Risotto is one of those things I’ve always liked the taste of, but I could never quite bear how it made me feel after eating it. Arborio rice (the rice that is used in a typical risotto) is particularly starchy, so can easily leave you feeling bloated and heavy after you’ve consumed a whole bowl of it in one go. Pair that with a rich, cheesy sauce as many risotto recipes do and you’ve got a combination that leaves many people feeling pretty darn rubbish.
I’m a bit of a quinoa addict, so it seemed only natural to substitute it in favour of mucho starchio arborio. Quinoa is everything arborio is not – it’s low GI, low in starch, low carb, high protein, high fibre, the list goes on. One thing quinoa does have in common with its nutrient poor (very distant, perhaps by marriage and many times removed) relation is that they are both great at soaking up the flavours in the risotto, which is just what is required of you if you’re a grain coming to the risotto party.
The only thing I would say about arborio (I feel a bit bad after dissing it so much when it can’t even defend itself) is that it is very creamy, which isn’t SO much the case with quinoa, as it’s due to all that starch. But starch is for shirts, not for dinner, so I’ve used a splash of tahini to create that lovely creaminess in this dish.
Butternut squash is just so comforting and has such an incredible sweet flavour, as well as being packed with anti-oxidants and vitamin A (which is great for creating flawless skin and also for immune system and eye health). It also really adds to the creamy texture of this dish, as well as adding a hint of nuttiness – but I guess the clue is in the name! As autumn fast approaches (sob) we’re consoling ourselves in the fact that butternut and it’s other squashy friends are now piled high on the supermarket shelves – silver linings hey! This dish is just so nourishing and filling, without the stodge of your average risotto – it’s well worth a try, even if I do say so myself!
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tbsp tahini
- 4 tbsp ground almonds
- A handful of coriander, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
Chop the butternut squash into cubes and boil in a saucepan until soft. Drain off the water and in a bowl roughly mash until it becomes a chunky purée.
Boil the quinoa in a saucepan for 10 minutes. While this is cooking, fry the garlic and spices in the olive oil, then add in the butternut mash. Once the quinoa has cooked, drain it and add it in, along with the tahini, nutritional yeast and ground almonds.
Once all the ingredients are stirred in, simmer on a low heat for around 10 minutes, then grab a bowl and dig in!
Love, Mrs H xx