March 3rd, 2014
This month's blogger is Lauren Kelly, a nutritionist, blogger, recipe developer and health enthusiast. Lauren's Blog focuses on better food and better health as a means for better living. In honor of National Nutrition Month, she came up with this tasty risotto for us. Enjoy!
With March being National Nutrition Month, I wanted to share a recipe that is packed with quality ingredients but also tastes delicious. I really love risotto. Unfortunately, many risottos are made with arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice. The difference between brown rice and white rice is that brown rice is the whole grain with just the outer layer removed, leaving a healthy dose of fiber and nutrients. White rice is technically brown rice that has been processed further, removing the other layers, which in turn, removes a great deal of fiber and nutrients.
For this dish, I chose a sprouted organic brown rice but you can easily use a short-grain brown rice, as well. Sprouted brown rice is basically brown rice that is able to germinate by being soaked prior to cooking. There are many nutritional advantages for sprouting the brown rice, one being that the nutrients become more soluble, thus making them much easier to absorb. Many studies also indicate that when these grains are sprouted, they produce an amino acid called GABA which has been linked to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, boosting the immune system and reducing sleeplessness. Grains that aren't sprouted can lead to poor digestion, as well inflammation in the gut.
I also added quinoa to my risotto to increase the fiber and protein content. Quinoa is actually a seed but is primarily marketed as a grain due to its nutty texture. It contains all of the essential amino acids, which makes it high in protein. Quinoa is so versatile and adds a boost of nutrition to any dish.
Kale is a leafy-green powerhouse of nutrition. It is packed with iron, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium and many antioxidants and nutrients. I chose to use low-sodium broth and soup, which saves many grams of unwanted and unnecessary sodium. I strongly believe that we should enjoy everything in moderation. These Parmesan Crisps add a wonderful, crunchy texture to this dish. And doesn't everything taste a little better with some cheese?
Apple Kale Risotto with Parmesan Crisps
Makes 8 servings (1 cup servings each)
For Parmesan Crisps