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Asparagus, Spinach and Walnut Risotto

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1 tbsp coconut oil

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 cup uncooked short grain brown rice, rinsed

4 cups vegetable stock/broth (if using stock cubes, dissolve 1 cube in 4 cups boiling water)

¼ cup walnut pieces

¼ cup pine nuts

16 asparagus spears

Splash of olive oil

Salt and pepper

½ cup full fat coconut milk

2 tightly packed cups of baby spinach (or regular spinach, sliced)

To serve (optional)

1 cup arugula/rocket

Lemon wedges

In a large pan, melt the coconut oil and gently sauté the crushed garlic for 1 minute on a low heat, stirring constantly.

Add the rice and sauté for 3 minutes on a medium heat, continuing to stir.

Add ⅔ cup of the stock/broth to the rice and stir.

Ensure it is bubbling and leave it to cook for about 10-12 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Then stir in another ⅔ cup of the stock and leave to cook for 10-12 minutes, repeating this routine until all the stock is used up.

Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus and the pine nuts. In a small skillet, gently toast the nuts on the stovetop on low heat for 10 minutes, using a spatula to turn them occasionally.

When lightly browned, remove from the heat and set aside.

Trim the woody lower parts of the asparagus spears, and slice each into 3 or 4 pieces. Place on an oven-proof tray.

Brushing the spears lightly with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper, grill them using your oven’s broiler/grill for 5-10 minutes.

Asparagus tends to cook fast, so as soon as you see its colour get brighter and it starts to soften, it’s done!

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once you’ve used up all the stock and the rice is nearly cooked, add ½ cup of coconut milk to it and stir, allowing it to cook for a few more minutes until the milk has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Add the spinach to the risotto and allow it to wilt as it continues to cook for a further 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat and stir the grilled asparagus into to the mix.

To serve, divide the arugula leaves between two bowls and heap the risotto on top.

Sprinkle the pine nuts and walnuts over the risotto, and serve with lemon wedges. Season to taste if needed with salt and pepper.

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