Thursday, February 20, 2014

Shortcut Butternut Squash Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite side dishes.  The traditional version I make is super creamy and flavorful, but sadly it's also very time consuming.  I rarely make it on a weeknight, because it requires practically non-stop stirring for a good 45 minutes.  The dish is better suited for a weekend evening when I have ample time and a nice big glass of wine to sip on while I babysit the pot.

I really wanted something more interesting than plain brown rice for a side last night, so I played with some ingredients to create a risotto-style dish without the risotto-sized effort.

The result was a big success.  The faux risotto was so creamy that it was hard to believe it contained no dairy and only took about 5 minutes of hands-on time.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Hands-on time: 5 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Makes: 3-4 side servings

1 cup long-grain brown rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup frozen cubed butternut squash (I used Earthbound Farms Organic brand from Sprouts)
3 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring vegetable broth and coconut oil to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan.  Stir in rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes.  Add in the squash, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed and squash is soft and heated through.  Add nutritional yeast and stir vigorously, until texture is creamy and there are no longer big chunks of squash.  Season with salt, pepper, and any other spices of your choice.  Serve and enjoy!
This definitely took our routine dinner of roasted tofu and asparagus to a whole new level!

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