Creamy Broccoli & Lemon Risotto

I love the flavors in my last post for oven roasted chili & garlic broccoli so much that I wanted to make it into an actual meal.  Risotto, being so versatile and delicious, seemed like the perfect fit!

Brown rice is naturally gluten-free and an excellent source of valuable nutrients. A grain of rice has several layers and brown rice, unlike white rice, still has most of its nutrient dense outer layers intact. These outer layers cause brown rice to be darker, slightly firmer, and way more beneficial for our bodies compared to white rice.  Fiber, essentials fatty acids, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and B vitamins are just some of the important nutrients naturally present in the precious outer layers of brown rice.

Consuming brown rice is beneficial to our waistline along with our health. Studies show that women who regularly eat whole grains, such as brown rice, consistently weight less than women who regularly eat refined grains, such as white rice.  Furthermore, women who regularly consume fiber from whole grains are less likely to gain weight compared to women who consume refined grains.

Creamy Broccoli & Lemon Risotto

Makes 4 servings

4 cups low sodium vegetable broth or water *see recipe note below**

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 red chili, diced (de-seed or use less chili for a milder flavor)

1 cup medium or short grain brown rice (such as Biona Brown Risotto Rice)

1/4 teaspoon each: sea salt and pepper

1 small bunch broccoli, chopped into bit-size pieces (about 1.75 cups broccoli pieces)

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Pour broth or water in a saucepan and keep warm over low heat.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and slightly translucent.  Add garlic and chili and cook for an additional 3 minutes.  Stir in rice and let it toast, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes.  Add 1 cup of warmed broth, sea salt, and pepper; simmer over medium-low heat until liquid has mostly absorbed, stirring often.  Continue to add the warmed broth, 2 ladles at a time, stirring frequently.  Cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed before adding more broth.  Continue to cook until the rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, about 30-40 minutes. Stir in broccoli pieces, lemon zest and juice.  Top with Parmesan cheese (optional) and serve.

Nutrition facts per serving (without Parmesan cheese): 290 calories, 10 g total fat, 270 mg sodium, 46 g total carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 6 g protein

Nutrition facts per serving (with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese per serving): 344 calories, 13 g total fat, 461 mg sodium, 47 g total carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 11 g protein

Recipe Note: The amount of liquid needed and cooking time in this recipe largely depend on the rice you are using.  To be fair it also depends on the consistency of risotto you prefer.  Some types of rice take more liquid and a larger cooking time, while others might require the exact opposite.  I have found the best way to deal with this variance in rice is to always have enough liquid on hand, just in case, and taste the risotto throughout the cooking process to get the perfect consistency for you.

BALANCE IT OUT: This creamy risotto can make an excellent light meal on its own.  Pair it will grilled fish, chicken, or a large green salad for a more substantial well-balanced meal.

Lots of Love,

Renee

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