2 small bunches celery
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to shallow fry
4 fresh bay leaves
Zest of 1 lemon
4 cups hot vegetable stock
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 brown onion, finely chopped
⅓ cup white wine
1 cup short grain brown rice, cooked
2 cups unsweetened almond milk, plus extra to serve
Celery Leaf Salsa Verde Ingredients
1 cup celery leaves (reserved)
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves
1 tsp capers, drained
1 clove garlic
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
Brown Rice Risotto with Braised Celery & Celery Leaf Salsa Verde Method
- Remove the outer large stalks of the celery to leave the small celery hearts. Trim the leaves and reserve 2 cups. Cut the celery hearts in half and into 15cm lengths. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add the celery hearts cut side down and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves, zest, 1 cup of the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover with baking paper, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender. Set aside and keep warm.
- To make the celery leaf salsa verde, place reserved celery leaves, parsley, capers, garlic, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
- For the risotto, finely chop 2 reserved celery stalks. Place half the sunflower seeds in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Heat the remaining oil in a large deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery mixture and cook, stirring occasionally for 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute, or until evaporated. Add the rice and remaining sunflower seeds and stir to coat in the oil. Mix the remaining stock and the almond milk together. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes while adding the stock mixture, 1 cup at a time, allowing it to absorb between each addition.
- Heat 2 cm oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Pat the remaining celery leaves dry. In batches, add to the oil and cook for 1 minute, or until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
- To serve, divide risotto between 4 bowls. Top with celery hearts and mustard seeds and serve with celery leaf salsa verde and crispy celery leaves.
Celery is more than just a snack to go with dips or a leafy green to add to juices. Rich in vitamin C and high in fibre, it also helps to reduce cholesterol. Celery naturally contains chemical compounds known as phthalides which can reduce blood pressure.