I found inspiration via Whole Foods’ website, for a recipe of vegan cashew risotto. The recipe called for a 20-ounce bag of frozen brown rice, which stumped me until last weekend when I figured out how many cups of cooked rice that was (4 cups) and then I was able to make it. In all my laziness I can say I have never bought frozen plain rice. It is pennies to make it and if you bake it, it is stupid-simple. And you can freeze or chill it for later as well.
And yes, I do realize this isn’t a “real” risotto. I am OK with that. After a long day of herding the two smallest and moving my office around, I was happy to have a dinner that took 15 or so minutes to pull together, as I had baked the rice and made the cashew sauce early in the day. Baking the rice ensures the grains are chewy, not soggy, and they are enrobed in the slightly sweet sauce (as I noted below, a hint of hot sauce of choice added at the end is perfect).
Butternut Cashew Risotto
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 medium sized butternut squash
- 1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 1 batch baked brown rice (see below)
- 2 tsp rubbed sage
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tsp dried parsley
Cover the cashews with filtered water, soak overnight. Drain and rinse.
Peel and seed the butternut squash, chop into bite size pieces. Add to a tall saucepan, cover with water. Bring to boil, gently boil until tender, about 10 minutes, drain.
Add the cashews, squash, coconut milk, salt and cinnamon to a high-speed blender, process on high until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl, refrigerate until needed.
Heat a large skillet over medium, add in oil and onion, sauté until tender. Stir in garlic, sage and pepper, sauté for a minute. Add in rice and broth, tossing to coat, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until broth has absorbed.
Add in cashew butternut sauce and parsley, simmer for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened up, stirring often. Season to taste with salt – and our preference – a liberal shake or three of hot sauce (Tabasco Chipolte works well).
Serves 4 to 6.
Baked Brown Rice
- 2½ cups water
- 1½ cups long grain brown rice
- Drizzle olive oil
Preheat oven to 375°. Bring water to boil, add it, rice and oil to an 8×8″ glass baking dish, cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour. Remove, fluff up and let cool a bit before stashing in a large mixing bowl, refrigerate until needed.
Makes about 4 cups cooked rice.