Winter Equals Risotto… and Mushrooms!

Photography & Recipe, Buffy Ellen

As the cold winter months are upon us a good warm, hearty dinner is the best way to heat our bodies from the cold.

Buffy Ellen, Australasia’s leading plant-based nutritionist and founder of Be Good Organics, remade this family favourite using short grain brown rice, so you get the whole grain – endosperm, bran and the germ.

Regular risotto is made with Arborio rice, while it’s creamy, it skips the bran and germ and delivers you with the pure starch carbohydrates from the endosperm.

Research shows despite the bad rap that they sometimes get, whole grains play an incredibly important role in the lowering of chronic disease risk, such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, as well as helping with optimal weight management.

Using short brown rice still gives you that creamy finish, but this one’s got a bit more bite than your regular.

Adding a couple of tablespoons of cashew butter to finish off the dish, as well as yeast and vegetable stock, creates a creamy cheesiness that you’d typically expect from the parmesan in risotto.


  • 1 1/2 cup short grain brown rice
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 onions
  • 6 cups mushrooms sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed/chopped
  • 1/2 cup kombucha / white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (4 cups boiling water + 4 stock cubes)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 200g spinach
  • sea salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste


  • Olive Oil
  • Microgreens
  • Classic cashew cheese
  • OR Brazil nut parmesan


  1. Soak the rice in water overnight (if you forget don’t worry – you can just add extra water later, but this makes for creamier, more digestible, and faster cooking risotto). Rinse and drain.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep pot, then add the onion and cook on low for 5 minutes until siftened and translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another few miniutes until beginning to soften. Meanwhile boil a jug of water if you’re using stock cubes.
  3. Turn up on medium heat, stir in the rice, and pour over the kombucha and cook for a few minutes until it is all absorbed
  4. Now add the stock cubes and boiling water (or vegetable stock) 1 cup at a time, and stir until fully absorbed. This process might take about 10-15 minutes. If you don’t soak your rice overnight, you will need to add an extra 1 cup of water at the end.
  5. Finally, add the nutritional yeast, spinach, salt and pepper, stirring until just combined and the spinach has just wilted.
  6. Serve immediatly, topped with micro greens, a drizzle of olive oil and a dollop of classic cashew cheese.
  7. Devour the deliciousness!


  • Use organic kombucha for a healthy twist.
  • You may think its a lot of mushrooms and spinach, but it dissolves down so you will want that extra vege!
  • Using 4 cups of boiling water and stock cubes saves time.
  • Make sure you use short grain rice, that what will give your risotto a deliciously creamy result without having to add butter and cheese at the end.
  • Don’t have spinach? Don’t worry! Kale, silverbeet, or cavolo nero would work well too – just destem it and finely chop, making sure to add it a bit earlier as it’ll need a bit longer to wilt.

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