A whole grain risotto providing much more vitamins and minerals than a traditional Arborio rice risotto is particularly beneficial for digestive health and balancing blood sugar. This vibrant green dish is packed with B vitamins, iron, magnesium, antioxidants, fibre and protein due to the blanched beans, peas and leafy greens. Stirred though is a pesto-puree bursting with fresh garden greens, toasted seeds, lemon and a subtle umami flavour.
For the Risotto
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 small leek, trimmed and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced/grated
- 150g whole grain risotto rice, soaked for 6 hours or overnight
- 800ml hot vegetable stock (or 800ml boiled water with 2 tsp bouillon powder)
- 100g broad beans
- 100g asparagus tips, chopped into 1.5 inch pieces
- 1 tsp white miso paste
For the Garden Greens Pesto Puree
- 50g garden peas
- 30g spinach
- 15g fresh basil
- 10g fresh parsley
- 5g fresh mint, leaves only
- 30g seeds (a mix of sunflower and pumpkin work well), toasted
- X1 lemon, zest and juice
- 2tsp nutritional yeast
- A generous pinch of sea salt
- A pinch of black pepper
To serve / to garnish:
- micro greens e.g. pea shoots and radish, fresh herbs, toasted seeds, lemon wedge
- In a medium saucepan on a low heat, gently sweat the leek with the oil and a pinch of salt for 3-5 minutes until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook for two minutes.
- Rinse the soaked rice and add to the pan with the cooked leeks. Stir for 1-2 minutes until the grains appear shiny. This enhances flavour and helps the rice to cook into separate grains, preventing them from sticking.
- Pour in 2 ladles of vegetable stock and gently simmer over a low-medium heat with the lid ajar. Continue to add more stock only when the rest has been absorbed. It should take approximately 35-45 minutes for the risotto rice to cook. You may not need to use all of the stock.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil.
- Prepare a large mixing bowl and fill it with ice-cold water.
- Once the water is boiling, add the broad beans and blanch for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon remove the beans and shock them in the ice cold water. Blanching and shocking helps to loosen the skin and also retains the freshness, the vibrant colour and enhances the retention of vitamins and nutrients in vegetables.
- Remove the tough outer skin by pinching or squeezing the bean to pop it out of the skin. Set the peeled beans to the side.
- Once the pot of water is boiling again, blanch the asparagus for 1 minute and then shock in the ice cold water. Set aside with the broad beans.
- Once the water is boiling again, blanch the peas for 1 minute and shock in the ice cold water. Add to a blender and set aside.
- Blanch the spinach, basil, parsley and mint for 10-15 seconds and again shock in the ice cold water. Remove using a slotted spoon and place in the blender with the peas. Add the toasted seeds, freshly grated lemon zest and squeezed juice (discard the pips), salt and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. If the mixture is too thick, add a splash of the ‘blanch’ water to thin it out. You want the consistency and texture to be between a puree and a pesto.
- Once the risotto rice is cooked but still retains a bite, stir through the pesto puree, broad beans, asparagus and miso paste and cook for 2 minutes until heated through.
- Divide the risotto into two portions and top with microgreens, fresh herbs, toasted seeds and a wedge of lemon. Serve immediately.
If you can’t get hold of whole grain risotto rice, use short grain brown rice. The pesto puree can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge. Soaked rice helps to improve digestion and speed cooking time. Allergens: soy (white miso paste)