We’re back in the kitchen for today’s post, with a recipe for a delicious and healthy spring risotto.
May and June are such funny months here in Los Angeles. After a winter heatwave in February I’m now back in cosy sweaters and tights. Not that I’m complaining… I don’t think I could bear it to be perfectly sunny and warm every day.
Plus it’s one of my favorite times of year to spend in the kitchen, making hearty salads and broth based soups. Transitional seasons are good like that.
On the menu this week is a divine spring risotto — a lighter take on a classic comfort food. This is a creamy, dreamy bowl of goodness, despite cutting back on the butter and cheese. You can serve it as it, or toss through some cooked chicken or fish before.
Now, before we dive into the recipe I want to point out something that might seem glaringly obvious…
Yes. This is a big bowl of carbs for dinner.
No. I don’t have a problem with that.
In my experience, as soon as something is off limits we just want more of it, and that’s when we go overboard.
Personally I have a terrific fondness for carbohydrates! Bread? Yep. Rice? Of course. Pasta? Love it. Croissants? Hell yeah!
While I don’t necessarily eat these things at every meal, I always think of these words from my amazing Nan:
“Everything in moderation…including moderation”
You don’t need to completely overhaul your diet to boost your health, and you don’t need to give up your favorite comfort foods. Simple, strategic swaps can elevate a treat to being delicious AND nutritious. Try the 10 suggestions below this week.
Simple Ingredient Swaps, To Lighten Up Your Plate This Spring
1. Replace highly processed white bread with a low sugar, dense bread, such as sourdough or rye.
2. Replace sour cream with probiotic rich Greek yogurt.
3. Replace fruit juice (it’s packed with sugar) with whole fruit.
4. Replace white rice with brown rice.
5. Replace store-bought trail mix with raw nuts and dark chocolate.
6. Try using stock or broth during cooking, and use the olive oil for drizzling and dressings.
7. Use less salt and boost flavor with herbs and spices.
8. Replace artificial sweeteners with real sugar, and just use less of it.
9. Try using vegetable noodles on occasion, instead of always turning to pasta.
10. Pack your baked treats with healthy additions, such as these black bean brownies.
It’s tips like this that have turned this risotto from being a heavy, calorically dense dish, into a light and fresh spring time favorite. So let’s get cooking!
This recipe has been adapted from “Risotto With Peas + Greens” found in the cookbook “It’s All Good” by Gwyneth Paltrow.
- 4 cups (1 quart) low sodium chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- Coarse sea salt
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 cups baby spinach or arugula
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped fresh herbs (I used a combination of basil, parsley and dill)
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put your stock in a small saucepan on the back burner of your stove. Bring it to a simmer, with a ladle or large spoon nearby.
Using a zester or fine grater, zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Cut the lemon in half and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot, set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat to medium, and cook until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You don’t want the garlic to brown.
Add the rice to the pot and squeeze in the juice from both halves of the lemon. Stir to combine, until the lemon juice has evaporated.
(This is the slow part; enjoy the process!)
Add a ladleful of the warm stock to the pot and stir, gently and continuously, until the stock is absorbed by the rice, then add another ladleful of stock and repeat.
Continue this process until the rice is cooked through and you’ve used all your stock, about 20 minutes.
Finally, stir in the reserved lemon zest, the greens and peas, the fresh herbs, grated parmesan, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.
Now I’d Love To Hear From You
Did you like this recipe? I hope so! What’s an easy ingredient swap that you can make today, to add a little more nutrition to your plate? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Jennifer Dene XO
You might also like:
How to make avocado chocolate mousse