I’ve done a couple of recipes so far for risotto and it seems that there are just endless possibilities for this delicious dish. Inspired by the warmer weather and the plethora of spring vegetables in Whole Foods, I decided to try a truly vegetarian risotto as part of my April vegetarian recipes. I wanted depth of flavor, color, and of course ease of preparation. While there is more prep work for this recipe than I typically like, the flavor was worth it.
As far as timing goes, it’s the perfect recipe for starting after (or once) kids get home from school to be ready on time for dinner. The roasted vegetables can even be done earlier in the day and just set aside if that is easier.
There are a couple of ways to roast vegetables: either directly on a cookie sheet (technically it’s a jelly roll sheet; the kind with edges) or wrap the vegetables in foil. I used both methods for this recipe as each type of vegetable required its own method for roasting. Even with the different methods, all the vegetables were able to go in the oven at the same time, which does make things a little easier. So, enjoy the spring vegetables and a very flavorful risotto with the recipe below.
Risotto With Roasted Spring Vegetables
2 golden beets, washed and green parts cut off
3 spring onions (not scallions, white part only)
4 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into quarters or thirds depending on size of stalks
1/4 pound haricots verts, trimmed and cut into thirds
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup Arborio rice
1/4 cup grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Goya vegetable seasoning packet
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Place asparagus, haricots verts, and garlic on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Wash beets, and trim onions. Place onions and beets in aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold up sides of foil and tuck in together to make a packet.
Place both the vegetable packet and baking sheet in the oven. Set timer for 45 minutes. Then remove cookie sheet. Leave beets and onions in for another 15-20 minutes. Be careful when removing foil packet as hot liquid may drip out.
Place water, risotto and vegetable seasoning in slow cooker. Stir together, cover and place on high setting. Your total cooking time is 2 1/2 hours, but the vegetables will be added about 3/4 of the way through, so you may want to set a timer.
When cool enough to handle, remove beets from packet, being careful to keep juices in tact in packet. Cut up beets into bite-size pieces and cut onions into quarters.
When there are about 30-45 minutes left of cooking time, place asparagus, haricots verts, beets, onions, cheese and accumulated juices into slow cooker. Stir to combine.
When rice is cooked through, serve and enjoy.
Notes from my experience:
I was nervous about not using chicken broth for flavoring, but the roasted vegetables, vegetable seasoning and the accumulated juices add a good amount of flavor.
Spring carrots are also in the stores, so if you don’t like beets, feel free to use carrots instead and be sure to save the juices as they will add both color and flavor.