Don’t lie- a part of you is surprised to see this featured. Contrary to popular belief, a yummy risotto doesn’t always have to include cream, butter, and cheese. Fortunately, the texture of risotto rice (Arborio rice) is itself creamy and so those ingredients aren’t even necessary. If made correctly, risotto can actually be extremely healthy and great on the waist line. The recipe below serves 2 portions:
In a pot, dry fry an onion and garlic until they soften and are almost transparent in color. Add in 100g of uncooked risotto rice and sliced chili and continually stir to soak up any juices from the onion for a few seconds. Pour in a whole tin of tomatoes. Gradually add in 750 ml of vegetable stock, allowing for the stock to be absorbed by the rice before adding more until all of the stock has been added to the pan.
Lastly, add to the pan the chopped vegetables such as celery, courgettes, peppers, mushrooms, and sweetcorn, and allow the rice to simmer. Be sure to stir regularly until the vegetables are to your liking. If you prefer particularly well done soft vegetables, turn the heat down and cover the pan to trap in the steam and retain the goodness in the vegetables.
**I sometimes add in cooked prawns which complement it nicely.
Mushroom rice pilaf
Place a pot over medium heat and cover it with low fat spray oil. Sautee some onions and garlic until browned, and then add in some dill. Once you have cooked the dill, garlic, and onions for a few minutes, add in some peas and chopped mushrooms. After sautéing for a few minutes, add the rice, boiling water, stock cube, bay leaf, cinnamon clove and black peppercorns. Once boiling, leave the rice to simmer until cooked.
Wasabi baked tofu with brown rice & cashew nut stir fry
Something about this vegan-friendly meal has a real detoxifying feel to it. Along with being full of goodness, it’s also extremeley flavoursome.
- Slice up the tofu (or cut them in chunks if you prefer a meatier texture) and place it on foil.
- For the marinade: mix together chopped spring onions, soy sauce, and as much wasabi as your nostrils can handle.
- Pour the marinade on top of the tofu and then bake it in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the tofu has gotten crispy. Flip the tofu and cook for a little bit longer so that the other side is also crisp. **
On a heated skillet, stir fry garlic and spring onions. In terms of quantity, the Chinese thrive on the flavour of spring onions so use as much as possible. After a few minutes, add in the cashews (I halved them) and your favourite assortment of vegetables. For ideas, I used:
Once they are cooked, add in soy sauce (and 2 teaspoons of teriyaki sauce if you have any in) and a few more spring onions.
**I find that baking tofu gives it a nicer and crispier texture compared to stir frying
Sushi salad bowl with baked tofu
This is basically sushi without all that rolling jazz. One of my really good friends who is a vegetarian LOVES sushi! I never understood this, purely because the idea of vegetarian sushi just seems tragic without the fish. Although I got to say, the tofu makes a mean protein alternative and I didn’t miss the salmon/tuna which I would usually opt for.
- Marinade it in your sauce of preference, I used a mixture of sweet chilli sauce and soy sauce. Bake it in the oven to give it a crispy texture (see the recipe above for how to do so)
- Once cooked, mix it with vinegar (preferably rice vinegar but both normal or white wine vinegar will work). This will give the rice a flavour and texture similar to sushi.
- mushrooms (stir fried)
- broccoli (blanched)
- diced carrots (blanched)
- diced pepper
- cucumber sticks
- chopped scallions (the green bit)
- avocado (if you’re a fan- I’m not)
- nori sheet (crumbled)
Mix it all together, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and then refrigerate. Enjoy with wasabi, soy sauce, and ginger if you like (bleh again!).
*Making brown rice can be tricky so this ratio might be helpful: 1.5 cups water to 1 cup rice.