Beet Risotto with Tahini Gingered Peas
Time for a little raw truth. After Sam’s pregnancy, I now feel some serious camaraderie with my husband. I used to laugh at how my hubby would pack on pounds during my pregnancies. Heck, I would even accuse him of stealing food from his unborn babies. Hahaha! The joke is on me….now that my business partner/best friend has birthed a beautiful baby boy, I’m like, “wait? Why do I have baby weight?” UGH! It’s simple really. Sam and I spend a crazy amount of time together, so it’s pretty easy for simple things like a couple of extra snacks and some allowances for dessert to happen without even thinking about it. Coupled with fewer opportunities to hit the gym with my usual workout buddy, and you have a recipe for “baby weight.” Maybe now it’s time to recommit myself to healthy habits and making a change. Heck, maybe Sam and I should compete for who can loose the couple of extra baby pounds faster. Haha, I say this as I nibble an oreo cookie while sitting on the couch. Eegads, change needs to commence! Thankfully, I can rely on comfort food still, by just giving it a little vegan twist. Hello risotto!
With this risotto, I like to chop my beets into 1/4″ thick cubes so that they have a chance to soften quickly and bleed out as much of their color as possible. Start by sautéing the beets, onions, and arborio rice in olive oil. Saute and stir the rice until the edges look a bit translucent. Then add all the wine and stir until almost completely evaporated.
The rest of the risotto journey is about slowly adding the hot vegetable stock a cup at a time, while continuously stirring. The goal is to cook the rice until tender while maintaining a creamy texture. I feel like everyone who loves risotto has a very specific texture that they like. I prefer to have a rather loose risotto with a good amount of “gravy” created by the liquid content and the rice starches….but it’s your call!
Typically, I love to finish my risottos with a solid hit of parmesan cheese. However, since I wanted to create a vegan dish influenced by spring, I choose to bypass the cheese and go for a little bit of nutritional yeast. Just make sure to balance the dish with enough salt, so that the nutritional yeast gives you that satisfying cheesy vibe.
Now that my risotto is all done and no longer needs babysitting, it’s time to bust out my sauce for the peas. This whips up fast in a food processor! Just add the tahini, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger (don’t bother peeling!), fresh mint and a tablespoon of water. Whizzzz it up until you have a smooth, creamy sauce.
I gently warmed my frozen peas before dressing them. I like to just barely cook them, so that the color and nutritional value is all in tact!
Serve these beautiful colors piled in a shallow bowl or plate, and top off with some more fresh mint for a happy flavor marriage.
Honestly, I’m not sure that I can stop smiling when I see colors like this! Seriously! It’s like a Leprechaun on Valentine’s Day! It is just so darn beautiful! Vegan never looked so sexy!
A beautiful way to enjoy the bounty of spring with lots of flavor. Though vegan, the peas give this dish a wallop of protein! 9 grams of protein for every cup of peas! Comfort food never looked so pretty!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 beets, cut into 1/4" cubes
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 5 cups vegetable stock (or more if you want risotto looser)
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 bag frozen, defrosted (or fresh petit peas)
- 1 inch ginger
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp water
Start by setting out your peas to defrost. I like to use frozen because they are picked after ripening on the vine and then flash frozen for optimal nutritional value.
Begin by making your risotto. Add your diced beets and onion into a large pan with olive oil. Saute until the onions are soft, then add in your Arborio rice. Saute the rice in the hot veggie and olive oil mixture until the rice becomes a bit translucent around the edges. At which point, add the white wine all at once. Keep things stirring until the wine has largely evaporated. Now add one cup at a time of hot vegetable broth, stirring until partially absorbed before adding another cup. Continue stirring and adding hot vegetable broth until your rice is tender and creamy (about 30 minutes). Then add the nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste.
Now that your risotto is finished, it is time to make the sauce for your protein packed peas. Just throw the ginger, tahini, honey, lemon juice, zest, mint, and water into a food processor and let it do the work for you! Make sure to season the sauce with salt and then just mix it into your peas!
To serve, pile your risotto onto a plate and top with the peas. You can serve the peas at room temperature or warm them gently in a pot. Whatever your preference. I just tend to not heat them too hot, so as to preserve as many naturally occurring enzymes as possible...good for your digestion! Bon appetit!