Now we are nearly three weeks into January, New Year’s resolutions are being abandoned left, right and centre. Bar and pub owners around the country breath a sigh of relief as people realise just how meaningless their lives are without alcohol, drop the “dry-january” facade and neck a double whiskey on the way home from work. Likewise those friends whose instagram feeds were overflowing with smug pictures of brightly coloured salads, meat substitutes and the veganuary hashtag have gone conspicuously quiet. After all it is hard to type with fried chicken grease all over your hands.
But fear not my will-power deficient friends, here is a recipe for something veganish that is actually pretty tasty and may just restore your faith. Also, you may not believe me but, much like the proverbial puppy, veganism is not just for January. Yes that is right you don’t just have to be a vegan for a month then go back to gorging yourself on steak for breakfast. You could make this recipe all year round, and (and here’s the big one) you don’t even have to be a vegan to cook it. The only real difference from a normal risotto is that it doesn’t have any parmesan in it but the courgette pesto means it still tastes creamy and delicious. After all, most of us do very little for the environment except throwing the odd wine bottle in the recycling, so skipping the grated cheese on a couple of dinners is the least we can do.
Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto (Serves 2)
- 5 Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 Courgette
- 1/2 Tin of Artichokes
- 1/2 a Packet of Basil
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 1/2 an Onion
- 100g of Risotto Rice or Pearl Barley (I used half and half)
- 250ml of Vegetable stock
- 1/2 a lemon
How to Make it…
- Start by dicing the courgette, halving the tomatoes and quartering the artichokes. Place on a large baking tray, keeping the different vegetables separate. Drizzle with olive oil, season and out in the oven at around 180 degrees until starting to colour around the edges.
- Meanwhile make a basic risotto. Fry the diced onion and garlic in a little oil until soft. Add the rice and pearl barley and squeeze over the lemon. Add a splash of the stock and stir. Once the liquid has evaporated add a little more. Continue doing this until you have used up all the stock, stirring constantly. If the rice or pearl barley is a little hard at this point you can always add some more hot water but you want the rice to still have some bite to it.
- By now the vegetables should be done. Leave the artichokes and tomatoes to one side. With a stick blender, blitz the courgette and the leaves from the basil with a little salt and pepper. Stir the courgette mixture and the other vegetables through the risotto and serve.
Washing up rating **
I used… a chopping board, a knife, a pan, an oven tray, a stick blender and a wooden spoon.
Cost Rating *
Total cost: £2.95
(The total cost is based on the amount of each product used, buying all the ingredients new will cost £6.90)