When co-writing my first book, Root and Nourish, with Jennifer Kurdyla, this adaptogenic risotto was one recipe that we knew had to make the cut. It’s everything that this book was meant to embody: a focus on women’s health and the nourishing, tasty, beneficial ways that meals can be enjoyed time and time again. This risotto is a savory take on creamy comfort food, as well as being a fresh take on a traditional family meal with a healthy dose of adaptogens. The shiitake mushrooms deliver an adaptogenic boost by enhancing cognitive function and providing a feeling of wellbeing that supports us when we are overwhelmed or need to overcome deficiencies.*
If you’ve been relying on powdered mushrooms to get in those daily immune-boosters, now’s the time to rediscover the power of their original, whole-food form. As you stir, watch closely how the dried mushrooms spring to life. As the steam wafts toward your face, let their aromas harmonize with the umami of the thyme and nettles: another great springtime bitter herb that helps to balance excess moisture. Awareness of the ways foods naturally work together is one of the many small pleasures that making this meal provides.
Vegan Mushroom Risotto with Spinach and Nettles
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked white basmati rice, soaked overnight or at least 1 hour
- 1 oz. organic dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp. dried organic nettles
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3 cups organic vegetable broth
- 3 organic garlic cloves, minced
- 1 organic shallot, minced
- 1-2 Tbsp. water
- 1 lb. organic white mushrooms, chopped
- 8 oz. baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, chopped
- 1/3 cup organic rice vinegar
- Leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs organic thyme
- 1/4 cup organic vegan parmesan (There is a DIY recipe for this in Root and Nourish)
- 1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
- 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
- Splash of plant “mylk”
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Fresh parsley, for garnish
- Drain and rinse the rice two or three times, until the water runs clear, then set aside.
- Put the dried mushrooms and the nettles in a medium bowl and add the boiling water. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pour vegetable broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer.
- Combine the garlic, shallot, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium skillet and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until fragrant and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, adding more water if the pan gets too dry.
- Add the white and baby bella mushrooms to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in rice vinegar and cook for about 5 minutes more, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Drain the soaked mushrooms through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid.
- Put the rehydrated mushrooms back into the skillet with the thyme leaves and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cover.
- Pour the rice into a large pot or Dutch oven.
- Add 1 cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add 1 cup simmering broth and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed.
- Continue adding the mushroom liquid and then the simmering broth in 1-cup increments, stirring continuously and letting the rice absorb each addition before adding the next.
- The rice should be very creamy but still a bit chewy.
- Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the plant parmesan.
- Add the mushrooms, then the spinach and peas. Stir to combine well and let stand until the spinach wilts. (The heat of the pot will wilt the spinach in a few minutes, but lightly covering the pot will expedite the process.) If the mixture gets less creamy, stir in a splash of plant mylk.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with fresh parsley and more parmesan, as desired.
- Do your fresh herbs wilt before you get a chance to use them? Revive greens like parsley, basil, and cilantro by giving them a bath in cold water. Simply chop the herbs how you would like to use them, add to a bowl with water, give them a swirl with your hand, and set in the refrigerator until ready to use; you can also store the herbs in the cold water in a container for up to 2 days. The water will perk up wilted leaves, as well as help remove any dirt or debris that a regular rinse in a sieve doesn't catch.
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*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only