One of my all time favourite meals has to be risotto – I’m a huge lover of rice-based dishes; sweet or savoury, and have recently (unintentionally) converted my better half from feeling indifferent about the stuff to now often favouring it over pasta.
So if you’re also in the mood for some nutrient-dense comfort food, you’re in the right place

Warming Butternut & Kale Risotto

Serves 2 hungry people or 4 with small appetites


INGREDIENTS
– 1/4 cup brown rice
– 1/3 cup arborio rice
– 1/6 cup of wild rice
– 2  small shallots
– 2 large garlic cloves
– Tsp ground nutmeg
– Vegetable stock
– Thyme
– Basil
– Black pepper
– Vegan cream cheese
– Half medium butternut squash
– 3 medium sprigs of kale
– 3-4 button mushrooms

 

METHOD

  • Cube the squash in to 1-inch pieces (removing the skin) then finely chop the shallots and garlic
  • Add to a deep pot or pan on a medium heat (splash a bit of oil in if you like, or cook with intermittent glugs of water) and begin to soften the squash
  • Meanwhile, wash and slice the mushrooms then add to the pan after roughly 5 minutes; (you could also wash and shred the kale if you have time, although it doesn’t need to be added until near the end of the recipe)
  • Once the squash and mushrooms have partially cooked, transfer to a container and set aside
  • Wash the rice until the water runs clear and in the newly emptied pan, pour in the rice along with a generous tablespoon of vegetable stock, then proceed to cover with boiled water – sitting just shy of a centimetre above the rice. (Note that different types of rice have varied cooking times so you may want to stagger when you apply them to heat – I was lazy and didn’t, and it turned out just fine consistency and taste-wise)
  • Once the water starts to bubble, gently stir once or twice to stop the rice from sticking, then after a couple of minutes take the heat down slightly and bring to a calm simmer
  • As the water is absorbed, be sure to regularly top up to the same level as you started with until the rice is adequately swollen. Towards the last 5-10 minutes of cooking you will probably only need to add small splashes of water as required
  • Add a teaspoon of nutmeg, 4 sprigs of thyme and about 4 decently sized chopped basil leaves – I didn’t add any salt because the vegetable stock is already high in sodium, however a good sprinkling of black pepper works really well
  • Stir in the seasoning and adjust to taste, then proceed to add the vegetables back in to the pan
  • Mix regularly for about 20-30 minutes adding water if necessary plus a healthy 2-3 dollops of your DF cheese of choice
  • Keep stirring until the cheese melts and distributes evenly, then add the kale and continue to cook for 2 more minutes. By this point your rice should be glutinous but still have bite and the squash should be easily pierced with a knife
  • Serve with a side of freshly steamed broccoli and be sure to give yourself the bigger portion