Mushroom, Lentil and Spinach Risotto

lentil risotto

Warm, creamy, elegant, earthy and sweet, risottos are comfort food to me. And although people are often intimated by the idea, I love cooking them too. They're actually very simple to make, and although risottos do require pretty much constant attention, they're only really fussy toward the end of the cooking time when you want your rice grains cooked just to a perfect creamy and toothsome or al dente texture. But with a careful eye to this last step, risottos are actually a snap to make.

Another lovely aspect of risottos is their openness to other ingredients and flavors … although I do consider that mushrooms and Parmesan cheese are almost essential to a really classic risotto. This attractive mushroom risotto has lentils and spinach in addition to these classic flavors, making it a complete meal on a plate.

Mushroom, Lentil and Spinach RisottoMushroom, Lentil and Spinach Risotto
Recipe by
Cuisine: Italian
Published on May 9, 2013

Simple, warming, creamy and classic mushroom risotto with lentils and spinach

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

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  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/3 cup dried green or brown lentils
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 oz (225 g) white mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium leeks, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • 3 green onions, green and white parts, sliced
  • 1 1/4 cups arborio or other risotto rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 bunch (1 lb) fresh spinach, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Combine the vegetable stock, bay leaf and thyme in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the lentils, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils, reserving the stock. Set aside the lentils and return the stock to the saucepan. Keep heated at a gentle simmer over low heat.1

  • Meanwhile, heat some water over medium heat in a medium saucepan and add the spinach. Simmer until the spinach is slightly wilted. Drain off the excess liquid and set aside.

  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the mushrooms, leeks, garlic, jalapeño if using, and the white parts of the green onion, and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until the leeks are soft.

  • Turn the heat down slightly. Add the rice and stir gently to coat the grains with oil. Add the wine and stir until the wine is absorbed. Add a ladle of the heated stock and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed.

  • Continue adding stock to the rice one ladle at a time, stirring and waiting each time until the stock has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Continue this process until most of the stock has been used up. At this point taste the rice and check to see if it is cooked to your preferred texture — the risotto should be soft, creamy and cooked throughout while holding its shape, but you may not want to use all the stock if you prefer your risottos more on the al dente side. If necessary, add some water if you run out of stock and the risotto still requires a bit more cooking time.

  • Before adding the last ladle of stock that you use, season with salt and pepper and stir in the reserved cooked lentils. Add the final ladle and continue cooking as before.

  • Remove from heat as soon as the risotto is finished to your desired consistency. Stir in the spinach and Parmesan cheese, and serve right away in shallow bowls. Top each bowl with a scattering of the green parts of the sliced green onions.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

mushroom lentil and spinach risotto

Other legume risottos you will enjoy:
Green Bean and Borlotti Bean Risotto
Spicy Azuki Bean Risotto
Spicy Tamarind and Channa Risotto Kitcheree


Becca @ Amuse Your Bouche said...

I've never thought of putting lentils in risotto before but that looks delicious!

Baxter said...

When do you put the mushrooms in?

Lisa Turner said...

I have fixed the omission Baxter. The mushrooms go in with the leeks. Sorry for any confusion.

Melanie said...

I just found this recipe and decided to make it for lunch. It is awesome! Thank you so much!