A successful risotto does have to be rich and creamy, but doesn’t have to contain any dairy. This week, let’s take a look at what makes a delicious risotto.
Risotto is a traditional Italian rice dish, usually made with a short-grain, white, starchy rice called Arborio rice. Although Arborio is the standard rice to use when making risotto, you can use any rice you like. If your rice is not a high starch variety, the dish may not be as creamy, however, I will teach you a few tricks to enhance the creaminess of any rice. For example, I chose organic brown basmati rice for its nutritional value when I created this dish the other day, and it was amazingly rich and creamy!
The first trick in creating a scrumptious rice dish is to slightly sauté the rice before adding the liquid to it. This will release its nutty, and to my apparently weird olfactory senses, chocolaty, aroma. Divine scent, really! Then, adding the liquid, either vegetable broth or water, or both, must be done a little at a time to allow slow absorption, while stirring constantly. This method will release whatever starchiness is contained in the rice and hence, the desired creamy texture begins to form.
My last secret weapon in the kitchen for creating an irresistible creamy risotto is adding nutritional yeast and Tahini once the rice is cooked. These two ingredients add to the richness and the nutritional yeast contributes a slightly cheesy flavour, which is typically achieved with parmesan cheese for non-vegans. We have also omitted the butter which is common in conventional risotto recipes. Minus the parmesan and butter in this vegan risotto, but definitely no lack in the deliciousness department. Remember, in the vegan kitchen and elsewhere, just forget the box, and let creativity lead the way!
Indulge in this luxurious, exquisite dish, without any animal products whatsoever! Enjoy, in joy and in health!
Green Vegetable Sesame Risotto
2 cups brown basmati rice
4 cups Swiss chard or spinach, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped
1 ½ cups green Cuban peppers
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups purified water (OR 2 cups vegetable broth and 2 cups water)
1 tablespoon oregano
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup Tahini
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 clove of minced garlic. Cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes. Add rice and stir, allowing the rice grains to be covered in hot oil. Sauté for an additional 7-8 minutes.
2. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and 2 cups of water or vegetable broth. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed – about 15-20 minutes. Add 2 more cups water. Taste rice and if desired consistency is reached, set aside. If still too crunchy for your taste, add a little more water until satisfactory. Rice should be al dente.
3. Add Tahini, sesame seeds and nutritional yeast to rice and set aside.
4. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 clove of garlic. Toss in zucchini and stir. Add oregano and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Once cooked, add zucchini, including garlic and oil, to rice mixture. Set aside.
5. In your large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 clove of garlic. Toss in Cuban peppers. Add 1 teaspoon sea salt. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add Swiss chard and cook another 5 minutes.
6. Once the vegetables are cooked, add them to the rice mixture.
7. Add chopped parsley to rice and stir. Heat rice over low heat until warm. Add black pepper and more sea salt if desired. Serve warm.
“They know enough who know how to learn.” ~Henry Brooks Adams
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