Who doesn’t love risotto? The only problem is – it is normally a lot of rice, butter, stock, wine and oil.
This recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free, loaded with good fats and high in veggies and plant protein.
Because I love risotto but hate eating unhealthy food – I had to find a tasty healthy version which my non risotto eating husband would eat – he loves this recipe!
The recipe is basically the same as any classic risotto – but quicker to make. A chef would be horrified by my modifications – but my philosophy is – it must be nourishing and healthy to eat plus taste seriously good!
I always only eat organic where possible because it is healthier, but it also makes everything taste so much better! I buy all my fresh veggies from Rita’s Farm – highly recommend it if you live in Sydney and surrounds. I have only just found this farm – and have found a love for bought fresh veggies I never thought I would have – I usually only get excited about them when they come out of our garden, but these people grow amazingly delicious food.
This serves 4 people.
Olive oil – I recommend you use a generous amount to cook onions, garlic and arborio rice – no butter is used in this dish, just olive oil, cooked on low heat to preserve the polyphenols.
1 large onion diced
6 cloves garlic crushed or diced
1 ½ cups of arborio rice – I recommend you buy a good Italian one – supermarket versions become gluggy and taste gluggy. I like
1 litre Massel chicken style (vegan) stock – or the real thing warmed up in a small saucepan
¾ cup approximately frozen peas
1 cup frozen spinach – or 500 grams to 1 kilo fresh spinach
500 grams mushrooms – the size of a small punnet.
4 tablespoons fresh pesto – I cheat – I buy Rosa’s Gourmet Hemp Seed oil vegan pesto
½ cup pine nuts
Handful of fresh basil and oregano – don’t have to add these because the pesto is loaded with flavour – but I love fresh basil and oregano – so always add a extra pile
Himalayan salt to taste,
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Gently heat up the olive oil – keep the temperature right down.
Add diced onion and crushed garlic to olive oil – stir until it starts to caramelise.
Add arborio rice and stir through the oil, garlic, and onion, adding more oil if it needs it.
When it is all coated in olive oil, add a cup of stock whilst stirring and turn the heat up a little – keep stirring.
As the stock starts to evaporate- add another cup, turn the heat down and pop a lid on for a few minutes.
You can continue the whole cooking process as you would normally cook a risotto and keep adding stock and stirring till rice is cooked – but I like to have dinner ready in under ½ hour when possible – so I usually add the peas at this stage – and pop the lid on again.
As the stock is absorbed into the rice – I add more stock as well as the spinach – herbs, Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.
Stir and pop the lid on again.
When the rice starts to look as if it is nearly cooked, I add the mushrooms, pesto, and left over stock – I keep stirring and close the lid if need be or leave it open if it looks as if it may become gluggy.
With arborio rice – it can become gluggy very easily – so it is better to cook it a little dry and add extra stock.
In a separate frying pan I gently fry up the pine nuts – you can add a little olive oil if you like – but don’t leave them – the number of times I have come back to black pine nuts instead of lightly toasted is not worth sharing!
Once the rice is cooked, mushrooms softened (you don’t want to over cook them – they become chewy,) pesto warmed up – serve and sprinkle with pine nuts.
All the links are not sponsored – just put there to help you buy healthier options!