This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CampaignHashtag #CollectiveBias
I love the autumn months. It’s the time of year when the weather starts getting colder, and all thoughts in the kitchen turn to comfort foods: warming, nourishing dishes that make us happy from the inside out.
So many of the traditional “comfort foods”, though, while they taste great, aren’t the healthiest options. Think gooey macaroni cheese, pastry-encased pies, stodgy bread and butter puddings, butter-laden crumbles…they’ve certainly got that comforting element, but to the detriment of our waistlines.
My aim? To come up with a recipe that still has that comfort factor and uses plenty of autumnal flavours, but without the calories of some of the alternatives.
I took my inspiration from our local branch of Better Food, where every day I walk past their beautiful display of autumn produce that they set up outside the shop.
The number of different varieties of squash they have on offer is insane…and with both squashes and apples sitting side by side, I decided to combine the two in a rich and warming risotto. How beautiful are these squashes?!
As another bonus, there’s a community garden right outside the Wapping Wharf branch of Better Food – you can simply head over and help yourself to the herbs that are grown there. On my way home, I picked a handful of fresh sage leaves to include in my meal – squash and sage is an amazing flavour combination.
As if I haven’t banged on about it enough, I lost almost 6 stone with Slimming World last year (and now run my own groups), so I’m always looking for ways to cook meals that are packed full of flavour but good for you too. This squash, bacon, sage and apple risotto fits the bill perfectly – and if you’re following Slimming World, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s only half a syn plus your healthy A choice per portion. Result!
Healthy squash, bacon, sage and apple risotto
- 350 grams risotto rice
- Frylight low calorie spray
- 600 grams squash of your choice, peeled and chopped into bitesized pieces
- 1 tbsp Asda light sunflower spread (2 syns on Slimming World)
- 1 green apple
- 8 smoked bacon medallions, any visible fat removed, chopped into bitesized pieces
- 1 litre boiling vegetable stock
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh sage, chopped
- Whole fresh sage leaves, to garnish
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 120 grams parmesan or Grana Padano, grated (4 healthy extra A choices on Slimming World)
- Preheat your oven to 200C / Gas 6. Add the chopped squash and chopped sage to an ovenproof dish, and spray with Frylight. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until tender.
- In the meantime, fry the onion and garlic in a large, heavy-based pan with Frylight. Make up the vegetable stock in a separate jug.
- Once the garlic and onion are soft, add the spread and stir to melt. Stir in the risotto rice, ensuring that it is well coated.
- Slowly add the stock, stirring regularly. When what you've added has been soaked up, add more. Keep going over a low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes, until all of the stock has been added and the rice is cooked.
- While your risotto is cooking, fry your bacon in a separate pan in Frylight until crispy. Set aside.
- Grate your apple - including the skin.
- Wash the whole sage leaves, and fry in Frylight until crisp. Set aside.
- Once the squash is cooked, reserve half of the chunks. Purée the other half of the squash (complete with the sage it was cooked with, plus a little salt and pepper). Add the puréed squash and half of the grated cheese to the risotto, and stir well.
- Stir through the squash chunks and grated apple. Spoon the risotto into four bowls, and top each with a quarter of the bacon. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, add the crispy sage leaves, and serve with a green salad.
And there you have it! What’s your favourite healthy go-to comfort food?