– vegan – Gluten free –
The perfect fall-inspired sweet ‘n’ savory dish. Creamy maple risotto tossed with mushrooms, cranberries, spinach and roasted squash seeds, stuffed in a maple-flavored roasted acorn squash. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms myself, so I’ve added an alternative version for those of you that are like me!
For this recipe, you will need:
- Acorn squash: loaded with vitamins, minerals and macronutrients. Just half an acorn squash has 7 grams of fiber, 29% daily value (DV) of vitamin A, 23% DV of vitamin B6, 24% DV of vitamin B1, 22% DV of vitamin C, 26% DV of potassium, 22% DV of magnesium, 21% DV of manganese, 15% DV of copper, and 16% DV of vitamin B5. Not many other foods can bolster this many nutrients in such a small serving!
- Arborio rice: an Italian short-grain rice, perfect for making risotto dishes. One serving (1 cup) of cooked arborio rice has 4.4 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 15% of your daily recommended iron intake. Due to its high starch content and high glycemic index, arborio rice isn’t the healthiest choice of rice, but it is still a whole grain and works best for risotto dishes. Arborio rice is glutinous, but it is still considered gluten-free because the gluten is different and doesn’t bother those with a gluten-sensitivity.
- Mushrooms (button mushrooms): a low-carb, low-calorie source of vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of cooked mushrooms has 3.5 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fiber, 87% DV of copper, 67% DV of vitamin B5, 50% DV of vitamin B3, 43% DV of vitamin B2, 34% DV of selenium, 21% DV of potassium, 19% DV of phosphorus, 17% DV of zinc and 15% DV of iron. Mushrooms are a great way to get vitamins and minerals on a plant-based diet, especially if trying to lose weight.
- Vegan creamy mushroom soup (I used Imagine Portobello Mushroom Soup): I recommend using this soup even if you don’t like mushrooms because the flavor is mild, but you can also use any cream-based soup or vegetable broth. This soup lacks many nutrients, but it will add a rich, creamy flavor and an extra 2 grams of protein to your meal.
- Fresh spinach: one of the most nutrient-dense greens. Just one cup (or one handful) of spinach has 161% DV of vitamin K, 121% DV of vitamin A, 15% DV of folate, 15% DV of manganese and 8% DV of magnesium.
- Dried cranberries (craisins): a good source of antioxidants and fiber – just 1/4 cup has 3 grams of fiber. I recommend buying craisins that aren’t sweetened to avoid excess refined sugar.
- Shallots: part of the onion family, but has a milder flavor than most onions. Like other members of the allium family, shallots lower the risk of disease and aids the body in removing toxins and detoxifying the liver.
- Pure maple syrup: although high in sugar, is loaded with 24 antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to protect against chronic diseases, brain inflammation, intestinal inflammation, and nerve inflammation. Therefore, pure maple syrup is a great natural sweetener when used in moderation. Fake maple syrup is made with high fructose corn syrup and provides zero health benefits.
- Cinnamon: has great anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. Adding spices to your meals is a simple way to prevent the risk of heart disease and lower blood sugar levels.
- Extra virgin olive oil: one of the best oils for its healthy, monounsaturated fats. Just 4 tablespoons of evoo has over 35% of your daily intake of vitamin K and vitamin E, as well as 5% of your daily omega-6. It is also one of the most beneficial foods for healing inflammation due to the presence of oleic acid and oleocanthol. It is important to choose extra virgin olive oil over other lighter olive oils that have been diluted with cheaper oils like soybean oil or canola oil that have less health benefits. Evoo becomes even more valuable when you pair it with fresh vegetables, as the fats from the oil help to better absorb the nutrients in the vegetables.
You will also need:
A baking sheet
A fine mesh strainer (for squash seeds)
A fry pan (for squash seeds + mushrooms)
A medium/large saucepan