Flex now, veg later

19 Dec

I suppose now would be the time to tell you that my husband is vegetarian and I am “flexitarian.” If you haven’t heard the term, it means someone who is not officially vegetarian but who chooses to eat very little meat. In fact, I am coining the phrase, “flex now, veg later” to reflect the fact that most likely, I’ll eventually end up vegetarian. I don’t particularly like meat, and I feel bad for the animals, especially since watching Food, Inc. (although, parenthetically, this documentary made me feel guilty about eating basically all food, not just meat). There’s just a couple of select meat items that I am going to have trouble giving up if I do officially become vegetarian. But I digress. The point is, you will rarely see me posting recipes that are not vegetarian.

Tonight I made baked risotto. This is probably my 3rd time making it, and I’ve made improvements each time. My recipe is very loosely based on one from “The Vegetarian Family Cookbook.” We borrowed it from the library and I would not recommend buying it. It is geared towards feeding kids vegetarian food, which is fine, but the result is food that is seriously lacking complex flavor. Nevertheless, I have made do (or is it “due”?) just fine by using the recipes in the cookbook as a “blank slate” and perfecting them with my adjustments.

It’s different for me every time, but here’s how I made it tonight:

Baked Risotto

Ingredients:
* 1 1/2 cups Aborio rice
* 4 cups vegetable broth (or stock)
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1/4 large onion, diced
* 1 zucchini, diced
* 1 cup frozen broccoli, defrosted and chopped
* 1 cup corn, defrosted
* Garlic salt, basil, thyme, salt, & pepper (or any seasonings of your choice)
* Freshly grated parmesan

Preparation:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F.

2. Combine the rice with the stock, 1 cup of water, garlic, and seasoning (just a few shakes of each spice).

3. Cover and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. At the third stirring, add another 1 cup of water. When done, the rice should have a tender and creamy texture.

4. As the rice is baking, prepare the vegetables. Add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they begin to become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and cook for another two minutes. Add the corn, broccoli, and the same seasonings you used in the rice (again, a few shakes around the pan). Cook until the veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. If they’re done before the rice, reduce to low heat.

5. When the rice is done, stir in the veggies. Let sit for 5 minutes.

6. Before serving, top generously with parmesan.

7. Enjoy!

(Makes 4-6 servings)

Now, you can be totally creative with what you put in this risotto. Red peppers are really good, but you can use whatever veggies or seasonings you have on hand. It’s a really easy recipe but it looks and tastes impressive. It’s amazing how creamy it gets when there is no cream in it!

Now that I have mastered the baked risotto, I think I’m going to tackle stovetop risotto next. I saw Butternut Squash risotto on 30 Minute Meals yesterday that looked delish, and quite straightforward.

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2 Responses to “Flex now, veg later”

  1. Anish Parikh April 12, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

    Hi! It’s Sara’s husband, Anish. Congrats on being featured!

    In this recipe, you mention using vegetable broth or stock. I know there’s a difference between the two for chicken, beef, etc., but is there a difference for vegetable?

    • yumtherapy April 12, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

      Hi Anish! Thank you! Yes, there is a difference between vegetable stock and broth, just like for chicken and beef. Vegetable stock is darker and has a stronger, more concentrated flavor. Broth is lighter and seems more watered down. Thanks for stopping by!

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