20. April 2013

Vegetable studded Lemon Risotto

Sometimes it is all about comfort food. You know, there are days when I feel like I should have stayed in bed because nothing is working out. Then I normally go to the kitchen, chop up some vegetables and cook myself a risotto. Making risotto is equally therapeutical as cooking a large portion of oatmeal or pasta sauce. Stir, stir, stir yout little heart out.
Stirring a pot full of creamy things and the smell of onions never fails to make me feel better. When I want a very hearty dish, I add mushrooms. As a vegetarian you always have to get creative with your food. Hearty meals are something that remind me of my childhood and family gatherings. Since there were no vegetarians in my family back then, meals were always centered around a meat dish. Once in a while I crave the meaty flavor without having the urge to actually grab a piece of meat. Then I reach for mushrooms since they contain this hearty and somewhat heavy flavor of a steak.

The recipe:
The risotto is actually quite simple. I just added a few vegetables to lighten things up and make it a comforting but still healthy dish. Roasted eggplant is one of my favorite things in the world and I think it pairs well with the lemon. I wanted some spinach in it, too, because green things aren’t just pretty additions to every meal, but are also very nutritious.
If you feel like it, you can also add some goat’s cheese to the risotto, but I think it is not needed.
I hope you enjoy this creamy, (vegan) vegetable studded risotto as much as I do!

Vegetable studded Lemon Risotto
(Serves 2 as a main dish)

1 heaping tsp coconut oil
½ sweet onion, minced
2 large brown (or portabello) mushrooms, about 2 cups (150g), finely chopped
3/4 cup (140g) risotto rice
About 2 cups (500ml) vegetable broth
Zest of ½ lemon
(Salt and pepper if needed)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 eggplant, chopped
Salt and pepper

2 large handfuls young spinach leaves

In a pot heat coconut oil. Add minced onion and chopped mushrooms and cook on medium heat for a few minutes until the onion gets translucent. Then add the rice and stir. Add about  (1 ½ cups) 400ml of vegetable broth. Bring risotto to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Cook the rice for about 25 minutes. Stir frequently and add vegetable broth as needed.
I used 2 cups (500ml) total, but feel free to add more if you want it creamier.

While the risotto cooks, fry eggplant in a nonsticking pan. I kept the heat relatively high, to achieve nice brown cubes. Season with salt and pepper when the eggplant is done (after approx. 15 minutes ) and set aside.

Wash spinach leaves and remove stems. Set aside.

When the risotto is done, add fried eggplant and lemon zest and stir to combine.
Then add spinach leaves and fold into the hot risotto. There should be enough heat to wilt the spinach. Cover risotto with a lid and let rest for a few minutes. Serve immediately.

What do you make yourself when you are feeling low?


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