you can forage these gems for yourself.
This chanterelle barley risotto is similar to my post 2 years ago Pearled Barley Risotto with Fresh Asparagus and Mushrooms which celebrated spring-time asparagus. When prepping for the Welfare Challenge I was surprised to find out that barley is much cheaper than most rice varieties, sometimes half the price! Barley has the added benefit of being a source of protein as well as beta-glucans which are known for their cholesterol-lowering ability. Paired with inexpensive kale, locally harvested wild mushrooms, and earthy flavoured mung beans, this healthy well-balanced dish helped kick off the Welfare Challenge.
Chanterelle Barley Risotto with Kale and Mung Beans Recipe
- 1 tbsp. butter organic
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 heaped cups chanterelle mushrooms fresh
- 1/2 cup mung beans dry
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 cup pot barley dry
- 1/2 cup white wine or vegetable stock
- 4 cups vegetable stock + 2 cup water (organic stock if possible)
- 4 heaped cups kale raw
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- To prepare the mung beans add them to a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer until cooked through, usually about 35-40 minutes.
- Make sure the chanterelles are cleaned well and rid of any dirt, then cut into even pieces.
- Next, heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and add the butter. Gently cook the garlic for 30 seconds and then add the chanterelles and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until chanterelles are cooked through. Chanterelles will release all their moisture and go soggy if the pan is crowded, so it is best if a larger frying pan is used to avoid crowding or do in two batches. Season and set aside.
- Heat a larger saucepan or frying pan and add the olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook the onion for about 3 minutes or until it is translucent. Next, add the barley and gently fry for about 30 seconds. Now add the 1/2 cup of stock or wine and let cook until the liquid has evaporated.
- Proper risotto requires only a small amount of stock or water to be added at a time and cooked down and then more added. A barley risotto is likely not going to require this step, so the rest of the stock and water can be added at once. Let simmer until all the liquid has evaporated, taste to ensure barley is cooked through.
- Once the barley is cooked, add the kale, Parmesan cheese if using, cooked chanterelles and prepared mung beans. Taste and season as needed.
Make it vegan: omit the Parmesan cheese and use nutritional yeast. Use olive oil in place of butter.
Don't have chanterelles: Use any mushroom, being sure to saute them first in a pan with butter or olive oil and avoid crowding the pan.
Nutritional Information for Chanterelle Barley Risotto with Kale and Mung Beans
Amount per 1 of 6 servings
Total Fat: 7.4g
Saturated Fat: 2.4g
Vitamin C: 45mg
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.