Healthy Spelt & wild mushroom risotto

Winter recipes tend to be heavy. Sultry stews, cheesy pasta and creamy soups. Summer is the time where we tend to revert to crispy salads and juicy veg bowls. But, if you’re like me; January is a great time to get our butts down to the gym. To sort out our squat game and clean up our diets. There’s something about using the new year for good. But I don’t want to be nibbling on raw carrots. Playing around in the kitchen I whipped up this creamy, healthy risotto and you can make it too.

(I know wth is spelt but trust me. It might be fussier to prepare but it tastes gorgeous. Spelt can be difficult to get hold of – if you can’t find it. (Ie if you don’t live near a Waitrose) you can use Pearl Barley which tastes similar just takes a little longer to cook.)

Mushroom Risotto

Put in your trolley

200g pearled spelt (or pearl barley if spelt is a bugger to find.)

25g dried porcini mushrooms

½ tbsp olive oil

1 onion finely chopped

2 garlic clove crushed and chopped

100g chestnut chopped as chunkily as you like

100ml white wine

1l hot vegetable stock

1 tbsp low-fat crème fraîche

bunch chives


Okay – so the spelt is a bit of a bugger but just think to yourself I have 20 minutes to get another job done. Eh.

Step 1

Cover the spelt with cold water in one bowl and soak the dried mushrooms in 100ml of boiling water in another (for 20 minutes.)  Go and watch the end of whatever Netflix show you’ve got on with a glass of wine.

Step 2

Heat oil, chuck in the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes. Then add the chestnut mushrooms and cook for another two minutes. Drain the spelt and add, then tip in the white wine. Simmer until almost all of the wine has gone, stirring often. You don’t want it to stick!

Mushroom Risotto

Step 3

Make up the vegetable stock. Drain the mushrooms and add them to the pan, but don’t throw away the water you’ve been soaking them in! Add the liquid to the stock and stir.

Step 4

Stir in a cup of stock at a time and simmer. Stir often, waiting till the stock’s been absorbed to add another. Continue till the spelt is tender (around 20 minutes.) Stir through the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper to your liking. Spoon onto plates and sprinkle over the chives.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

Okay – risotto is normally thought of as a heavy calorie choice, but with the swaps from rice to barley and the low fat crème fraiche this comes in at 255 per portion. Can’t really argue with that. You could add meat, or parmesan (or veggie substitute) as you see fit but I think it’s perfect the way it is.

Book Recommendations

Every week I pair a book with said recipe. This week I’m suggesting Spectacles by Sue Perkins. Not only is it a fantastic memoir, it’s funny, special and will make you feel warm inside. Much like this mushroom risotto.


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