This fabulous vegetarian entree is one of the 15 gourmet recipes in my Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner Series! 

Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto is a perfect addition to the “World Tour Week’s” Menu! 

mushroom butternut barley risotto


Just as flavorful as it is filled will the colors of Autumn, Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto makes a lovely Fall vegetarian meal!

Roasting any kind of squash, but especially butternut, turns it into an absolute taste sensation!  Especially if you toss your chunks of squash in extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar!  They come out with crispy edges and get slightly caramelized.  YUM!

You’ll be making more barley than you’ll need for the risotto, because that’s all part of the Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner!  Since barley takes time to cook, I have you do that as part of the post-shopping prep before the week begins.

You’ll tuck a portion of the plain cooked barley into the refrigerator to make Beef Bourguignon Barley Soup for Saturday night dinner.  It’s served with crunchy and gooey Blue Cheese Toasts for a fast and delicious gourmet weekend repast!


beef bourguignon barley soup with blue cheese toast

You’ll find the recipe card for Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto at the bottom of this post.



Dessert, of course!  Another one of your tasks for “post-shopping prep” will be to make a luscious Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce!  

It’s fast and simple to make, and CAN last in your refrigerator for up to 4 weeks, but I warn you, it WON’T


homemade salted caramel sauce over fresh pineapple spears

Rich and buttery, this silky smooth caramel sauce is perfect with just a pinch of fluer de sel to give it a fabulous “finish”!  Served over fresh pineapple spears with your risotto, it’s a fabulous ending to your Weekday Gourmand meal. 



Ahh, now that’s the question to be answered!  In order to have a steaming bowl of soup on Saturday evening, you’ve got to make Weeknight Beef Bourguignon on Thursday!


weeknight beef bourguignon

The recipe for Weeknight Beef Bourguignon comes together from beginning to end in just under an hour!  That’s exactly why I chose it as a World Tour Week recipe of the Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner.

You’ll make it on Thursday with Overnight Thyme Parmesan Polenta and Haricots Verts with Pancetta Shallot Butter. I shared a picture of the dinner plate with you below.

Keep reading to see what’s on the rest of the World Tour Week’s menu.  If you’re serious about eating fabulous dinners all week long, then you’ll love my Weekday Gourmand’s Menu Planner Series.



weekday gourmand's meal plannerI’m thrilled to introduce you to a new series I’ll be featuring here at Ingredients For A Fabulous Life.  The Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner features 7 days of gourmet dinner menus, not just one recipe per day.

Periodically I’ll add a new week of fresh and creative gourmet menus and recipes for you to try at home.  I think you’ll love the “Weekday Gourmand” meal planning concept I’ve come up with for you.

Not only do you eat fabulous meals every night, my menu plans are created to use up all your ingredients too!  Yes, you’ll need some pancetta for WEEKNIGHT BEEF BOURGUIGNON and HARICOTS VERTS WITH SHALLOT- PANCETTA BUTTER on Thursday. 

But you’ll use up the rest making CRISPY PANCETTA RICE CAKES WITH TOMATO BASIL RELISH the very next day.  It’s just that simple!


Check out the entire Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner “WORLD TOUR WEEK” menus:

  • MONDAY – Char Siu Chinese BBQ Pork, Rice w/Green Onions & Almonds, Roasted Asian Broccoli
  • TUESDAY – Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto, Pineapple Spears with Salted Caramel Sauce & Toasted Almonds
  • WEDNESDAY – Steamed Chinese BBQ Pork Bao Buns or Pan-Fried Chinese BBQ Pork Dumplings, Simple Asian Slaw
  • THURSDAY – Weeknight Beef Bourguignon, Overnight Thyme-Parmesan Polenta and Haricots Verts with Pancetta-Shallot Butter
  • FRIDAY – Crispy Pancetta Rice Cakes with Tomato-Basil Relish, Cranberry & Caramel Baked Apples
  • SATURDAY – Beef Bourguignon Barley Soup, Blue Cheese Toasts
  • SUNDAY – Roman Gnocchi with Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce, Green Apple & Arugula Salad with Blue Cheese and Sugared Walnuts


beef bourguignon with polenta and green beans on platter


So, now you’ve got an arsenal filled with 15 fabulous weeknight gourmet recipes.  That’s great, but weekday gourmand's menu plannerhow do you work the “menu plan” itself?

I created my printable Weekday Gourmand’s 9 Page Meal Planner to help you execute the entire week’s menus.   Here’s what it contains, and how it will help you have a stress-free week of gourmet meals.  I’ve done all the thinking, planning and calculating for the whole week’s menu, so you won’t have to.  

  • “World Tour Week” Menu with Reused Ingredient Notations
  • Grocery Shopping Checklist with quantities noted
  • Post-Grocery Shopping Meal Prep Tasks to keep weeknights simple
  • Daily Meal Prep List
  • “Next Day’s Meal” Tasks to give you a head start on tomorrow’s dinner
  • Meal Planner Worksheet for you to make notes and help plan your week
  • Custom “Weekday Gourmand” 5″ x 7″ blank recipe cards because I love my readers!





Weekday Gourmand’s Meal Planner – World Tour Week Menus


YOU’RE NOT ON THE LIST YET?  Why not join in on the fun!

recipe cards for turkey rub and brineThere’s always something fabulous happening here at Ingredients For A Fabulous Life, you don’t want to miss out, do you?  

Join the IFAFL Email Subscriber List to get instant access to the IFAFL Resource Library and receive our twice-weekly emails.  Just fill out the form below and you’ll have exclusive access to all the FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOADS.

Come join the gang in our Facebook group and get in on the gabfest at, The Fab Life!  That’s where we show off our triumphs and share our pursuit of “the good life” with each other all week long.  




mushroom butternut barley risotto

Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Just as flavorful as it is filled will the colors of Autumn, Mushroom Butternut Barley Risotto makes a lovely Fall vegetarian meal!


  • Small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Pinch sugar
  • 3 cups Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp. garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup barley, uncooked
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 4-5 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss butternut squash cubes with oil, salt, pepper and sugar on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, tossing once, half way through cooking time. Let cool until needed.
  2. While squash is roasting, saute the sliced mushrooms in a large skillet with 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 tsp. oil until lightly browned. Don't crowd the pan, do 2 batches if necessary. Let cool until needed.
  3. In a second large saute pan, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Saute shallots and garlic for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add uncooked barley to pan, stir well to coat with oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally for 2 more minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Add white wine and let cook until the liquid has evaporated, stirring as needed.
  5. Add 4 cups vegetable stock/water, and simmer, uncovered, until all the liquid has evaporated, stirring as necessary during the cooking process. Test barley for doneness, adding more liquid if necessary.
  6. Once barley is cooked, add the spinach, reserved mushrooms and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir well to combine and wilt spinach leaves. Add squash, season with more salt and pepper as needed and garnish with remaining Parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 334Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 20mgSodium 252mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 7gSugar 7gProtein 10g

Calorie and fat counts will vary according to specific ingredients used in recipe and portion sizes.

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