Healthier BeyondMeat Meets GlutenFree Vegan Risotto all Day Long

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risotto with spinach

For the new year Jen and I decided to kick up our vegan diet a¬†notch and go full-on, whole-food plant-based (WFPB). Being vegan was just becoming too easy (also, I had to wean myself from french fries somehow and this seemed like a great time). We’re sticking to this every day of the year with the exception of the first of the month and special events (potlucks) and holidays (Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, etc.).

So far, we’ve successfully made it through Day One with the help of this delicious and very simple risotto. This creamy recipe is 100% WFPB (until you add the optional, but totally worth it, BeyondMeat chicken strips at the very end).

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • One 38 oz. container of vegan vegetable¬†stock
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • One 6 oz. package of triple washed organic baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
  • One package of BeyondMeat grilled “chicken” strips (defrosted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large non-stick cooking pan add 1/4 cup of the vegetable stock and bring to a boil (you can also use a tablespoon of EEOV here but that’s not on our diet … damn it). Add the chopped onions, garlic, and mushrooms and¬†saut√© until soft (about five minutes, stirring). Stir in the arborio rice and cook for an additional five minutes over medium-high heat, coating the rice (you’ll start to hear popping sounds … since this recipe is poppin’).

Pour in one cup of the vegetable stock and lower the heat to medium. Stir constantly and with purpose. From here on out you’re going to be feeding the rice the vegetable stock and stirring (adding ingredients along the way). It’s an excellent arm workout.

Once the first cup of liquid has been absorbed, add a second cup (see what I mean?). After the third cup, add the chopped basil and the spinach (the spinach is going to look huge in the pan but will cook down as you introduce it to the rice and stock). See what I mean?

spinach

Once the spinach has been completely incorporated, add another cup of vegetable stock. This entire “feed the risotto vegetable stock” process will take approximately 40 minutes (and you will end up using the entire carton of stock). After the final drops of vegetable stock have been added, stir in the nooch until full incorporated (you should have a creamy, cheesy texture at this point). If it seems like it needs more liquid, add a little water or squeeze a half a lemon into it (citrus gives any dish a burst of flavor and freshness).

Test the texture of the rice (perfect, isn’t it?) and finish off by stirring in¬†the whole package of torn BeyondMeat chicken strips into the finished risotto. Heat for an additional five minutes until the BeyondMeat has warmed up. Salt and pepper to taste. If you want … top with some vegan parmesan and a sprig of basil. Your friends are going to be so impressed by you: 1) You made a delicious gluten-free vegan risotto; 2) You topped it with a sprig of basil which is called “garnish” and you’ve never done that before.

They’re all impressed and, after dining on this dish, they’ll all¬†want to #GoVegan.

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LOVE this recipe?¬†Want more like it? Pre-order The Skeptical Vegan NOW! Available at Amazon.com¬†and Barnes and Noble! More than 25 of my¬†favorite meaty dishes¬†… veganized and made simple!

Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking: Annie and Dan Shannon Are At It Again

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You know those friends you always extend an invite to for your vegan potlucks? The ones who never know what to bring? Or, better yet, how about your friends who aren’t vegan and panic at the idea of coming up with a dish that everyone will love.

Get them Master the Art of Vegan Cooking (Grand Central Publishing) by Annie and Dan Shannon (Betty Goes Vegan) and these very same people will RSVP with confidence.

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As a matter of fact, get everyone you know this book. As is the case with the authors’ first successful tome, Betty Goes Vegan, this book masterfully guides the aspiring chef through “standards” that everyone knows and loves. A very personal introduction gives you a sense of the authors’ lives (who now¬†reside in Brooklyn) and this lets you know that every recipe comes from the heart.

And, as it turns out, is good for your heart.

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Dr. Greger (among other whole-foods, plant-based doctors) of NutritionFacts.org has gone so far as to say the #1 killer of Americans, heart disease, is 100% preventable.

100% preventable.

How? Well start with the recipes created by the couple behind the successful blog, “Meet the Shannons.” Stick to these recipes and your heart (and waistline) and taste buds will thank you.

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The first recipe I tried was their Vegan Bacon, White Bean, and Spinach Risotto (page 155). To give you an idea of how easy this recipe is, I made this on my lunchbreak. And it turned out amazing.

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Onions and risotto begin to crack in your pan as you introduce white wine and vegetable stock over the course of thirty or so minutes. Stir in the spinach, beans, nooch, and spices and a simple dish is elevated into something amazing.

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As an aside, ¬†I think these two photos of nutritional yeast should be stolen from my blog and circulated widely. “Nooch,” as it’s known to those who use it nearly every day deserves more glamour shots like these. Meanwhile, back to the recipe.

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The step-by-step instructions and use of the phrase “pinch of celery salt,” makes me love this book more than anything. It should be noted that almost every ingredient was Wegmans brand. Wegmans is considered the #1 grocery store in America and they are about to break ground on a NEW store in Brooklyn (so “The Shannons” will soon know why everyone loves Wegmans). The headline of this linked article, by the way, is:¬†Brooklyn Freaks Out Over Wegmans.

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To finish off the overall “retro” aspect of this dish, I plated the risotto in my vintage Mikasa bowl that belonged to my Nana. The pattern on this set will always remind me of her and we’ve eaten many wonderful dishes from this set.

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One more¬†cool thing about this book is that each recipe let’s you know how much each serving costs (just in case you want to charge your friends at the potluck). This creamy risotto costs $1.87/serving and I bet I could charge $5. Maybe $7 (depending on the friend).

You can buy Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking now at most bookstores around the country and online here.

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Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking makes it easier, and tastier, than ever to …

Go vegan.

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