Risotto is a comfort food that I adore—especially as the weather turns colder. But whole grain risotto is not easily found on restaurant menus. So this is one dish I prefer to make at home.
Since traditional preparation of risotto can take a bit of time and patience, I’m sharing with you my cheater’s version! Simply use short grain brown rice for an excellent risotto-style entrée that’s easier and more intriguing than the conventional version. Luckily, this kind of cheating is a good thing! The short grain rice provides a perfectly sticky texture that’s ideal for risotto making.
Here, I’ve gone seasonal and used fresh pumpkin and sage. Creaminess and tang is provided by yogurt and just the right amount of cheese. All you need to do next is pair it with a protein rich appetizer, such as edamame, or a side, like white bean salad, to round out the meal completely and deliciously!
Calories saved: 120
Why it’s better for you? Pumpkin, whole grains, and healthy fats!
Did you know? You can pledge to go meatless this Monday! Click here!
- 3 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste, divided
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 cups fresh pumpkin or butternut squash cubes (10 ounces; about 1/2-inch cubes)
- 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage + additional sage for garnish
- 3 tablespoons plain low-fat Icelandic-style yogurt or quark
- 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 tablespoons crumbled blue or goat cheese
- Bring the broth, rice, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the rice is cooked through yet firm, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large (PFOA-free) nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, pumpkin, vinegar, chopped sage, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, increase heat to medium-high, and sauté until the onion and pumpkin are lightly caramelized, about 6 to 7 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until the pumpkin is fork tender, shaking the pan a few times during cooking, about 5 minutes. Remove lid.
- Transfer the cooked rice to the pumpkin mixture in the skillet. Add the yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and the blue cheese, and cook while gently stirring until evenly combined, about 1 minute.
- Transfer into individual bowls or hollowed out personal-sized pumpkins, sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan, garnish as desired with sage, and serve.
Per serving: 400 calories, 9g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 830mg sodium, 68g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 5g sugars, 10g protein
The “Before” Version
Inspired by classic risotto
Per serving: 520 calories, 23g total fat, 13g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 55mg cholesterol, 850mg sodium, 61g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 1g sugars, 16g protein
- Swap in short grain brown rice instead of Arborio rice for a simpler, nuttier tasting risotto
- Incorporate a seasonal vegetable, like pumpkin, into risotto for color, texture, and taste
- Add a combination of yogurt and high flavored cheese to get plenty of deliciousness and creaminess without extra calories