Meatless Monday: Arame, Shiitake, and Pea Risotto

Meatless Monday: Arame, Shiitake, and Pea Risotto

Nothing quite satisfies like a stick-to-your ribs risotto. This recipe has that comforting quality, along with some added health bonuses.

Nothing quite satisfies like a good ol’ stick-to-your ribs risotto. This recipe has that comforting quality to it, along with some additional health bonuses.

For instance, it boasts the sea vegetable arame, which adds a savoury quality to the dish. Although sea vegetables have been a staple in many cultures for centuries, they have only recently received their due credit for their health-promoting properties. In addition to their high iodine content, sea vegetables are also high in iron, which may be beneficial to vegetarians, who may not get enough iron in the diet.

Also adding to this dish both flavour- and health-wise are the shiitake mushrooms, which offer that distinct umami flavour that’s so hard to resist. Plus, shiitake mushrooms may aid in preventing weight gain, according to a 2011 rat study. The researchers observed that those subjects who were fed the high shiitake mushroom powder (as opposed to the medium and low) gained the least amount of weight on a high-fat diet.

The following recipe is by Timothy Hennessy, RNCP. For more information on the wonders of seaweed, check out Hennessy’s full article, “Sea Vegetables.”

Arame, Shiitake and Pea Risotto
Arame has a mild, semisweet flavour and is rich in iron, calcium, and iodine. When soaked, it will expand to twice its volume.

1/4 cup (60 mL) arame
3 tsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) sliced shiitake mushrooms
6 cups (1.5 L) kombu stock
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced fine
1 cup (250 mL) arborio rice
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh green peas

Quickly rinse arame and soak for 5 minutes in cold water; drain, chop, and set aside.

In medium frying pan, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden and tender. Reserve.

Heat stock in medium pot. Keep on low temperature.

In another medium pot heat 1 tsp olive oil and add onion. Sauté to 3 minutes on medium heat. Add rice, stir to coat, and toast for 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high.

Add ladleful of warm stock to rice, stir. Continue adding stock, 1 ladleful at a time, as it is absorbed and stir.

When rice is almost cooked (it should be tender to taste with a bit of a bite at the centre) add arame, peas, and a last ladle of stock. Stir well, add mushrooms to reheat, and serve.

Serves 4.

One serving contains: 150 calories; 5 g protein; 0.75 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 1 g fibre; 15 mg sodium

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