Creamy Asparagus and Pea Risotto

IMG_1938Disclosure: I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

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Happy National Hummus Day! Hummus is not something we need to reserve only for dipping so, let’s celebrate it’s versatility all year long. While I already posted an extremely quick and easy Zucchini Rollatini this past Tuesday that anyone can celebrate with, today’s dish a tad more sophisticated. I had recipe tested both a few times and couldn’t resist sharing each of them with you for this fun foodie holiday! The sophistication doesn’t mean a beginner cook cannot make this recipe, though. It takes a bit longer to prepare with the easy steps below, but since it can be made ahead of time and served cold, that shouldn’t be a problem for any summer party!

My favorite Sabra hummus variety has always been the Pine Nut, so I knew that would have to be what I used in this risotto. It adds the perfect nuttiness to balance with the earthiness of the asparagus and slight sweetness of the peas. I’ve loved asparagus risotto since my honeymoon almost five years ago, and this recipe was my first attempt at re-creating it. Tim agrees it was a huge success!

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There are a few problems with a typical creamy risotto as a meal though. First, it is lacking in protein and fiber, which can lead to over-eating. Second, it typically is very rich in butter, cream and cheese, leaving your digestive tract a tad unhappy later. This recipe is a solution to those issues since I used carnaroli rice (hailed in Italy as the King of risotto rices) which has a bit more resistant of a starch. This makes it a little more filling than arborio, though it does mean a slightly longer cooking process. By using the hummus to add creaminess, we also eliminate the extremely high fat content, providing for an excellent taste and texture without feeling overly full or having digestive trouble later! The heavy asparagus portion and the peas add more fiber and protein, too.

This is a perfect appetizer to share with a group before a vegetable and fish entree. Since the hummus makes it creamy in texture instead of actual cream, it also isn’t too filling, making it great before a meal while you’re socializing this spring and summer.

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Creamy Asparagus and Pea Risotto

Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serving size 1/3 to 1/2 Cup
Serves 8 to 12 as appetizer

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Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp vegan or grassfed butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Cup carnaroli rice (or arborio)
  • 1 quart hearty low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 container Sabra pine nut hummus
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 lb fresh asparagus stems, cut into 1-1.5 inch long pieces
  • 1 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • black pepper to taste
Directions:
  • In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic until translucent, about 4-6 minutes.
  • Add the rice and mix well until fully incorporated into the mixture.
  • Pour one half cup of the broth as well as lemon juice into the pan and stir. Once all of the liquid has absorbed, reducing heat slightly to just below medium before adding 1 cup of the broth and stirring until liquid is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth. This should take about 30-40 minutes with carnaroli rice and 20-25 with arborio.
  • Roughly half way through the cooking of the rice, heat the teaspoon of oil in another pan over low-medium.
  • Add the asparagus and peas and stir. Add black pepper to taste and cover, letting cook roughly 5-7 minutes before removing from heat.
  • Remove from heat before adding 1/4 Cup of water plus 3/4 of the container (7.5 ounces) of hummus and stir well.
  • Mix the asparagus and peas into the risotto mixture and transfer all contents into a serving bowl.
  • Can be served warm or cold.

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