For anyone who wants a healthier version of a risotto this may be the recipe for you (any risotto purists may want to look away now). It is made using brown rice instead of white rice and for anyone who wants to avoid dairy, I use a cashew cream instead of parmesan cheese. Also, I have skipped the wine. It's dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free. Despite this the end result is quite creamy due to the addition of the cashew lemon cream. It's quite a comforting dish and perfect eaten from a bowl with a spoon. This recipe serves about three decent sized servings.
For the risotto
1 cup of brown rice
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of peas
2 cups of vegetable stock
1/2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to season
For the cashew lemon cream
1 cup of cashews (soaked in hot water for an hour)
Juice of a lemon
1 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons of water
A pinch of salt
1. Bring two cups of water to the boil in a saucepan and add the brown rice to the saucepan. Cook at a simmer for about 15 minutes (until the rice is semi-tender).
2. Wait about ten minutes and then heat half a tablespoon of olive oil in another saucepan on a medium heat and add the onion and cook for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or so. The rice should be cooking for about 15 minutes at this stage. Drain it and add it to the saucepan with the onion and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the stock to the saucepan about a half cup at a time, stirring regularly. The rice will start to absorb the water. As you are doing this, you can prepare the peas and the cashew lemon cream at the same time.
3. Cook the peas in boiling water in a separate saucepan for about five minutes, draining off the water when done and setting aside.
4. To prepare the cashew lemon cream, drain the water from the cashews and add the cashews to a blender along with the other ingredients. Blend until a smooth cream is formed.
5. Returning to the risotto, once all the stock has been added to the risotto and most of the stock has been absorbed by the rice, add the peas and about three quarters of the cashew lemon cream to the risotto and stir to combine. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.
4. To serve, spoon into shallow bowls and top with a dollop of the remaining cashew lemon cream and a few mint leaves.