Health seizing ingredients should never deter you from enjoying classic comfort meals. Little swapsies like replacing insulin spiking carbs with wholesome gluten free options will allow you to enjoy these keepsake meals, and keep your booty moving energetically throughout your day.
There are few dishes as hearty and versatile as an age old risotto. The style of cooking and use of ingredients in this adored classic is the perfect framework to mix up and make your own innovative, nutrient packed creations.
The history of risotto is tied to the history of rice in Italy, and while there’s many conflicting stories flying around, rice was introduced to Italy and Spain by the Arabs in the Middle Ages. The short grain rice grew spectacularly in the Mediterranean climate, and its popularity swiftly grew throughout Italy, though was mainly consumed by the wealthy classes due hefty prices.
Milan is where this short grain rice met its destiny. The Spanish ruled Milan for over two centuries, and here rice became a staple food. Slow-cooking was the method of choice, and the Spanish combined the rice with saffron, and other rich spices and flavours. This was the birth of the famous risotto that we see today, still served extensively, and largely unchanged, in both humble kitchens, and luxe restaurants across the globe; adding ingredients such as squid ink, scallops, lobster, asparagus, duck, herbs, mushrooms and fancy cheeses.
Yes I know this is a classic dish….but nothing is sacred in the Supercharged Food world! I’m always on the lookout for medicinal foods to become the motivation behind my meals, so I’ve made some slight alterations to the ordinary risotto recipe; the first being to scrap the superstar ingredient; the Arborio rice, altogether. Gasp worthy to some, but I’ve replaced it with something much more jaw-dropping (in a good way); one of my favourite go-get-em grain replacements; beloved buckwheat!
Now why on earth would I make such a drastic change to this culinary archetype? Because to be honest with you, risotto rice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It may be gluten-free, but gluten-free doesn’t always mean that it’s giving your body its best. Arborio rice is still a processed, refined, starchy carbohydrate that is doing zilch for you in the way of your health. It’s been stripped of the bran and germ, and therefore of any of the vitamins and minerals that once existed within it. If you want to feel real vitality, you’ll need to ditch these over-rated staples. These kinds of lifeless carbs are sending your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride and are wreaking havoc on your digestive system. Quite simply, they’re slowing you down robbing you of energy.
Buckwheat on the other hand, is a show-stopper on my radar, and the perfect replacement for these deceitful carbs that are the main ingredient in so many popular meals. Buckwheat is native to Northern Europe and Asia, and is known as a working man’s crop due to its ability to withstand poor soil conditions, freezing temperatures, droughts, and excess rains. Did you know that buckwheat isn’t even a grain at all, but technically a fruit seed that’s related to rhubarb? It’s also a brilliant gluten free grain replacement that’s tolerated well by people with wheat sensitivities and Celiac disease.
Buckwheat boasts a heck-of-a-lot of health benefits; containing the eight essential amino acids, several minerals including; zinc, iron, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, copper and magnesium, and is high in B vitamins that are essential to energy production and the optimum functioning of your digestive system.
Buckwheat actually controls blood sugar levels rather than sending them sky-rocketing like white varieties of rice. It does this by significantly lowering blood glucose and insulin responses. Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reveals that buckwheat may be an important dietary inclusion to help manage diabetes. The placebo-controlled study revealed that a single dose of buckwheat seed extract lowered blood sugar levels by up to 19% within 90 minutes. The component responsible is believed to be chiro-inositol; a property known to play significant roles in glucose metabolism and cell signaling. Buckwheat is therefore a spectacular breakfast or lunch option to keep your mind and body stable, and full of sustainable energy throughout your day.
Energizing and bursting with nutrition, buckwheat is available throughout all the seasons. It can be made into a delicious porridge, or a get-up-and-go granola, and the flour makes the world’s best pancakes, like these buckwheat flapjacks. For more delicious savoury dishes, try it in this scrummy frittata, or this amazing almond and zucchini bread.
This beautiful buckwheat risotto with spinach and mushroom will leave any of your previous memories of risotto far away in the distance. The unique, flavoursome robustness of the buckwheat combined with the tantalizing tastes of lemon, garlic, mushrooms, and the creamy hint of coconut will send you into a sensory reverie unlike anything you have dabbled in before!
Buckwheat Risotto with Spinach and Mushroom
- 2 cup buckwheat groats
- 1 TBS EV Olive Oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 2 TBS lemon juice
- 6 cups spinach, shredded
- ½ tsp Celtic Sea salt
- 2 TBS spring onion chopped
- 1/3 cup coconut milk
- 2 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
- Rinse buckwheat in sieve under running water
- Sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil until translucent
- Add the buckwheat and stir to coat
- Add mushrooms and 1 cup of stock, lemon rind, juice and ACV and stir bring to boil and then simmer.
- Once liquid is absorbed, 10-12 mins add another 1 cup of stock and repeat until buckwheat is tender
- Stir in the spinach, spring onion and season to taste
- Add coconut milk and cook for a further 3 mins to heat