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Creamy Pumpkin Barley with Sausage

This creamy pumpkin barley with sausage is comforting, hearty and an easy fall meal. It’s similar to risotto with a bit more chew from the barley and a heck of a lot quicker to make.

Yesterday, we hiked 6.6 miles to a decrepit fire tower on top of Fontana Lake in North Carolina.

It was a 2 hour trip up with about 1.99 of them at a minimum 45% incline.

The winds were blowing so hard, trees were bending and snapping everywhere around us and all I could picture was the scene in Twister where the telephone pole thing smashed through the windshield piercing that dude through the head.

Except minus the twister and the windshield part…

Creamy pumpkin barley with sausage

We were freezing, wind blown and exhausted by the time we got back to the car almost 4 hours later and you know what sounded great?

A big bowl of this creamy pumpkin barley.

Instead though, we got gas in the only town with cell service within about an hour driving distance and pulled into the McDonald’s drive through attached to it.

Not my finest moment.

Creamy pumpkin barley and sausage

I have such fond memories of my mom making risotto on cold weather days in the fall and winter (never in the summer) that I wanted to try to recreate that with this pumpkin barley.

The only thing about risotto I can’t stand is the time and patience it requires.

Who wants to slowly ladle in broth spoonful by spoonful waiting for the rice to absorb it as you stand over the stove for almost an hour.

Yeah, not me.

Sometimes I will though for this creamy vegan mushroom risotto, it’s THAT good.

Pumpkin barley with sausage

The thing I love about risotto, however, is that creaminess and Silk works perfectly in this recipe with the pumpkin to bring plenty of that to each bite.

The chew and heartiness of the barley beats out rice any day in my opinion and the quicker cooking time for the whole thing makes this a healthy but comforting meal you can easily get on the table for a weeknight dinner.

Creamy pumpkin barley

The added salty sausage gives it heartiness and staying power similar to this polenta sausage skillet.

Try air frying sausage to top this bowl of pumpkin barley for an alternative method. It makes the recipe even easier!

You could even stir in some baby spinach for a little greenery and a complete meal.

Or, serve with a nice dinner salad alongside. 

Looking for more savory pumpkin recipes? Try one of these:

Parmesan Pumpkin Scones
Creamy Pumpkin Garlic Pasta with Tuscan Kale
Creamy Cauliflower Pumpkin Mash
Pumpkin Tortilla Casserole

Want some more ideas of how to use barley? Try this barley beet and goat cheese salad or a summer barley salad for warmer months.

Creamy Pumpkin Barley with Sausage

This creamy pumpkin barley with sausage is comforting, hearty and an easy fall meal. It’s similar to risotto with a bit more chew from the barley and a heck of a lot quicker to make.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 1 cup barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 pound ground sausage
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Original Almondmilk
  • 1 cup broth any kind: chicken, vegetable, beef
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


  • Combine barley and water in a small sauce pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook covered until the water has been fully absorbed. Turn off heat and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, cook sausage in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until browned. Remove sausage to a dish and set aside.
  • Lower heat to medium and melt butter in the pot.
  • Once melted, add the flour and whisk until incorporated with the butter.
  • Add the Silk, broth and pumpkin and whisk until thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cooked barley to the pot and stir.
  • Season with the smoked paprika, sage, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper is necessary and serve immediately with more parmesan and sage for garnish.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1SERVING | Calories: 516kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1196mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Cuisine American
Course Main Dishes
Keyword creamy pumpkin barley, creamy pumpkin barley with sausage, pumpkin barley with sausage

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

Recipe Rating

Paul Brown

Monday 26th of December 2022

I’m all about 30 minute meals. I don’t have time for complicated in my life! Who does?

Kelly Hubbard

Thursday 9th of September 2021

This looks tasty but might I suggest that you swap cage-free organic for pastured organic. From what I know, it seems like a kinder option!

Joseph Donahue

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

I love to cook in my crockpot! Thank you for the great recipes! There are so many to choose from and now I have to see which one or ones I want to try first. Thank you.


Wednesday 12th of February 2020

Amazing recipe! I added a few drops of liquid smoke to the recipe, complimented the sausage well :)


Tuesday 3rd of November 2015

Can you substitute the barley for something gluten free?

Running to the Kitchen

Tuesday 3rd of November 2015

Sure, quinoa or gf oats would probably work. Might have to play with the wet ingredient ratios a bit as I haven't tried it but just start with less and you can always add more if need be.