There’s no denying it, England is pushing for Autumn. None of this Indian-Summer, sunshine-in-September messing about this year – it’s chilly and there are leaves on the floor already. Yes, there are plenty of negatives surrounding this, but lets focus on the positives. Cooler temperatures means more comfortable training sessions. Jumpers are big news this season and the shops are full of gorgeous little knitted numbers (see: River Island knitwear and Asos STAR-SHAPED elbow patch jumpers for confirmation of this on the high street). Autumn cooking means comfort food, and I love comfort food. Bit stodgy, bit warm, a whole lot of tasty.
A lot of people seem to think that comfort food does no equal healthy food. ‘Healthy food’ is salads and grilled chicken and summer berries and in winter you curl up and gain weight, culminating in a stodge fest at Christmas and a January waistline panic. This needn’t be the case, and I’m going to be posting a series of hearty and warming healthy recipes for the upcoming cooler months – starting now!
Risotto is bloody yummy – fact. It can also be a nutritional nightmare. Inspired by an idea I saw on the BBC Good Food website (bursting at the seams with healthy recipe ideas FYI) I made over my favourite mushroom risotto. My fussy boyfriend practically inhaled it, so it’s not just me who thinks it’s ridiculously good. It uses quinoa as well as rice for a protein boost and a lovely autumnal nutty flavour, packs in plenty of veg and is still creamy whilst being low in fat. Winner!
This recipe can be adapted for any type of risotto – I will post the basic formula at the bottom!
Healthy Mushroom Risotto
Servies 2 – Easily Doubled
75g Risotto Rice
1 Small Onion, chopped
1 Clove of Garlic
1 tsp Olive Oil
200g Mushrooms, chopped
1 Chicken Stock Cube
1 Pint Boiling Water
30g Extra Light Philadelphia
Broccoli (To Taste – I know that’s an odd thing to say!)
Add olive oil to a wide, high sided frying pan and heat on a moderate heat. Add chopped onion and fry for 3-5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms, season generously with black pepper and fry for a further 2-3 minutes (put the kettle on and boil the pint of water once you’ve added the mushroom!).
Add the dry rice and quinoa to the pan and fry for 1-2 minutes – keep the food moving in the pan so it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn the grains.
Add the pint of boiling water to the pan, sprinkle in the stock cube and crush the clove of garlic into the pan. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until nearly all the water is absorbed. Chop the broccoli (heads only) quite finely, so you have small chunks. Add to the pan for the last few minutes whilst the last of the water is being absorbed.
When all the water is absorbed, stir through the cream cheese (can be substituted for fat free fromage frais, or fat free natural yoghurt) until it’s all melted and serve! Can be served alone but I like it with a side salad of rocket and another sprinkle of black pepper!
Nutritional (Per Serving)
Per Person: 25g Quinoa, 62g (ish!) Risotto Rice and half a pint of water.
No matter how much water you’re using, only ever use one stock cube – they’re high in salt. Find extra flavour in herbs and spices!
Other ideas could be mixed vegetables, chicken (for an extra protein boost!) or chorizo sausage – use a small amount for flavour and then add beans, season with paprika and cayenne pepper! The risotto world is your oyster.