Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Butternut Bonanza!: Puerto Rican Butternut Squash and Green Pea Risotto (Risotto de Calabaza y Guisante a lo Criollo)

May I have a bowl, please?
Hi all! I hope you all are enjoying your week so far! I know I am, especially after making this recipe. :) I'm in heaven! It's a little more time consuming than the other recipes that I post, but it is oh so worth it! This is great as a side dish for Thanksgiving (if you want to add a Puerto Rican flair to your dinner feast!) or as a nice dinner entree. It's creamy, filling and oh so good! And no cheese or butter was added, as is what is usually added to a risotto. An A+ in my book! :)

I've been wanting to create a recipe that had a Puerto Rican feel to it but while still remaining vegan, gluten free (which is easy peasy in Puerto Rican cooking. Who knew?) and yummilicious! I love using sofrito (a combination of onions, garlic, bell peppers (or aji dulces if you can get them), and cilantro) in dishes because it brings out so much flavor to anything you make! It's the equivalent to the French's use of mirepoix, but with a Puerto Rican twist. I feel like every culture has their own mirepoix or sofrito and exploring those different cultures makes cooking so much fun! I learned how to make sofrito from my mom and boy am I glad she taught me the basics of Puerto Rican cooking. I'm by no means as good as her at creating the most authentic of dishes (being that I veganize and health-ify every dish I make) but I try my best! I hope you think this is somewhat authentic Mom!

I think the addition of the butternut squash and the peas gives the dish a sweetness and fall flavor that I love. If I was in Puerto Rico, I probably would have used pigeon peas (gandules) for the sweet peas to give a more authentic feel, but the sweet peas lend a nice touch and plus they're much easier to obtain than pigeon peas. Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I did! :)

Puerto Rican Butternut Squash and Green Pea Risotto                                 (Risotto de Calabaza y Guisante a lo Criollo)

 Yield: ~6 1/2 cups
 Cooking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: ~ 6

283 grams (1 1/2 cups) short grain brown rice
588 grams (2 1/2 cups) filtered water
228 grams (1 1/2 cups) 1/2 inch chopped tomatoes
110 grams (heaping 3/4 cup) 1/2 inch chopped green bell pepper
110 grams (heaping 3/4 cup) 1/2 inch chopped red bell pepper
76 grams (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup) 1/2 inch chopped yellow onion
56 grams (1 1/4 cup) roughly chopped cilantro (leaves and some stems)
14 grams (1/4 cup) sun dried tomatoes reconstituted in 1/4 cup boiled vegetable stock
1 tablespoon minced garlic
5 cups (1250 grams/1183 mililiters) vegetable stock
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons 1/8 inch sliced green olives
3/4 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
280 grams (1 1/2 cups) steamed cooked 1/2 inch chopped butternut squash
138 grams (1 cup frozen) sweet green peas
11 grams (1/4 cup) roughly chopped cilantro (garnish, optional)

Place brown rice in a medium sized bowl and cover with the water. Let soak for 8 - 12 hours on your counter top. Drain, rinse and set aside.

Place the tomatoes, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, onion, the 1 1/4 cups cilantro, sun dried tomatoes along with the vegetable stock in which they were reconstituted and minced garlic in a blender or food processor and blend (process) until smooth. Set aside.

In a pot, heat up the vegetable stock and keep on a low simmer.

In a large pot, heat up the coconut oil on medium-low heat. Once heated, add the contents from the blender, the green olives, salt, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, turmeric, and cayenne and stir to combine. Heat this mixture and let simmer for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. Add the soaked rice and stir to combine. Keep simmering (stir every now and then), until more water has evaporated, about 5 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup of heated vegetable stock to this mixture and stir to combine. Keep stirring every so often and cook until some of the liquid has evaporated or until when you run your spoon through the mixture, it leaves a valley that slowly fills up back again with the mixture. When this happens, add 1/2 cup more vegetable stock and stir. Wait until the liquid has evaporated and add 1/2 cup more stock. Repeat this process until you have no more vegetable stock left. This may take about an hour.

When you pour in the last 1/2 cup vegetable stock, add the peas and butternut squash and mix thoroughly. Cook until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve immediately. Enjoy!


  • Feel free to add any vegetable you desire to this dish! Chopped kale or greens would go lovely in here, or some chopped broccoli or carrots. Whatever your heart desires! If you were to add in a harder vegetable (such as carrots), I would add it to the dish at the beginning as opposed to the end like I did with the peas and butternut squash, so it can cook thoroughly. 

Yum! :P
Here you can find the nutritional information for this dish from CRON-O-Meter. What I love about this dish is that it is low in fat but high in flavor and nutrients! A serving of this has 77% of your daily value for vitamin A, 92% of your daily value of vitamin C, is high in magnesium, vitamin K, and high in vitamin B1 and B6! And to boot, it has 6 grams of fiber! Can't go wrong here! :) The only thing I would tweak is the amount of salt I put in the dish in order to decrease the sodium content. If you are sensitive to salt, I would decrease it a bit but I promise it will still be full of flavor! :)

Thank you all for stopping by. I really appreciate you coming to visit the blog. I will try very hard to get in a dessert butternut squash recipe on the blog before Thanksgiving so you have another butternut recipe for the Thanksgiving feast. I am excited using this yummy squash in different ways and I hope you are enjoying the recipes! I will be back soon! :)

Rawnessa <3

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