This time of year equals all things warm, cozy, and hearty to keep us sane during winter in Minnesota. Although the weather has been mild so far, I am looking for healthy, easy meals that last more than one dinner because–let’s get real–momma wants to get as close to hibernating without actually sleeping through the next four months!

As such, I’m going to share one of my family’s favorite knockoff recipes for risotto. Since I rarely have the time to dedicate an hour-and-a-half to two hours for any meal, this is about 30 minutes from start to finish, but still super savory and filling. Since our little guy is allergic to dairy (and eggs and peanuts), this recipe is vegan and tastes better than the list of ingredients might lead you to believe.


  • 1 bag or box of your favorite whole grain brown ricepicture 1
  • 1 can of Great Northern White beans
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 bell pepper (any color, diced)
  • 2 medium carrots (peeled and diced)
  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning

Directions:Quick and Easy Risotto

  1. Rinse your rice in a fine wire mesh colander and start cooking it, following instructions on the package.
  2. Dice your vegetables and sauté them in 1 tablespoon of EVOO over medium-high heat, starting with the carrots. After the carrots have been cooking for 3-4 minutes, add the onions. Add the peppers after another 3 minutes. Lastly, add about 1/2 cup of the frozen peas. The vegetables should take about 10-12 minutes total; stir them regularly and cook until tender.picture 3
  3. Rinse and strain your beans and throw them in your food processor or blender with some olive oil (1-2 tsp. of EVOO) and blend until smooth. Note: If you have kids who are picky eaters or don’t want to eat their vegetables if they can see them, feel free to blend in your cooked vegetables with your beans. They don’t have to know every ingredient!
  4. When the rice is done cooking, add the beans to the rice and add some vegetable stock, stirring to thin the mix to your desired consistency (about ½ to 1 cup or so of the stock).
  5. Add the vegetables and thin again with vegetable stock, as needed.
  6. Salt, pepper and add Italian seasoning to taste.Quick and Easy Risotto

From our kitchen to yours, I hope this makes many hot lunches or at least a few dinners! Please let me know how it turns out when you give it a try!