Celebrate Wild Foods Day with this Wild Blueberry & Mushroom Risotto Recipe

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My mom’s birthday is coming up next month and I’m in charge of the food for the family dinner party. Of course I want to make something extra special to celebrate so I’m planning on making the theme something fun and unique…and a little wild (just like mom!).

The star of the meal will be this Wild Blueberry and Mushroom Risotto. Risotto is an Italian favorite and I loved adding a pop of Wild Blueberry fruitiness to break up this heavy dish.  I’ve done this before so I know the sweet-savory combo works out really well, and Risotto is the perfect comfort food dish for the fall!

This tasty dish also doubles as a celebration recipe for Wild Foods Day on October 28th.

You might be thinking: What other foods are “wild foods?”

 

For me, the term “wild” always conjures up gorgeous purple fields of Wild Blueberries, but nature offers us many other Wild foods, as well. From greens to grasses to mushrooms – wild foods are all around us. And because many wild foods survive in harsh conditions and are able to protect themselves against environmental stressors, they’re very potent in antioxidant nutrients.

For my Wild Blueberry Risotto I used a mix of wild mushrooms I found at Whole Foods. Cremini, shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle mushrooms are so fun to incorporate into recipes because they’re typically found in unique places around the country – like along the mountain slopes and coastal areas.

Did you know that oyster mushrooms typically grow on logs or dying trees in subtropical forests and that Wild Blueberries have twice the antioxidant content of cultivated blueberries? It’s true. Wild Blueberries also have more antioxidant power than many other fruits and veggies!

If you can’t find an assortment of fresh wild mushrooms at the grocery store, but still want to make this creamy and delicious risotto, just swap out the 2 1/2 cups of assorted fresh wild mushrooms for 1 1/2 cups of cremini or baby bellas, plus 1 cup of rehydrated dried wild mushrooms. To rehydrate the mushrooms, just soak them in hot water for 20 minutes and then use the soaking liquid in place of part of the vegetable broth. I prefer the texture of fresh mushrooms vs rehydrated, but dried wild mushrooms are a great option to get this meal on the table!

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Wild Blueberry & Wild Mushroom Risotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup frozen Wild Blueberries, thawed and rinsed*
2 1/2 cups thinly sliced assorted wild mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, oyster, and chanterelle mushrooms)
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
chives and additional parmesan cheese for garnishing, optional

  1. In the bottom of a large sauté pan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, and thyme, and cook 5-7 minutes, until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms have shrunk.
  3. Add the arborio rice and stir to coat each grain of rice in oil.
  4. Adjust the heat to medium-low and add the white wine. Cook, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is evaporated.
  5. Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is evaporated (this should take about 4-5 minutes). Repeat this process with the remaining vegetable broth, adding one cup of broth at a time and letting the liquid evaporate before adding more broth. After adding the last cup of broth, the mixture should be thick and creamy, and the rice should be fully cooked.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parmesan, thawed frozen Wild Blueberries, and salt & pepper to taste.
  7. Serve topped with chives and more grated parmesan, if desired.

Note: Rinsing the Wild Blueberries in a strainer until the water runs clear prevents your risotto from turning blue when you stir them in.

About the Author

Danielle Omar is a registered dietitian, clean-eating coach, teacher and cookbook author. She is a passionate food and nutrition educator and founded Danielle Omar Nutrition to support busy men and women on their journey to becoming their healthiest self. An avid cook, she also enjoys sharing plant-based recipes and nutrition strategies on her Food Confidence blog.

Danielle has a Master’s degree in Nutrition and has been teaching nutrition at the college level for over 10 years. She has contributed to local and national media outlets such as The Washingtonian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Shape Magazine, and Women’s Health Magazine. Through her private nutrition practice, media work, and group programs, Danielle has successfully motivated hundreds of busy professionals and families to eat confidently and live a healthy life.