Although I know my dessert recipes are the most popular ones they don’t really reflect my daily diet much, as in, I don’t eat desserts every day, even if they are ‘healthier’ ones. On weekends I like to indulge and the Paleo ‘constraints’ are lifted – I still eat unprocessed foods (that will never change) but I will enjoy some form of rice, maybe even chickpeas, and I always whip up a batch of caramel popcorn for movie night. I guess on the weekend I’m Pegan, primal, and proud of it! One thing I have learned over the years is that restriction doesn’t necessarily mean health as it’s about looking after your brain just as much as your body, in fact, in the past I have sat there worrying about that handful of popcorn or that one piece of white potato I’ve eaten, so much so that it’s resulted in severe anxiety. Now, I take a much more relaxed approach to eating and I can’t think of anything better to indulge in than this super comforting Red Rice Pumpkin Risotto with medicinal mushrooms to help boost the immune system in these cold autumn and winter months.
Don’t throw out those pumpkin guts, make this super delicious and creamy Red Rice Pumpkin Risotto with medicinal mushrooms for a much needed immune boost.
I’m all about reducing waste and if like me you have kids it’s likely that you’re going to be carving up a lot of pumpkins this month. I know it’s tempting, but don’t throw out the guts! Separate out the seeds from the flesh, give them a good rinse, soak overnight then dry and roast in the oven for a delicious snack. Keep the flesh in an airtight container and add it to your meals, make a soup, or cook it until soft and puree. You can add the puree to pumpkin pie and pancake batter to create delicious treats your kiddies will love. The same goes for when your pumpkins are done – be sure to wash thoroughly then peel, cube, and roast! Although I know there will always be one pumpkin that is left on the doorstep until the bitter end – but please do try and compost it, if your little one lets you of course.
I spoke in my last post about the conflicts in the Paleo diet and eating rice, I also explained how to help reduce the phytic acid content to prevent leeching essential vitamins and minerals, so if you’re interested click here to find out more. There are so many amazing ingredients in this delicious risotto but I thought I’d take my favourite 3 and break down the health benefits below:
- Red Rice – Red rice is one of the most antioxidant-rich rice varieties, it’s also low GI meaning it won’t spike your blood sugar like other carb sources. Just one cup of cooked red rice makes up 80% of your RDA for manganese. Manganese helps your body to process fats and proteins. It’s also a great source of essential minerals such as; magnesium, molybdenum, and phosphorus. Just like purple vegetables, it’s high in anthocyanins that help to fight off free-radicals.
- Pumpkin – Pumpkins are high in vitamin A – in just one cup of cooked pumpkin you’ll find 245% of your RDA! It’s also high in vitamin C and the antioxidants; alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and beta-cryptoxanthin. These help to protect your cells against damage by free radicals, just like red rice does. Vitamins A and C are great for boosting the immune system, improving eyesight, and promoting a healthy heart and skin.
- Maitake and Shiitake Mushroom – These powerful medicinal mushrooms have been known to lower cholesterol levels, promote immune fertility, and boost immune function. They’re packed full of B vitamins and vitamin D and plenty of minerals too and also contain phytonutrients that help to stop cells from sticking to blood vessel walls and forming plaque buildup, which maintains a healthy blood pressure and improves your circulation. To top it all off Shiitake mushrooms contain b-glucan, a soluble dietary fibre, that can help increase satiety, meaning you’ll reduce your food intake and so promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.
Red Rice Pumpkin Risotto with Medicinal Mushrooms
Risotto has to be one of my favourite dishes to have in colder weather, I have to say that it actually trumps soup for me. I’ve included a few suggestions in the notes of my recipe so that you can mix it up a little once you get bored of having the same old thing. If you do want to add in additional veggies be sure to cook them first and then stir them in at the end. As the vegetable stock is quite light in flavour I’ve added plenty of onion and garlic, as well as fresh sage. Sage is quite a subtle herb but one of my faves and compliments pumpkin and butternut squash really well. You can add in half at the start and then the other half just in the last few minutes of cooking if you prefer a stronger flavour but I’m a little lazy and just throw it in at the start. Sage is a really tough herb so it is one you can cook at the beginning with rather than stirring in at the end so don’t panic! I’ve also given the option to throw in some of my favourite cheeses but it really isn’t necessary at all for flavour. In fact, sometimes a cheese-free risotto is a much lighter option and depending upon what protein source you are pairing with the dish cheese might not be something you want. I’ve also thrown in some optional toppings which are best made at the start – crispy fried onions and kale which I think add a nice change in texture.
