With March being National Nutrition Month, I wanted to share a recipe that is packed with quality ingredients but also tastes delicious. I really love risotto. There’s nothing better than a good, healthy risotto recipe. This is vegetarian, but I bet carnivores would love this with some sliced sausage or chicken in it.
Unfortunately, many risottos are made with arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice that doesn’t have many healthy benefits. The difference between brown rice and white rice is that brown rice is the whole grain with just the outer layer removed, leaving a healthy dose of fiber and nutrients. White rice is technically brown rice that has been processed further removing the other layers, which in turn removes a great deal of fiber and nutrients. For this dish I chose a sprouted organic brown rice, but you can easily use a short grain brown rice as well. Sprouted brown rice is basically brown rice that is able to germinate by being soaked prior to cooking. There are many nutritional advantages for sprouting the brown rice, one being that the nutrients become more soluble thus making them much easier to absorb. Many studies also indicate that when these grains are sprouted, they produce an amino acid called GABA which has been linked to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, boosting the immune system and reducing sleeplessness . Grains that aren’t sprouted can lead to poor digestion as well inflammation in the gut.
I also added quinoa to my risotto to increase the fiber and protein content. Quinoa is actually a seed but is primarily marketed as a grain due to its nutty texture. It contains all of the essential amino acids which makes it high in protein. Quinoa is so versatile and adds a boost of nutrition to any dish.
Kale is a leafy-green powerhouse of nutrition. It is packed with iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and many antioxidants and nutrients. I chose to use low sodium broth and soup, which saves many grams of unwanted and unnecessary sodium. I strongly believe that we should enjoy everything in moderation. These Parmesan Crisps add a wonderful, crunchy texture to this dish. And doesn’t everything taste a little better with some cheese?
I adore Pacific Foods and love their products. I felt so honored when they reached out to me to be their featured blogger for March, which just so happens to be National Nutrition Month (pretty awesome). They wanted me to create a recipe using their Organic Butternut Squash Soup. There were so many recipes I could create, but I really was in the mood for risotto 😉
- For risotto:
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large granny smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- ¾ cup organic sprouted brown rice (can also use short grain brown rice but it may take less time to cook, check package instructions)
- 1 ¾ cup Pacific Organic Vegetable Broth
- 1 ¼ cup Pacific Organic Butternut Squash Soup
- 1-3 cups water, however many to reach desired consistency
- 4 cups organic kale, ends trimmed
- 2 sage leaves, chopped finely
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- For Parmesan Crisps:
- 1 tablespoon organic unsalted butter
- 6 heaping tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for approximately 3-4 minutes until they soften.
- Add apple, quinoa, rice, broth and soup. Stir until blended and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and cook for approximately 45 minutes making sure to stir every 10 minutes or so. Cook until rice is tender and al dente. While rice is cooking you can prepare Parmesan crisps (see below).
- When rice is tender, add chopped kale, stir and cover again for another 5 minutes until kale is wilted.
- Top with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan Crisps. Serve immediately.
- Parmesan Crisps:
- Heat butter in a large skillet until bubbly.
- Spoon the fresh grated cheese onto the butter, pressing down firmly with the back of the spoon, making 6 bite sized crisps.
- After about two minutes, turn over and cook both sides until both sides are golden brown.
- Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes to harden.
- Remove crisps from the skillet and place on top of risotto.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Pacific Foods. The wonderful people at Pacific Foods compensated me for the time spent developing and photographing this recipe. However, like always, the opinions are entirely my own. Promise My sponsors help make this blog possible.
I really care about the quality of the products I use to create recipes for my family. I continue to use products that I trust, like Pacific Foods that offer certified organic and non- GMO foods.
Ok, back to the awesomeness that I call risotto…
Right??? I have several weaknesses and risotto is definitely one of them. I also had some quinoa that I made with the leftover Butternut Squash Soup. Who knew something so simple could be so delicious?
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do! I will be making this again very soon… and then have something chocolate and peanut butter for dessert 🙂