Steel Cut Oat Risotto with Prawns and Kale
January. It’s practically a curse word. The excitement of the holidays are behind us, and nothing lies ahead but the dead of winter. And with New Year’s resolutions fresh in our minds, we’re all eating bits of lettuce for breakfast and crying into our cream-less coffees. It’s no wonder those diets tend to fall by the wayside come February.
Winter is a hard time to diet, too. All you want is to curl up with a warm, filling bowl of comfort food. But I believe in compromise, and there is such a thing as comfort food that’s warming, filling, and healthy too. With that goal in mind, I’ve decided to start with a classic cold-weather dish that never gets old – risotto.
This dish is everything your typical risotto has to offer. It’s creamy, cheesy (but not too cheesy), and loaded with satisfying grains. But while most risotto is made with Arborio rice, I’ve opted for a superior nutritional option – oats. Compared to Arborio rice, steel cut oats have over twice as much protein, 5 times the iron, and 10 times the fiber. Add in a bunch of kale and some big juicy prawns, and you’ve got yourself a perfect post-holiday meal.
Why it’s good for you
Oats are an amazing grain. They’re filling, easily digested, and high in protein and fiber. The fiber in oats reduces bad cholesterol, satisfies hunger longer, and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
Kale … well, yeah. We all know kale’s healthy. It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. Thanks to kale, one serving of this risotto provides over 100% of our daily requirement for vitamins A, K, and C. It’s also chock full of cancer-fighting, anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective phytonutrients.
Prawns, like shrimp, are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also high in several minerals and are a low-calorie source of protein.
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small leek, root and green stalks removed, halved and thinly sliced.
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth, hot
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chopped kale, tough stems removed
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 Tbsp light or extra light olive oil, divided
- 1 pound raw prawns or large shrimp, tails on
- kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in olive oil.
- Add leeks to the pan and cook, stirring often, until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add oats and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of broth and cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, adding 1/2 cup at a time.
- Add the wine and kale and cook, stirring, until the kale has softened and the wine is mostly absorbed.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup parmesan.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, garnish with more grated parmesan and top with Seared Prawns and sliced green onions.
- Rinse and pat prawns dry with paper towels.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- In a bowl, toss prawns with the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
- Add shrimp to pan and cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side (shrimp should be curled in to a C shape, not a tight O shape).
- Transfer from pan to a paper towel until ready to serve.
Oat preparation adapted from Foxes Love Lemons’ Savory Mushroom and Herb Steel Cut Oat Risotto recipe.
Prawn preparation lightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Seared Shrimp Salad recipe.