Think of mixed grain risotto as your culinary blank canvas, adaptable to any season; this summery version has ripe tomatoes, zucchini, and basil. The grains deliver vitamins (E, thiamin, folate, B6) and minerals (zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium) year-round.

This recipe is from The Real-Food Diet Mix-and-Match Meal Plan .
Servings: Serves 6-8
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small yellow squash , quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini , quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup each brown rice and pearl barley and wild rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 6 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan , plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil , plus some whole leaves for garnish (optional)
  • 1 large tomato , seeded and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Directions
    Note: Instead of using three different grains, try 1 1/2 cups of a whole grain rice mix.

    Heat oil in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 3/4 of squash and zucchini, and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add brown rice, barley, and wild rice; toast, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add wine (if using) and cook 1 minute more. Add broth; bring to a boil. Partially cover pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rice and barley are tender and risotto is thick and slightly soupy, about 45 minutes.

    Stir in rest of squash and zucchini and corn (if using); cook, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, and basil garnish (if using).

    Recipe variations:

    Replace vegetables with...

    • Spring: Peas, asparagus, and watercress or spinach leaves.
    • Fall: Shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, radicchio, and flat-leaf parsley.
    • Winter: Acorn or butternut squash, dried fruit (such as apricots, cranberries, golden raisins, and cherries), and brussels sprouts (add them near the end of cooking).
    All year round: Add cooked chicken, pork, sausage, or beef toward the end of cooking. To spice things up, add chopped jalapeƱos when cooking the onions.

    From Hudson Valley Mediterranean: The Gigi Good Food Cookbook, by Laura Pensiero. Copyright (c) 2009 by Laura Pensiero. Published by William Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.


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