Summer has arrived, which means lots of amazing fresh and local produce (woohoo). I have been growing some of my own veggies and herbs and also getting some from local farms. However, sometimes too many veggies (and not enough time) can lead to food waste.
I currently work part time as a project coordinator at the University of Guelph for a family food skills study that focuses on families purchasing, eating patterns, and household level food waste. In our pilot study sample of 50 families, we found that families with young children wasted an average of 5kg of food per week (with 70% of food waste coming from fruit and veggies). In fact, Canadian reports have found that the average Canadian throws away over 300 pounds of food each year. Read more by clicking here. If you want to learn more about the study I coordinate, please connect with me.
Bottom line: food waste is a major problem, it's actually being quoted as a 30 billion dollar problem because of the greenhouse gas emissions it creates. Studies have noted fruits and vegetables to be a major source of waste. Although most of us purchase our fruits and veggies with great intentions, sometimes life gets in the way and we don't end up using them all.
So in comes the veggie 'dump' risotto. I call it a veggie 'dump' because I dumped 8 different veggies that needed to be used from my fridge into this meal. Feel free to experiment and use any veggies you might have in your fridge and try this delicious risotto. If you don't eat meat, leave it out!
Side note: I grew up eating risotto and have so many wonderful memories that surround it. For that reason, it is one of my favourite dishes and a major comfort food of mine! What's your comfort meal?
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 sausages, casings removed
½ cup broccoli, minced
½ yellow bell pepper, minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
½ cup mushrooms, minced
1 cup zucchini, chopped
1 white onion, minced
½ cup tomatoes, chopped
½ cup carrots, minced or shredded
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cups Arborio rice
½ cup white wine
5-6 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
1. Mince and chop vegetables.
Side note: To make life easier I actually used my food processor and threw each vegetable in and minced them into small pieces. You can keep them as small or large as you’d like.
2. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil and begin to cook sausage meat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, and mushrooms, continue to cook for 6-7 minutes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Begin to heat vegetable broth in a small pot on low heat. You will need this handy as you make your risotto.
4. In a larger pot on medium heat, begin to heat 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter. Add rice and begin to cook, stir constantly for 1-2 minutes. Add ½ cup of white wine and raw veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini and tomato) and continue to stir. When the white wine evaporates add 1 cup of broth. Continue doing this until all the broth is used and rice is cooked (about 15-20 minutes).
Side note: taste test here. Make sure your rice is tender and creamy. If it doesn’t seem creamy add a little more broth and continue to cook.
5. Stir in the parmesan cheese, fresh parsley, and sausage/veggie mixture
Serve warm and enjoy!
Cheers to happy and healthy eating (and less food waste)! :)
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO