Lemony Pea and Artichoke Risotto

As a dietitian, I always try and stay on top of the latest nutrition news, food safety scares, and relevant research, so I’m well aware of the latest fears and concerns over arsenic in our rice. As a result, I’ve made a conscious effort to eat less rice. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I cooked it. One of the best ways to ensure a healthy diet is to eat a wide variety of foods, and when people ask me if they should stop eating rice all together, I tell them it’s a great opportunity to incorporate new grains into their diet: farro, barley, bulgur, quinoa, etc. The more variety consumed from other whole grains, the less exposure to arsenic levels in rice.

But sometimes a girl just wants rice.

I keep thinking of my perfect-for-winter rice cooker risotto, and while I could use other whole grains in place of rice, I really wanted that fluffy texture and mild taste from rice. So I cracked open a box of brown rice, and got cooking. This goes along with my philosophy that no one food is going to make or break your diet, and all foods fit in moderation.



2 cups brown rice

8oz soy mozzarella cheese

1 bag frozen artichoke hearts (pre-cut into quarters)

2 cups frozen peas

zest and juice from one lemon

4c vegetable broth

1c water

Technically speaking, this isn’t really risotto since I’m not using short-grain white rice or arborio rice, but in my opinion, the cheese plus rice combo gets close enough. The rice cooker eliminates the need to stand over the stove constantly stirring the risotto, so this is a great set-it-and-forget-it meal.

Place all ingredients in your rice cooker except the frozen peas. Set your rice cooker according to manufacturers directions (mine has a brown rice setting I use) and walk away! Once the rice has cooked, about two hours, add in the frozen peas, which will instantly defrost from the hot rice. I don’t like to include the peas initially because they tend to turn mushy and brown during the cooking process. Stir before serving.

I love the lemony flavor and the pop from the peas, not to mention the complete ease of tossing together this insanely comforting meal.


  1. Posted January 23, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Ha, I love your comment that sometimes you just want rice. As a dietetic intern, I always try to eat what’s healthy…but sometimes I just want a big bowl of pasta or rice. Just great feel good food!

  2. ewjanel
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Agree! And one bowl of rice (or pasta, or candy) won’t kill anyone 🙂

  3. Carol R. Rogers
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Janel, I’ve enjoyed trying your recipes. I’ve tried your “cream” of tomato soup and the minestrone soup since subscribing to your blog. I have a dairy and egg intolerance so these recipes have been delicious and easy! I was so excited to be able to eat a “cream” soup! Thanks so much for your yummy, delicious recipes!

  4. ewjanel
    Posted January 23, 2013 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    What a sweet comment to receive – thank you! I’m so glad you’ve found some recipes you enjoy. I just recently started eating eggs, so some of my recipes may have those, but all are dairy free!

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