Herby Broad Bean, Spinach & Artichoke Speltotto
This veggie-packed dinner (six to be exact) was the unexpected happy result of me getting half way through making a pea and asparagus risotto, only to realise that I in fact, neither had peas, nor did I have asparagus! I did however, manage to think on my feet and make an equally delicious vegan spring-veggie-filled alternative, which I’m sure will fast become a staple in my house too. The recipe can be simplified to only contain freezer/larder ingredients too, so it is a great one to keep on hand for those inevitably manic days when you find yourself totally out of fresh produce. The broad beans were frozen, the artichoke hearts came from a jar and I have lazily fallen in love with frozen pre-chopped onions, which I am slightly embarrassed to admit as my mum would definitely not approve. I do love making meals like that though, as it gives me comfort knowing that I could still feed my family well should we be struck by an-end-of-the-world-style-apocalypse!
The powerhouse that is spelt provides complex carbohydrates, protein, tons of fibre and many health-boosting micronutrients. One portion provides 15g of plant-based protein or 29g of protein if you use bone broth instead of vegetable stock. It also provides HALF of my daily fibre, a quarter of my Vitamin C, almost a third of my Iron and over 60% of my Vitamin A daily requirements. Not to mention, it is down right delicious! If you aren’t vegan or vegetarian, I highly recommend substituting the vegetable stock for bone broth instead. It adds a real richness to the flavour, is full of minerals that support the immune system and contains gut healing compounds that can reduce intestinal inflammation.
CHEATS TIP — You can buy pre-cooked sachets of Spelt to use which turns this into a super quick last minute meal. The risotto is also great for batch cooking as it freezes very well.
· 2 tsp Olive Oil
· 3 Garlic Cloves
· 150g Leeks
· 150g Onion
· 150ml Dry White Wine
· 600ml Vegetable Stock (or Bone Broth)
· 150g Courgette
· 150g Artichoke Hearts (cooked)
· 250g Spelt (Uncooked)
· 100g Spinach Leaves
· 150g Frozen Broad Beans
· Salt & Fresh Pepper to taste.
· A generous handful of fresh Basil, Dill & Chives (or any other herbs of your choice)
· 1 tbsp dried herbs of your choice
· Optional – 40g grated Parmesan or some crumbled Goats Cheese.
· Weigh the spelt and rinse thoroughly.
· Finely chop the onion and leek.
· Peel and mince the garlic.
· Chop the courgettes and artichoke hearts.
· Heat the oil in a wide based pan, add the onion and leek, and cook over a medium heat until soft but not brown.
· Add the garlic and stir occasionally for a minute.
· Add the spelt until it is frying and starting to colour lightly.
· Pour in the wine and continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes.
· Add the dried herbs and pour in ½ of the bone broth or vegetable stock and cook for 10 minutes.
· Continue adding broth/stock one ladle at a time until the spelt is tender and most of the liquid has absorbed.
· While the spelt is cooking, in a frying pan, sauté the courgettes in a little oil for 5 minutes until starting to brown. Set aside. (I do this because cooking them in the risotto tends to make them mushier and I like my vegetables to still have a little texture to them, but to save washing up, you could just add them to the spelt while it’s cooking.)
· Boil the frozen broad beans for 3-5 minutes, drain and set aside.
· Optional but recommended step: In a blender, add 100g of the cooked broad beans, spinach, and fresh herbs. Blitz until a smooth puree. This gives the risotto a gorgeous green colour, but if you are short on time, just add all of those ingredients straight to the spelt for the remaining few minutes of cooking instead.
· Add the remaining broad beans to the spelt, along with the artichoke hearts.
· Once the spelt is soft and the water has been absorbed, stir in all of the puree and the courgettes (and the grated parmesan if using), and season with salt and pepper.
· Serve & enjoy!
Calories – 338 (With Bone Broth – 392)
Fat – 2g (With Bone Broth - 3g)
Carbohydrates – 62g
Protein – 15g (With Bone Broth - 29g)
Fibre – 13g
Vitamin C – 25%
Vitamin A – 61%
Calcium – 8%
Iron – 29%