Healthy, Vegan, but Absolutely Delicious Risotto

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I have been lucky to get my hands on a copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook, It’s All Good. I borrowed the book and it will be a very sad day when I have to finally return it so I have been on a rampage, making my way through the recipes quickly so I can take notes on all the good ones I liked! I owe Gwyneth an apology. Well not really, because I’m sure she doesn’t care that I thought she was a big old snob and I might have made fun of her for pretending she knew anything about cooking because every celeb thinks they can write a book or worse a cookbook. Most cannot but G.P. really can. Sorry for doubting you, G.P.!

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Literally every single recipe I’ve made from this book has been a winner. Whether it was a yogurt sauce or a burger (Thai chicken burger…look it up! I didn’t blog it but should have. It was delicious!) I’ve loved them all. This risotto was no different. She cut out all of the bad-for-you stuff that we all know and love and want to eat. I thought for sure I’d miss it all, especially the cheese, but this was so wonderful and full of flavor that I was glad that it was cheese free, and in turn post-dinner stomach ache free.

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This is perfect for a light summer dinner and its a simple dish to prepare, although laborious. When you have tons of great fresh herbs, flavorful veggie stock and lemon zest, you don’t need much else. Enjoy xo!

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely deiced
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minces
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cups baby spinach or other greens
  • 1 cup peas
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions (As exactly told by Gwyneth… she was right about my arm wanting to fall off.)

Warm the vegetable stock in a small saucepan and set it on the back burner over low heat. Using a Microplane grater or a zester, zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Cut the lemon in half, juice it, and set the juice aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan set over high heat. Add the onion and leek, turn the heat down to medium, and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic and thyme along with a big pinch of salt and cook until all the aromatics are, well, aromatic, another two minutes.

Turn the heat to high, add the rice and the reserved lemon juice, and stir to combine all the ingredients. Cook until the lemon juice is just evaporated and then stir in a ladleful of the warm stock. Continue to stir the risotto until the stock is absorbed, then stir in another ladleful of stock. Continue in this manner until the rice is cooked through and you’ve used all your stock, about 20 minutes.

At this point your arm should feel as if it’s going to fall off and the rice should be luxuriously creamy and rich. Stir in the reserved lemon zest, the greens and peas (these will cook with the risotto’s residual heat), the basil, and a few healthy grinds of pepper. Serve immediately.

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