Delicious and easy spring brown rice risotto with spring greens, carrots and asparagus. Healthy gluten-free dinner packed with spring flavors!
Risotto is one of my go-to dinner meals, and I can’t say enough how vibrant and simple it is. It’s so easy adjust it to the season and to your dietary needs: make it healthier by using brown rice instead of arborio rice, make it grain-free by using cauliflower rice, make it colorful by adding beetroot, make it with other grains like quinoa instead of rice. You can make risotto for dinner every day and never repeat and that’s the thing I love the most about it.
This healthy spring brown rice risotto is no exception. I used the same technique as I would for arborio risotto. Sautée garlic in a lug of olive oil. Add rice and stir well until translucent. Add warm stock, one ladle at a time and stir the rice frequently. It’s useful to keep it warm on the stove while you are making the risotto, as you will add it gradually until the rice is cooked. You can choose whatever stock you like/have. It sets the overall background flavor. I usually use homemade vegetable stock, that I freeze and use whenever I need for risotto, soups, sauces, etc. When the rice is done, add Parmesan cheese (or equivalent) and veggies and top it with a poached egg.
To make your risotto with brown rice instead of arborio, you will need more broth and a bit more time to make your rice done. To speed up the cooking time, I used a little trick: just cover the skillet with a lid for a short time, then stir and cover again. That way it takes no more than 30 minutes all together to prepare your risotto.
In terms of taste, you sacrifice some of the creaminess of arborio rice (which is possible to fix by adding more cheese), but you gain not only health benefits of brown rice, but also texture and nutty flavor.
The good thing is that risotto is a mess-free one pot dish, ideal for a weeknight dinner and it’s really easy to master. As you know from my previous posts, I’m having renovations in my kitchen at the moment, so I’m pretty much limited by the stove top dishes. I opt for one-pot, easy to make and mess-free dinners, which are still delicious and healthy. This spring brown rice risotto with asparagus is one of them.
I was improvising with spring greens recently, collecting wild garlic and stinging nettles in the forest. Wild garlic blossoms are incredibly delicious! They taste like wild garlic but a bit more mild with a gentle touch of honey. It’s truly a discovery for me! It’s really amazing how much forest has to offer besides usual mushrooms and berries, but not many people know it. My mother-in-law gave me a book about wild edible plants, so I will be trying to incorporate more of them in my recipes. I found a similar book in English (thanks, Amazon!), so you can also find useful information about what plants are edible in your region, identify them and use in your cooking.
Check the recipe for my spring risotto with asparagus and enjoy the spring flavors!
Spring Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + 3 more
- 2 medium-sized purple carrots (orange carrots are OK too), sliced
- 10-12 spears green asparagus lower third cut off, chopped
- 1/2 leek chopped
- 2 stalks green onions chopped
- 200 grams or 1 cup stinging nettles roughly chopped
- 100 grams or 1/2 cup wild garlic roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1500 ml or 6-7 cups vegetable broth
- 250 grams or 1 1/3 cups brown rice
- 2 sprigs thyme
- black pepper
- 50 grams or 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or any other hard cheese or vegan cheese
- 4 eggs omit if vegan
- 4 wild garlic blossoms to garnish
- PREPARE THE VEGGIES: In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots and sautée for 1 minute, then add asparagus and leek and sautée for 2 more minutes. Finally, add spring onions, stinging nettles and wild garlic and sautée for 1 more minute. Transfer to a plate.
- MAKE RISOTTO: Keep the broth warm on the stove while you are making the risotto. Put the same skillet back on the stove with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Sautée garlic for 1-2 minutes. Add rice and stir well until translucent. Make sure every rice grain is coated with oil. Add thyme and warm stock, one-two ladles at a time and stir the rice frequently. Cover the skillet with a lid when you are not stirring the risotto. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
- POACH EGGS: Beat an egg to the small bowl. Use a spoon to create a vortex in a pot of boiling water, then add an egg immediately. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon. Repeat with the rest of eggs.
- COMBINE:When you used all the vegetable broth and the rice is done, add Parmesan cheese (or any other hard cheese or vegan cheese) and sautéed vegetables and top it with a poached egg.
What is your favorite risotto? I’d love to hear your ideas!