With all of this snow and the freezing temps outside, I find myself craving some warm, stick-to-your-ribs, comfort food. This creamy risotto hits the spot, without the added feelings of guilt your usual comfort food might bring. Instead of butter, milk and cheese, this risotto gets it's creamy-ness from a simple cashew "cream" sauce. As someone who has been mostly dairy-free for the last 7 years, it's awesome to come across a recipe for something that can actually stand in for a cream sauce. I think the naturally occurring healthy fats and slight sweetness of the cashews, really lend themselves well for a cream substitute. Along with being the perfect dish on a cold February afternoon to warm my bones, this recipe is gluten, dairy and sugar free, vegan (if you use veggie broth and Nutritional yeast), uses local and seasonal ingredients, and is 100% nourishing and good for you! It also takes less then 30 minutes to throw together, so it's perfect for a healthy, mid-week dinner.
*Creamy Cashew "Risotto" with Butternut Squash
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch cubes) peeled butternut squash ( To save time, I bought already peeled and cut butternut squash)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours or overnight
1 1/2 cups unsweetened milk alternative (I used home-made brazil nut milk, which is loaded with thyroid health-promoting selenium)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (great for controlling blood sugar and curbing sweet cravings)
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup broth - use veggie broth to keep this vegan! (I used my super immune boosting, home-made chicken bone broth, click here to read about the benefits of drinking bone broth and a simple recipe)
about 2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice, or to save time use 1- 20 ounce package of 365 Everyday Value Organic Brown Rice (frozen)
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbs minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
additional sea salt (optional)
Nutritional yeast, which is an excellent source of vegan B-12, or parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook 4-5 minutes or until just fork-tender. With a slotted spoon, remove 1 cup squash cubes and set aside. Continue to cook remaining squash 5 minutes longer, or until very soft. Drain.
In a blender, puree soaked cashews, very soft squash, milk alternative, cinnamon and salt.
Meanwhile, heat a large high-sided skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion and garlic; cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the skillet. Stir in broth, fork-tender squash and brown rice. Cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cashew mixture, parsley and sage; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 6-8 minutes or until mixture thickens and sauce reduces in volume, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in black pepper. Spoon into serving bowls and top with optional additional salt and Nutritional Yeast or parmesan cheese.
*adapted from 365 Health Starts Here Meals under $15
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Yours in Health,
Certified Holistic Health Coach