How would it feel to ingest a few gulps of a rainbow? Sparkling? Blissful? Vital? Vibrant? Okay, so no, this isn’t a recipe for an arch of color in the sky—but we do think it will make you feel joyful and alive. It’s a bright, healthy and delicious risotto that incorporates a variety of color. And because the pigments in fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals and antioxidants, eating an array of colorful natural food helps to inhibit cancer and protect brain cells, regulate cholesterol and work against inflammation. Consider this your personal rainbow, courtesy of Deepak Chopra.
1½ cups leeks, shallots, or onions, chopped
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos or tamari
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon sage
2 cups arborio rice, rinsed and drained
6 cups hot vegetable stock
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup zucchini, cut in half lengthwise, then into ¼-inch slices
1 cup cooked white beans or one 14-ounce can, drained and rinsed
2 cups arugula, or a mixture of spinach and arugula, coarsely torn
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
Chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a 4-quart soup pot over medium heat. Saute the leeks with the Aminos, vinegar, pepper, dried basil, thyme, and saute until the leeks are translucent.
2. Add the rice and sauté, stirring constantly. Add stock a little at a time and allow the rice to absorb the stock each time before adding more. Keep stirring. Risotto should have a soft (not mushy) texture with a creamy consistency. Be careful not to overcook or let the rice dry out. The cooking process will take about 20 to 30 minutes total. Taste the rice for texture.
3. Heat the remaining teaspoon oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and add the carrots, celery, zucchini and beans. Add some stock if necessary to keep the vegetables moist. Saute until the carrots are al dente or almost soft.
4. Add the greens and continue to sauté until just wilted. Pour all the ingredients from the sauté pan into the rice, add the fresh herbs and gently combine.
5. Place the rice in a festive serving dish and garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Traditionally, a good quality grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese and cream might be added to this dish to achieve a creamy consistency.
Adapted from The Chopra Center Cookbook: Nourishing Body and Soul by Deepak Chopra, M.D., et al (Wiley, 2002).