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#EatWellLiveWell: Parmesan Vegetable Risotto

Parmesan Vegetable Risotto

You may have heard that brown rice is better for you than white rice, but do you know why? Brown rice is essentially rice in its natural form. It’s what all rice looks like before going through the refining process which creates the standard white rice often seen in stores. White rice is sometimes preferred because, when the bran is removed, it becomes lighter in weight and, therefore, faster to cook. While white rice may be more convenient to prepare, it is stripped of almost all its previous nutritional value. Here are seven reasons to make the switch from white rice and cook with natural brown rice instead:

  1. Manganese: 80 percent of your daily value of manganese can be found in just 1 cup of brown rice. This nutrient helps your body synthesize fats while at the same time maintain healthy nervous and reproductive systems.
  2. Selenium: Rich in selenium, brown rice can contribute to reducing your risk of cancer, heart disease and arthritis.
  3. Natural oils: Naturally occurring oils are best for your body, as they help regulate normal cholesterol levels.
  4. Whole grains: White rice is stripped of bran, which makes it a simple grain. Brown rice is a whole grain with all its nutrients intact and can help reduce plaque buildup, which then reduces your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
  5. Weight loss: Fiber is the key to a regular and healthy digestive system. Adding brown rice to your diet will improve your gut health as well as help you feel fuller for longer.
  6. Fiber: Foods high in fiber can also contribute to reducing your risk of colon cancer. Whole-grain foods such as brown rice keep your digestive system clean and prevent toxins that can cause cancer from sticking to the wall of your colon.
  7. Antioxidants: Carbohydrates are not known for antioxidant levels, but brown rice should be! This grain has approximately the same antioxidant benefits of fruits and veggies.

Ditch the white rice, opt for brown rice and make our new, healthy Parmesan vegetable risotto recipe for dinner today!

Recipe: Parmesan Vegetable Risotto

Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 quart vegetable broth, or as needed
  • 5 cups water, or as needed
  • 1/2 pound asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 cups short-grain brown rice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring the vegetable broth and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to low and add asparagus. Simmer until just tender. Transfer asparagus to a bowl of ice water and let chill for 5 minutes. Once cool, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cover the saucepan broth mixture and keep at a near simmer on low heat.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and cook until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Add rice and cook, stirring gently, until toasted, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Pour 1 cup of the hot broth mixture into the rice and cook, constantly stirring until liquid is almost absorbed. Maintain heat at a simmer. Repeat this process, using 1/2 cup liquid at a time, until rice begins to become tender, about 25 minutes.
  4. Stir in the diced carrots. Continue adding broth and stirring the rice mixture until carrots are tender, about 20 additional minutes. Mix in zucchini and, if broth mixture gets low, add hot water, as needed. Cook and stir, adding broth until rice is tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Mix in asparagus and peas and cook until heated through. Add Parmesan and butter, stirring until butter melts and all ingredients are coated.
  6. Optional: season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour in an additional 1/2 cup hot broth to the finished risotto for a softer texture.

Nutritional Information:

322 calories, 10.7 g total fat, 13 mg cholesterol, 500 mg sodium, 47.1 g total carbs, 6.1 g dietary fiber, 10 g protein

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