Cheesy Risotto with Basil and Garlic Scape Pesto
Seasonally inspired vegan and gluten free risotto, using garlic scapes and basil

Cheesy Risotto with Basil and Garlic Scape Pesto

I adore garlic. If I had to pick one food I couldn’t live without, garlic would be it. It is delicious pickled, sauteed, roasted, I even tried it raw once, although I am not sure that was such a fun experience for everyone around me afterwards!

In addition to being crazy delicious, garlic also contains some very powerful health benefits. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, garlic is full of antioxidants, is anti-inflammatory and contains sulfur compounds that assist with detoxification. In addition to being antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal, garlic also contains blood-thinning properties and can be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

When garlic is chopped or crushed it releases an enzyme called alliinase, which is then able to mix with a compound called alliin, resulting in the anti-cancer phytonutrient called allicin. Eaten raw, the benefits of allicin are readily available to the body. While I am a fan of raw garlic in salsa, there is only so much a person can consume before a high potential for social alienation sets in. If you crush or chop your garlic 10 minutes before consuming it, the levels of allicin are optimized and according to Nutritionfacts.org after this amount of time the benefits are not affected by cooking. This is incidentally the same compound found in onions, and the same technique applies.

When I am prepping a meal I usually start by chopping my onions and garlic. While you might not be prone to setting a timer like yours truly, I typically find by the time I am done chopping and assembling ingredients 10 minutes has passed. It’s not a whole lot more in the way of effort, but it helps maximize the benefits of onions and garlic, so why not?

When I started digging deeper into the I got really excited. It’s so lovely to be head over heels for a particular food and then find out that it is, in fact, excellent for your health. A few years ago I discovered , and my love for this inconspicuous little bulb increased. are long, thin green stalks that typically twist once. They are cut from the top of the garlic plant early in the growing process, in order to allow the bulb to fully develop. are packed full of the same nutrients as garlic bulbs with a milder flavour that tastes like a blend between garlic and green onion.

When garlic scapes are in season I find myself adding them to pretty much everything: soups, stews, sauteed or roasted veggies, etc. I was gifted a jar of pickled scapes from a friend a few years ago and I will have to add this to our repertoire as they were incredible. I typically slice mine ahead of cooking, much as I would a garlic clove or onion to maximize the allicin benefits.

is a bit of a time investment but I can tell that I have come a long way with my mindfulness practice because now spending a half an hour stirring a pot no longer makes me stir crazy. While testing this , I elicited the help of my eldest daughter, she is 11 at the moment and is an active participant in our kitchen crafting adventures. Her stirring skills are excellent, and I love how excited she got about the grains of arborio rice plumping up during the cooking process!

If nuts are not an option for you, pumpkin seeds would make a tasty, nut-free swap for the cashews in this recipe. The recipe feeds 5, with lots leftover for seconds. It is and .

Cheesy Risotto finished with Garlic Scape & Pesto

Ingredients & Directions

Broth

1 leek
1 large onion
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
6 cloves garlic
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp peppercorns
2 bay leaves
9 cups filtered water

Wash and roughly chop stock ingredients. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes or bring to a boil on the stovetop and simmer for 1.5 hours. Strain and set aside, covered with a lid to retain heat.

Cheesy Cashew Cream

1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup filtered water
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp sliced garlic scapes
½ tsp sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Assemble cashew cream ingredients in a high-speed blender (I used my Nutribullet) and process until smooth.

2 packed cups basil
1 cup garlic scapes (or ½ cup, if you prefer a milder taste)
¼ cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
6 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
Fresh cracked pepper

Assemble garlic scape ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Risotto

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 tsp sea salt
½ cup white wine (optional, or use more broth)
3 cups risotto
Warm broth from the recipe above (about 7 cups)

Heat skillet on medium and add oil. Add onions, garlic scapes, and salt, cooking until soft (about 10 minutes). Deglaze pan with white wine or broth and add risotto, stirring to coat rice grains with the onion, oil and wine mixture. Add broth, one cup at a time, stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed and the risotto has reached an al dente texture (soft, with a bit of a bite). Stir in cheesy cashew cream and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve, garnished with the garlic scape pesto.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu