Heart warming green risotto

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

Risotto is one of the most heart warming dishes in my eyes. Maybe it’s the carbohydrate dense rice, maybe the delicious creaminess, maybe just the love that goes into each little stir whilst it’s cooking, whatever it is there is something about it that makes it comfort food.

I play around with different varieties in risotto all the time for our family, swapping in different vegetables, cheeses, no cheese options and using nutritional yeast, swapping rice for buckwheat or quinoa, you name it I’ve probably tried it. This Green Risotto however I kept to more or less to the original idea of arborio rice and really amped up the green factor and as we enjoyed it at dinner, my darling Jet (9 years old) turned to me and said, “mum, this is definitely your best risotto yet”. As if the love and comfort of the risotto wasn’t enough, those words just about made me melt.

One of the wonderful things about this recipe in particular is that (minus the broccoli but you may have some of it on hand in the freezer too!) you can pull together this recipe from your pantry and freezer and that’s about it. So it’s worth having a little supply of frozen veggies in the freezer box, because you never know how they’ll make what might seem a boring night of dinner become something very beautiful instead.

Enjoy this recipe my friends, it’s won hearts in our home, I have faith it will do in yours too.


Serves 4

Gluten free : Vegetarian

1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium (180g) brown onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1 1/2 (430g) cups arborio rice

150g frozen spinach

1375-1500ml salt reduced vegetable stock or broth

300g frozen peas

150g (1 small head) broccoli, grated

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup parmesan or 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast for vegan option

3 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice such as dill or parsley, finely chopped to serve

sea salt and black pepper

Heat a large saucepan on medium heat, add olive oil, onion and garlic, cover and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add arborio rice and cook a further 2-3 minutes, until rice is lightly golden, stirring frequently (it’s all about a good stir with risotto!)

Add frozen spinach and 1 cup stock, stir and allow the rice to absorb most of the stock before adding the next cup, repeat until about 1L of stock is used, always stir frequently to stop rice sticking to base of pot.

Add peas, broccoli and lemon zest and about 300ml stock (there is more in ingredient list in case you find yours evaporates too quickly and you need a little extra), stir and cook until peas are defrosted and tender, if you need a touch more stock to loosen it at this stage, then add.

Remove from heat, stir through parmesan or nutritional yeast, season with sea salt and black pepper and serve with your choice of herbs and a crunchy green salad.

You can make this a side dish of course to any protein you might like to serve it with such as grilled fish.