A quick and easy, Creamy Spinach Buckwheat Risotto. Gluten free, dairy free, rich in protein and minerals.
This dinner was a bit of a happy accident – it was a throw-it-all-in-the-pot kinda affair – using up odd things in the fridge, making use of the herb garden to add flavour. 25 minutes later, I had a delicious, creamy bowl of Spinach and Buckwheat Risotto ready to eat – it was such a treat!
An incredibly simple recipe to make, it’s also nutrient-dense. A single serve has approximately 16g of protein (from the buckwheat and nutritional yeast), and two full cups of spinach – such an easy way to amp up the leafy green content of your diet!
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I’ve written a detailed post on the nutrition and health benefits of buckwheat here, but in a nutshell, here’s why it’s so great:
- Gluten free
- Low GI
- High quality, well balanced source of protein
- Good source of minerals (particularly magnesium, manganese and phosphorus – all required for bone health)
- Great source of fibre
- Great source of the phytonutrients rutin (anti-inflammatory, supportive of cardiovascular health), and quercetin (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, supportive of cardiovascular health, anti-allergic)
I also tried this recipe out using fresh spring nettles (above – aren’t they beautiful!) – delicious though a little more time consuming. Nettles need care when handling as they sting you – though boiling water will neutralise their ouchy-barbs.
If you’d like to give them a whirl – here is a brief how-to:
- Using gloves, pick a large colander full of fresh nettles (4+ cups) – preferably leaves
- Back in the kitchen, with gloves still on, snip off any stray stems
- Blanch in hot water for a couple of minutes, drain, then immerse in a pot full of iced water (this helps retain the bright green colour), and drain again
- Place nettles in a clean tea towel, roll the towel lengthways, and wring out excess water
- Coarsely chop and fold through the buckwheat risotto toward the end of the cooking time
Nettles (commonly seen as a mere weed), are enjoyed as a nutritious leafy green in many cultures around the world. They are particularly rich in the minerals calcium (approximately 440mg per 100gm) and iron (approximately 1.8mg per 100g).
They have also been shown to provide up to 100% of your daily beta-carotene needs (which then go on to be converted to vitamin A in the body), and contain about 12g protein per 100g .
I’m most excited about their calcium content – 440mg per 100g is a great source – considering there are only 120mg per 100g in standard milk (see my table of plant based sources of calcium here).
Anyway – I’ve shared the spinach version of this recipe as it will be more accessible to most people. I topped it with a little freshly grated lemon zest, and a sprinkle of home made raw ‘parmesan’ – it was just delicious.
More quick plant-based meal ideas:
- Tofu Satay with Life Force Salad
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Vegan Zucchini and Corn Fritters
- Protein Packed Broccoli Pesto Pasta
That's all today. Enjoy and see you again next week!
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Creamy Spinach Buckwheat Risotto
- 1 cup buckwheat groats
- 1¼ cups vegetable stock
- 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- Large handful fresh sage
- Few large sprigs of thyme
- 2 tablespoons coconut cream
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 large bunch of spinach or about 4 tightly packed cups
- ½ cup oat/nut milk
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Lemon zest
- Raw parmesan cheese
- Soak the buckwheat in water for 2-3 hours then drain ready for use (you can skip this part, but the soaking softens the buckwheat and makes for a nicer end result).
- Finely slice the onion and garlic, and roughly chop the sage. Heat coconut oil in a saucepan, then fry the onions till golden. Add garlic, sage, and the leaves from the thyme sprigs, and cook another minute or two.
- Add buckwheat and stir to coat, cooking for another minute. Add nutritional yeast, and vegetable stock. Cook uncovered on medium heat till the buckwheat has absorbed the stock.
- Meanwhile, wash spinach and remove any large stems. Blend with ½ cup of oat/nut milk – you may have to stop and pack the spinach down. Pour spinach mixture into the saucepan, and add coconut cream.
- Cook till the fluid has just about absorbed (you want it to be a little ‘saucy’), then remove from heat, dress with raw parmesan, lemon zest, salt and pepper, and serve.
- If you have leftovers for the next day, you may like to add a tablespoon of water, give it a mix, then re-heat.
- Nutrition panel is an estimate only
Rutto, L.K., Xu, Y., Ramirez, E., & Brandt, M. (2013). Mineral properties and dietary value of raw and processed stinging nettle (Urtica dioica L.). International Journal of Food Sceince, 2013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/857120