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Roasted butternut squash risotto: vegan, dairy free, gluten free

Posted Oct 27 2012 5:38am

I am obsessed with squash at the moment, like really really obsessed. I’ve started eating it at almost every meal. I guess when I start eating it for breakfast I’ll know I’ve gone a little too far, but at the moment I’m loving it and this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. It’s such an amazing autumnal dish, so perfectly warming and comforting for the cold weather.

Risotto is something I’ve been missing a lot. I used to eat it all the time, it was my go-to cold weather dish but sadly the normal white rice just does not do good things for me, or for that matter, anyone else. This brown rice version, however, is just divine. The ultimate replacement! It’s so healthy and filled with tons of fibre, which means it keeps you happily full for hours.

The flavours and textures are actually perfect. I love how the bite sized cubes of cumin and paprika roasted squash melt against the creamy risotto in each mouthful. The spices really serve to give the dish such a beautifully deep, rich flavour, while the addition of apple cider vinegar and a little lemon ensure a tanginess that intensifies all the existing aromas.

Despite not having any cheese or cream this dish is still so incredibly creamy, thanks to the combination of blended squash with nutritional yeast, which is my new favourite ingredient. It’s something I’ve only really discovered recently but I am obsessed. It gives such an incredible flavour to dishes which are missing their traditional cheesiness. I know it sounds weird but it really does recreate that distinctive flavour. Even better, it is so good for you as it is a complete protein, which is particularly rich in the B vitamins. Don’t worry though, it’s not like adding normal yeast to your food – it’s from a totally different strain and is deactivated so it won’t turn your body into a candida feeding ground!

Honestly the whole thing is just amazing, I was so excited when I first made it.

If you feel like spicing it up a little, and making it even more nutritious you can always add some more veggies. I normally go for peas, broccoli or zucchini, as they all complement the existing deliciousness and add a variety of great new textures.

Also, whilst I did use brown risotto rice, this really is not essential – it works equally well with normal brown rice!

My favourite brown risotto rice:

The nutritional yeast I’ve been using

Serves 2:

- 2 butternut squash

- ¾ of a cup of brown risotto rice

- 1/3 of a cup of nutritional yeast

- 4 – 5 dessertspoons of apple cider vinegar

- 2 teaspoons of paprika

- 2 teaspoons of cumin

- a handful of fresh coriander

- 2 sage leaves

- a squeeze of lemon

- olive oil

- salt & pepper

Start by cooking the rice, this will take about an hour. Add salt in the beginning to flavour it. You’ll need to continue stirring the rice and adding more boiling water, make sure the rice never runs out of water until it is cooked.

Meanwhile chop the squash into bite-sized squares. Places the squares onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, the torn up sage leaves, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake this at 190C for 15 minutes, until the cubes are perfectly soft and delicious. Roasting the squash really brings out the flavour, making it much more delicious than it it was steamed.

Then put three quarters of the squash into a blender of food processor with 2 dessertspoons of water, the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Blend until a smooth creamy consistency forms.

Once the rice is about 5 minutes away from being cooked, and there is very little to no water left, stir in the creamy squash mix. Then add the remaining pieces of squash.

As it finishes cooking finely chop the coriander leaves and sprinkle them into the risotto, and you’re ready to go. Enjoy.


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