Boot the kids out of the kitchen if you can as you’ll be spending 40 minutes of your life stirring at a hot stove and pouring in stock. This is probably the only time I’d advocate allowing the telly to babysit your children…
Before you start this recipe read it through a few times, get all of your ingredients prepped first and keep them in arms reach. Boot the kids out of the kitchen if you can as you’ll be spending 40 minutes of your life stirring at a hot stove and pouring in stock. This is probably the only time I’d advocate allowing the telly to babysit your children (unless they are super young of course!). Anyway, as always make this recipe your own, change the herbs around if you want (rosemary is lovely), switch up pumpkin for butternut squash or parsnip puree, throw in a nice dry white wine if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, and even a splash of coconut milk when you want something creamy. But most of all just enjoy the experience! Good luck and as always if you get stuck just drop me a message.
Looking for more medicinal mushroom treats? Why not try my Salted Caramel Magnums with Lion’s Mane or Adaptogenic Coconut Black Rice Pudding? Oh, and if you want to keep up to date with my deliciousness then sign up for my newsletter and I’ll love you forever – who am I kidding? I already do!
- 400g/2¼ cups Indigo Herbs Organic Red Rice
- 400g/ 2 scant cups pumpkin guts/diced pumpkin
- 100g grass-fed organic butter/coconut oil/vegan butter
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1½ medium onions (diced)
- 8-10 cloves garlic (finely diced)
- 16 fresh sage leaves (roughly chopped)
- 1.7L vegetable/mushroom stock
- 4-6 tsp Indigo Herbs Maitake Mushroom Powder
- 4-6 tsp Indigo Herbs Shiitake Mushroom Powder
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 100g finely grated gruyere cheese (optional)
- 50g finely grated parmesan (optional)
- 1 medium onion
- 3 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4-6 handfuls kale (rinsed, shredded, and de-stemmed)
- Start by making your crispy fried onions and kale. Slice your onion finely into rings. Stir together your arrowroot powder, coconut flour, sesame seeds, and sea salt in a small shallow bowl. Coat each onion ring in the flour mix, dust off the excess, and set to one side. Heat the olive oil into a skillet on a medium to high heat and fry the onions until golden brown on both sides. Remove and place onto some kitchen towel. Once finished add your kale to the pan and fry until crispy. Wrap the onions and kale into some tin foil with the shiny side on the inside and place into an oven on the lowest setting to keep warm.
- Soak your rice in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes. This will help to release any phytic acid and prevent the rice from clumping together. Whilst your rice is soaking melt 25g of your butter into a small saucepan then add your pumpkin. Cook for 10 minutes until tender then transfer to a food processor and puree. Set to one side.
- Drain and rinse your rice thoroughly. Place half of your remaining butter and olive oil into a large, deep skillet and melt. Sweat the onions in the pan over a low to medium heat for 2 minutes before adding the garlic and sage. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the remaining butter and rice and toast over a medium to high heat for 3 minutes, stirring continuously.
- Pour over just enough stock to only just submerge your rice and lower the heat to a low to medium heat, just enough so that your risotto is simmering. Add your medicinal mushroom powders and keep stirring. Add stock a cup at a time once the stock level reaches below half way. After about 20 minutes check the rice. If it is still hard and crispy it is undercooked. Continue to add stock and check the rice every few minutes until it is al dente (firm to the bite). This will likely take 35-40 minutes. Once you think the rice is almost done stop adding stock and allow the stock to absorb fully.
- Stir in your pumpkin puree and cook until all of the liquid has absorbed. Stir in your white wine vinegar, and parmesan and gruyere if using, and portion immediately. Top with your crispy fried onions and kale and serve.
If you're vegan feel free to add in some vegan cheese at the end or omit altogether. This risotto is delicious without cheese! If you're feeling a little adventurous switch up ¼-1/2 cup of stock with some white wine. Or, if you're wanting something a little more comforting use coconut milk for a creamier dish.
Under the weather? Add in 4-8 drops of oil of oregano at the end for a super immunity boost.
All cup measurements used are UK cup measurements. 1 cup = 250ml, 1 tbsp = 15ml.
Disclaimer: Please note that this is a sponsored post. This means that I was sent free products and compensated in return for an amazingly delicious recipe for you all. Any payment I receive I use to purchase more ingredients and equipment to keep this blog up and running, and most importantly to keep creating quality content for you all. I am not an affiliate of Indigo Herbs and any purchases you make via them I will not be compensated for. I am not influenced by the company in any way and all opinions, ramblings, and thoughts are my own and 100% honest. If you’d like to know more, feel free to contact me.