Brown Rice Risotto with veggies |

No-recipe lunch: Brown Rice Risotto with veggies

Posted on Posted in Inspiration, Recipes

During my second-to-last week of grad school, I ate terribly.  I had (what felt like) no food in the house because I’m moving soon and I don’t want to have a bunch of unused groceries to move.  But for my last official week of grad school, I decided to do things differently.  I took a break from frantically editing my thesis to make myself portable breakfasts and lunches for the week, so I would have no excuse to spend money or calories unnecessarily.  I rummaged through my dry goods and my fridge and set out cooking.  Breakfast was obvious: a huge vat of steel-cut oats, cooked to gooey perfection and supplemented with chia seeds for omega-3s, ready to be reheated and topped with fresh fruit or vegetables or eggs or whatever I felt like in the morning (there’s a post on this coming soon!).  For lunch, I pulled out my huge container of short-grain brown rice, some kidney beans, a box of chicken stock, and a can of olives (I love black olives, but I never really know how to use them).  I figured that if people all over the world survive on beans and rice, I definitely can for a week.

But that wasn’t exciting enough for me.  Since the rice was short grain rice, I decided that I could make a risotto.  Click here for my risotto-making method! Since I already had to stand by the stove making steel cut oats, why not have another pot of creamy whole grains cooking at the same time?  I made the brown rice risotto and oats while also prepping a roast chicken with potatoes for dinner (did I mention I was short on time??), which I hoped would give me at least 2 dinners for myself and my boyfriend.

Brown Rice Risotto with veggies |

When the rice was tender, I added a splash of milk and a hefty grating of parmesan cheese for fun, then I stirred in the beans and sliced olives.  Since that wasn’t vegetable-y enough for me, I also tore up some baby spinach and stirred until it wilted.  I really wasn’t expecting much, but this turned out to be delicious!  Definitely something I could look forward to for the week.  I scooped the rice into 5 perfectly-portable tupperware containers and looked forward to the next afternoon when I could enjoy my handiwork.

Brown Rice Risotto with veggies

Brown Rice Risotto with veggies


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 large shallot, 3 garlic cloves, and/or 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup brown arborio rice
  • Approximately 6 cups of chicken broth/stock
  • Approximately 1 cup of white wine (drinkable, but not expensive)- optional
  • 1 splash milk
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, spices, etc. as desired
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can sliced black olives
  • 2-3 cups baby spinach


  1. Saute the aromatics in the olive oil until softened and slightly brown. Add the rice and stir until just barely toasted.
  2. Pour in about 1-2 cups of stock, stir, and bring to a gentle boil. Partially lid and let the rice absorb the liquid. Repeat until the rice is almost cooked through, then add 1 cup of white wine. Let the rice absorb the wine a bit, and then add any ingredients you want to let them heat through.
  3. When the liquid is absorbed and the rice softened, add the splash of milk, parmesan cheese, and season to taste.
  4. Stir in the beans, olives, and spinach, and heat through until the spinach is wilted.
  5. This should be enough food for 4-5 lunches!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!