Risotto is a traditional northern Italian dish that has gained immense popularity all over the world. Arborio rice, cooked until just al dente, mixed with a variety of veggies and proteins, has become a staple on restaurant menus and in many peoples’ homes. And while traditional risotto recipes contain a heaping amount of butter, this vegetarian risotto is light, prepared with extra virgin olive oil and a medley of veggies and legumes that make it a healthy and nutritious lunch or dinner.
You can use any one of several rices to make risotto, such as Arborio, the easiest to find in North American supermarkets, or Vialone Nano or Carnaroli. After sauteeing your soffritto, made with celery, carrots, and onions, you’ll simply add your rice and lentils for a light toasting, and then stir in your liquid, along with your peas, for a slow simmer that only needs to be tended to with a spoon until your liquid is absorbed and your rice is a chewy texture and the pot has a creamy consistency.
Lentils and peas add lean protein and fiber to this delicious dish, making it a sustaining meal that won’t leave you cravings snacks. And since it’s packed with veggies, you’re getting a ton of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. This risotto recipe is easy enough to prepare on a weeknight, but has a beautiful presentation and a unique flavor that will impress guests at a dinner party. Take some leftovers to work for a satisfying lunch!
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1-1/2 cups risotto | Calories: 293 | Total Fat: 3 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 4 mg | Sodium: 167 mg | Carbohydrates: 52 g | Dietary Fiber: 11 g | Sugars: 5 g | Protein: 14 g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 8
- 2 stalks celery, minced
- 2 medium carrots, minced
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 cups hot vegetable broth
- 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
- 1 cup rice for risotto (like Arborio, Vialone Nano, Carnaroli)
- 1-1/2 cups frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes. After tossing together for about 10 minutes, add the lentils and rice then toast for 3 minutes.
- Pour half of the hot broth in the saucepan, let it boil then simmer on low heat.
- Add the frozen peas.
- Keep on ladling the remaining hot broth gradually while cooking. Stir frequently to avoid sticking to the pan.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- When the risotto is cooked, after about 17 minutes, and has a creamy consistency, turn off the fire.
- Add the Parmesan (adjust according to your taste) and the parsley then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve immediately.
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