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A great bowl of risotto can transport me to a leisurely meal in Italy. But when I think of making it myself at home it’s a different story. While super tasty and full of flavor, risotto is also time consuming and laborious to prepare. And as a relatively low-nutrient food, it’s not a preferred grain for everyday eating.
Authentic risotto usually uses Arborio rice (a short grain Italian variety) slowly cooked over low heat while adding small amounts of broth until absorbed. The result is a creamy rice dish that’s very versatile — a great stand-alone side dish, or a base for adding a variety of vegetables or proteins. But it can take up to an hour to prepare — with constant stirring — a real deterrent when time is limited.
Others save risotto for a special occasion treat, because it’s an almost pure carbohydrate food, without many other nutrients.
While the healthiest way to eat is to focus on simply prepared, fresh foods, I love when a packaged shortcut comes along that supports healthy eating with a “fancy twist”— providing solid nutrition that’s quick and easy. So if you like risotto, the new RightRice Risotto might just be a good fit for you.
Made from vegetables and legumes (like lentils and chickpeas), it’s a nutrient rich product loaded with protein and fiber. It has the authentic taste of rice — because it also contains rice. The ingredient list is short, and you’ll recognize every name, and be able to pronounce it. It’s also a complete protein source, vegan, gluten free and kosher.
Compare that with white Arborio rice with about 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 240 calories. If you’re a carb counter the “net carbs” are lower than arborio rice because of the increased fiber. (Fiber is classified as a non-digestible carbohydrate, so subtracting that from the total carb amount leaves you with the digestible, or “net” carbohydrates.)
If you’re watching your salt intake, keep in mind that a serving has 340 mg of sodium — about 15% of your daily recommended amount. That’s still quite low compared with other packaged rice products, but it is more than unseasoned rice. But as a fully seasoned product, no additional sodium is needed, compared to what you’d add when you’re preparing risotto from scratch.
Risotto is a dish you can make your own by adding animal proteins like grilled chicken, fish, or seafood or plant proteins like tofu and seitan. Grilled or steamed vegetables along with your favorite seasonings create a unique tasty side or main dish. Another shortcut for built-in flavor is the four different varieties to choose from: creamy parmesan style, wild mushroom, basil pesto and creamy cracked pepper.
Ready in 12 minutes, it’s as easy as boiling water in a saucepan, adding the rice and stirring occasionally for 5 minutes over low heat. Remove it from the heat, and let it stand, covered, for about 7 minutes. That’s it! Stir, and serve immediately.
It’s a nutritional “win-win” to introduce more plant proteins into your diet, and treat yourself to a quick fancy dish at the same time.