Tasty Tuesdays – Asparagus, Mushroom Risotto

Risotto may seem like a daunting meal to prepare, however this recipe is easy for anyone to make and super delicious.  It makes 4-5 meals, each containing about 3 servings of vegetables

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  •  1 white onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (approximately 12 spears)
  • 10 mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup Arborio rice
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot.  Heat vegetable broth on low in a separate pot.
  • Add in chopped onion, garlic and asparagus.  Heat until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Stir in chopped mushrooms, dried thyme and salt, and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in Arborio rice and make sure to coat well.  Mix until you hear snapping sounds, about 1 minute.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the heated vegetable broth and stir for 3-5 minutes.  Make sure to keep stirring so that the rice does not burn.
  • Continue adding 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth until the last 1/2 cup is left.
  • Stir in the fresh spinach and squeezed lemon juice.  *Feel free to add in more spinach if you like, as it really cooks down.
  • Pour in the last 1/2 cup of vegetable broth, and stir for 2-3 minutes.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Interesting Facts 

This month is the perfect time to make this recipe because Asparagus is in season and you will find it everywhere!  If you end up buying a large bushel of asparagus because it’s so inexpensive, don’t worry you can make it last longer by wrapping the ends in a damp paper towel, and then storing in the refrigerator.  This vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, as well as vitamin C and vitamin E.  The B vitamins are important to include in your daily diet because of their key role in the regulation of homocysteine.  Homocysteine is an amino acid which has been linked to cardiovascular disease when found at high levels in the blood (Phillips et al., 2008), so consuming asparagus will help to keep these levels down.  Asparagus is also an excellent vegetable because of its inulin content.  Inulin is a polysaccharide, which is in the class of dietary fibers called fructans and is sometimes referred to as ‘prebiotics’ (Roberfroid et al., 2010).  These carbohydrates are called ‘prebiotics’  because they are not broken down in the first segments of the digestive tract, which is common of most carbs.  Rather, they pass through to the large intestine where they become a great food source for certain intestinal bacteria.  This property of inulin helps with better nutrient absorption (Singh and Singh, 2010).  Asparagus has high amounts of both insoluble and soluble fiber;  2 grams per cup and 1 gram per cup respectively.  The high fiber content helps to keep food moving through the digestive system at a consistent rate and the addition of fiber in your diet has repeatedly been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and decrease the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

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