It’s that time of year…
…when my Mom & begin frantically testing veg-friendly Thanksgiving recipes! Thanks to the brilliant spreads in both VegNews & Vegetarian Times we have a lot of inspiration to draw from. Yet, as we are both admitted obsessive cookbook collectors, we have a lot to pull from there as well. We thought we were getting a head start a few weeks ago when we whipped up this lovely “Baked Thanksgiving Risotto” but time has a way of getting away from you! With Thanksgiving in a brief 2 weeks, we need to get cooking & settle our menu.
This glorious risotto comes from Nava Altas’ “Vegan Holiday Kitchen”, which is chock full of wonderful vegan recipes for every occasion. There are some scrumptious recipes in the Thanksgiving chapter, but the risotto really called out to us. We ultimately chose this dish for a multitude of reasons: 1.) We love risotto, B.) baked risotto ”should be” quick & easy 3.) we wanted to prove that our little kerfuffle with Nava’s “Lemony Asparagus Risotto” that we made last Easter was due in fact to mountain kitchen altitude factors & not user error/recipe issues. Upon making this risotto we confirmed the following a.) We always love risotto. b.) baked risotto “IS” quick & easy c.) Nava is a genius, her recipes are perfect & the kerfuffle was the altitude’s fault.
Nava’s comforting risotto is given a festive seasonal spin with the “Three Sisters” of the natural harvest – corn, squash, & beans. We chose butternut as our featured squash, however she also recommends that you may use delicata or golden acorn. We followed the directions to the letter & our end result was a perfectly creamy & decadent dish. While a baked risotto does take a bit of patience & care, it needs not nearly as much TLC as a stove-top version. Put rice & liquid in a casserole dish, place in the oven, & bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes (as opposed to every 3-5 minutes while standing over a hot stove!), then add more liquid & other ingredients as directed at the third stirring. So easy, breezy, & what emerges from the oven is a much moister & creamier risotto than I have ever been able to cultivate stove-top. Baked is the way to go, for sure!
To accompany our risotto, we created this festive fall salad with arugula, red pear, pistachios & a maple-dijon vinaigrette. The combination of flavors – the juicy pear, with the peppery arugula, & sweet & zesty vinaigrette – were perfection.
The verdict is still out on what will make it on our Thanksgiving table, & time is running out, so we best get crack-a-lackin’. However, this colorful fall risotto is certainly a worthy contender – either as a side, or as the main attraction. Want the recipe? Gotta pick up Vegan Holiday Kitchen for this dish & dozens more that will delight you when planning holiday menus. It was my intention to do a series of these sneak peek recipe tests before revealing our final menu, & will certainly do so if time allows, but you just might have to wait & see! ***If you’d like the recipe for Nava’s “Lemony Asparagus Risotto” click here, as she allowed me to share it!