nutritionist Chelsea

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21 Simple, Quick, & Easy Meals

How to Use Risotto as a Vehicle for Vegetable

How to Use Risotto as a Vehicle for Vegetable

Sometimes it is hard to reach your target vegetable intake

Do you ever feel uninspired to eat your veggies? Is it hard to find creative ways to incorporate veggies into every meal?

The great news is that risotto can act as a vehicle to get your vegetables

The creaminess of risotto, along with its filling power, makes dinner a delight. The plainness of arborio rice allows you to add any vegetables you want to it! The result: an appealing, delicious, gourmet, and filling meal that also helps you meet your vegetable targets.

Risotto is easy and quick (I have a hint for you here!)

You have probably avoided making risotto because of its reputation of being time-intensive and laborious. One technique in making risotto is to stand over your pot, adding one ladle of hot stock at a time, stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid, and then adding another ladle. This technique results in a very creamy rice dish after 30 minutes, but it is quite labor intensive. Need some time to yourself and your thoughts? I find this long technique therapeutic in a sense: stir, ladle, stir, ladle and on and on. No time for the long therapeutic technique? Well, here's your Hint: during the cooking process, simply pour in all of your stock into the rice, cover, and simmer, unattended, for 20 minutes. Voila! Low-maintenance risotto is ready!

Here are your ingredients and directions:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter (Hint: make sure it is unsalted, because salt can mask rancidity) 
1/2 to 1 red onion diced (depends on the size and how much red onion you would like-I used half of one large red onion) 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice (must be arborio to make creamy risotto!) 
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/2 white wine (I used Pinot Grigio) 
7 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 bunches asparagus, cut into bite-size pieces
3 cups spinach (I prefer baby spinach, but you could also use kale) 
1/2 cup good Parmesan cheese 

Heat vegetable stock in saucepan. In a dutch oven, saute red onion over medium heat in hot olive oil and butter mixture, until red onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add rice, making sure to coat each grain with mixture. Add turmeric, saffron, and white wine to deglaze bottom.

Hint: Saffron adds gorgeous color-here's how

 Place saffron in bowl, and mash/break it into a powder using the butt of a wooden spoon (or use a mortar and pestle if you have one), then rinse bowl with water and pour into rice. It will look like this:

Add hot broth, stir, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add asparagus, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cheese and spinach. Taste, seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve and enjoy! (Serves 6)

Why: Certain added vegetables have properties that prevent cancer

The allium family of vegetables (think garlic and onions) have phytonutrients (i.e. plant compounds) that impede the growth of cancer! Rule of thumb, the stinkier the vegetable and the more colorful the vegetable, the more protective properties it has. Hint: choose red onions over yellow onions, as the anthocyanin color in red onions provides antioxidants.

P.S. Check this diagram out:

Applying the Precautionary Principle to Nutrition and Cancer

4 Ingredient Pasta in Under 15 Minutes

4 Ingredient Pasta in Under 15 Minutes