Mushrooms are rich in nutrients that have a direct effect on athletic performance, including selenium, a T-booster; and niacin, which increases blood flow to working muscles. They are one of the few nonfortified foods to contain vitamin D, which is crucial for improving muscle efficiency and function. Yet for most guys, mushrooms are often relegated to the status of salad ingredient.

In this wild mushroom and butternut barlotto recipe, three kinds of mushrooms get the spotlight, with butternut squash and pearl barley providing complex carbs to fuel your workout.

It’s not very high in protein, so you can serve this as a side dish alongside grilled chicken or fish, or add tofu to make it a robust vegetarian meal option.


  • 5 cups Low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups Pearl barley
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Medium butternut squash
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 Shallots, minced
  • 1 Garlic clove, sliced
  • 2 cups Maitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups Oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups Crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • ½ cup White rice
  • 2 cups Low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp Fine herbs (chopped chives, parsley, tarragon)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Bring chicken broth to a boil and add the barley and bay leaf.
  2. Cook for 30-35 minutes. Spread on a sheet pan to cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Peel the butternut squash. Cut off the bottom, split it down the center. Remove all seeds, then dice.
  5. Toss the squash with 2 tbsp olive oil, then place on a baking sheet. Cook in oven15–20 minutes.
  6. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add 3 tbsp olive oil, shallots, and garlic.
  7. “Sweat” the shallots and garlic, then add mushrooms. Sauté until tender.
  8. Deglaze the pan with white wine (heat until sauce forms).
  9. Add chicken broth, barley, and squash and continue to cook over medium heat.
  10. Once the barley begins to thicken, add cheese and finish with fine herbs.
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