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{Recipe ReDux} Spring Risotto with Brown Rice and Asparagus

by TastefullyJulie on April 21, 2012

Today’s post is exciting for me since it’s my first time participating in the Recipe ReDux. I love the Recipe ReDux because it was founded by fellow registered dietitians with a mentality much like my own – that nutritious food can be delicious, too.

I’m pretty much always “reduxing” my recipes but this time it’s a challenge because the theme is chosen by moderators. This month’s theme is The First Shoots of Spring.

I was happy when I found out this was my first theme because I thought it was going to be SOOO easy. Garlic and chives. Done. I was going to redux those buttery garlic biscuits they serve to people, in excess, at the Red Lobster. There’s 150 calories and 8 grams of fat in ONE of those tiny biscuits. And they give you all you can eat, plus a few more to take home.

As it turns out, all that butter and cheese serves a purpose in those biscuits. No matter what I tried, my healthy biscuits came out like dry, ugly pucks. In my defense, I am not a baker. I’m sure someone else could have come up with something much better but after 2 tries at whole wheat, low fat biscuits, I threw in the towel.

And tossed a couple biscuit pucks to the dog.

After a brief moment of panic I remember another (not-so-healthy) Spring recipe from my repertoire. A long time ago I saw this recipe for Spring Risotto in a magazine. It calls for Minute Rice* and lots of butter and oil. The only reason I even made it was because I had an unopened box of Minute Rice in the cupboard that my husband bought. He doesn’t know any better, it’s not his fault. I never tried altering the recipe before because of the drastic difference in cooking time. Until now.

Why didn’t I ever redux this before?! The end result was even creamier and more flavorful than the original. Even after a drastic reduction in the amount of fat. Goodbye Minute Rice. Of course, this brown rice version is more time consuming so you just need to get started on it earlier. It’s well worth the effort.

*Rice is loaded with water-soluble B vitamins. That means they dissolve into the cooking water. This is why rice should be cooked in a precise amount of water with the lid on to trap the vitamins trying to escape in steam. Minute Rice is parboiled and dried, after which, all that cooking water is gone. Minute Rice (or instant rice) is the least nutritionally sound of all rice. Also, brown rice has more nutrients and fiber than any white rice because it retains the bran and germ – where many of the vitamins and minerals are found.

4.8 from 5 reviews

Spring Risotto with Brown Rice and Asparagus
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 5
 

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ Vidalia onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup 1% milk
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces using only the top ¾ of stalk
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic and onions and cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add the rice and toss to coat.
  4. Slowly, mix in the broth.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
  6. Stir in the asparagus and ¼ cup milk and continue to cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Let sit for a few minutes. Then season with salt, pepper, and mix in the Parmesan cheese.
  8. Serve with additional cheese for topping if desired.

Notes
Nutrition Facts for original version (per ¾ cup serving): Calories: 275 Calories from Fat: 120 Total Fat: 13g Saturated Fat: 6g Total Carbohydrates: 31g Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g Protein: 7.5g Nutrition Facts for ReDux version (per ¾ cup serving): Calories: 215 Calories from Fat: 67 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 3g Total Carbohydrates: 30 Dietary Fiber 2.5g Protein 7.5g

 


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips April 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Yum! It may be a long cooking time, but it sounds easy and yummy!
Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips recently posted..Caramelized Leek and Asparagus Salad – April #RecipeReduxMy Profile

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2 Emily April 22, 2012 at 12:01 am

welcome to the recipe redux! i love brown rice risotto, well worth the wait

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3 TastefullyJulie April 22, 2012 at 11:24 am

Thank you! Can’t wait to do it again :)

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4 EA-The Spicy RD April 22, 2012 at 11:54 am

Oh, this risotto looks so creamy and delicious! Sorry to hear about your biscuit flop, but glad to have this recipe instead, and happy to see you joined the Recipe ReDux!

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5 Sarah April 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

Amazing!! I pick up brown sticky rice when I’m downtown and love making risotto with that. Will for sure give this a try!
Sarah recently posted..Lemon and Herb Scented Spring Vegetables – Recipe ReDuxMy Profile

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6 Kaitlin @TheGardenGrazer April 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Loving your site and photos! This risotto looks AMAZING – I’ve been on such an asparagus kick lately :)

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7 Suzi April 22, 2012 at 12:44 pm

This looks fantastic and I love that you used brown rice to make a risotto.

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8 Katherine Martinelli April 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I love the idea of recipe redux! I’ve never thought to make risotto with brown rice but why not? I’ve made it with barley and it’s delicious. This really looks amazing.

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9 TastefullyJulie April 23, 2012 at 8:32 am

Sounds delicious with barley. Although, compared to barley, brown rice would SAVE time!

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10 kale @ tastes good to me! April 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I love all the fresh gorgeous green asparagus I see popping up across the food blogosphere! This looks creamy and perfect, Julie!
kale @ tastes good to me! recently posted..how to barter when you don’t like to barter: Otavalo Market, EcuadorMy Profile

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11 Abby April 23, 2012 at 10:40 am

I had no idea that B Vitamins escape via the steam. The things I learn about food! Fab recipe too, a lovely introduction to spring
Abby recently posted..Ratatouille and A GiveawayMy Profile

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12 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies April 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm

Risotto with brown rice?! This is something I’ve never tried before & now I’m going to have to. I love using brown rice and I think risotto is just about the only thing I *don’t* use it for.
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies recently posted..Recipe | Easy Baked AranciniMy Profile

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13 Nancy/SpicieFoodie April 24, 2012 at 7:29 am

What a great idea, the recipe redux. Your rissoto looks amazingly perfect! Okay so my mouth won’t stop watering now. Thanks for sharing:)
Nancy/SpicieFoodie recently posted..Moravian Beans and Cornbread For A Rainy NightMy Profile

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14 Alison April 25, 2012 at 1:03 am

I’ve never made risotto, but it’s oh-so-delicious to eat!
Alison recently posted..The Windy CityMy Profile

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15 Deanna Segrave-Daly April 26, 2012 at 11:12 am

I’d say you hit a home run with your 1st ReDux post! I love reading how this recipe came about – can’t wait to try it with my jasmine brown rice. Beautiful photos, too :)

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16 Peggy July 4, 2012 at 12:43 am

This is definitely a keeper! I will be trying out some of the other redux recipes…and YES… The extra cooking time is well worth the end result!

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17 Peggy July 4, 2012 at 1:06 am

This is definitely a keeper! I will be trying out some of the other redux recipes…and YES… The extra cooking time is well worth the end result! And I used non-fat milk as it was all I had on hand.

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18 TastefullyJulie July 4, 2012 at 10:33 am

Thanks. I’m so glad you liked it!

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19 keray August 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Do you typically use long, medium or short-grain brown rice?

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20 TastefullyJulie August 10, 2012 at 9:59 am

I used long grain brown rice for this. With white rice I actually prefer medium grain but it’s just personal preference. :)

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21 Denyse March 26, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I made this recipe Sunday night for dinner and my brother and I loved it so much I am making it again tonight! Many times a “redux” just doesn’t have the flavor of an original, but this recipe takes the cake for being outrageously delicious as well as low-cal and low-fat compared to the original.

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