For exclusive access to all our stories, including sequences, teacher tips, video classes, and more, join Outside+ today.
This risotto is a savory take on creamy comfort food, as well as being a fresh bite to a traditional family meal with a healthy dose of adaptogens. If you’ve been relying on powdered mushrooms to get in those daily immune-boosters, now’s the time to rediscover the power of their original, whole-food form. As you stir, watch closely how the dried mushrooms spring to life. As the steam wafts toward your face, let their aromas harmonize with the umami of the thyme and nettles, another great springtime bitter herb that helps to balance excess moisture. These acts of awareness of the ways foods naturally work together is one of the many small pleasures that making this meal provides.
This recipe is part of a one-day meal plan from Root & Nourish. See the rest of the meals here.
Prep Time: 5 minutes, plus 1 hour or overnight soaking time
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 1/4 cups uncooked white basmati rice
1 ounce dried mushrooms (portobello, shiitake, or oyster)
1 tbsp dried nettles
2 cups boiling water
3 cups vegetable broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 pound white mushrooms, chopped
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1/3 cup rice vinegar
Leaves from 4 or 5 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup vegan nut parmesan, plus more for serving if desired
1 bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
Splash of plant milk, optional
Fresh parsley, for serving
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Soak the rice in water to cover for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Drain and rinse two or three times, until the water runs clear, then set aside. Set the peas on the counter to thaw.
- Put the dried mushrooms and the nettles in a medium bowl and add the boiling water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Pour the broth into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low to keep the broth at a simmer.
- Combine the garlic, shallot, and 1 tablespoon water in a medium skillet and stir to combine. Cook over medium heat until fragrant and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, adding more water if the pan gets too dry.
- Add the white and baby bella mushrooms to the pan and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, then stir in the vinegar and cook for about 5 minutes more, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Drain the soaked mushrooms through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl, reserving the soaking liquid. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and the thyme to the pan, and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low and cover.
- Add the rice to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 1 cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stir well, and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low heat and to simmer, uncovered, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Continue adding the mushroom liquid and then the hot broth, in 1-cup increments, stirring continuously and letting the rice absorb each addition before adding the next. The rice should be very creamy but still a bit chewy.
- Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the vegan parmesan. Add the mushrooms, then the spinach and peas. Stir to combine well and let stand until the spinach wilts. (The heat of the pot will wilt the spinach in a few minutes, but lightly covering the pot will expedite the process.) If the mixture got less creamy, stir in a splash of plant milk.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve garnished with fresh parsley and more parmesan, as desired.
Adapted from ROOT & NOURISH: An Herbal Cookbook for Women’s Wellness by Abbey Rodriguez and Jennifer Kurdyla. Copyright © 2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Tiller Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.