This post is part of the Virtual Potluck! We are teaming up with Bob’s Red Mill and California Olive Ranch to bring you four weeks of healthy eating–A Healthy New Year. You can read more about the project here. This week I’m focusing on a side dish. Each week will include a giveaway so you can create healthy dishes with these great products as well. Also, CA Olive Ranch would like to offer a 10% discount to you. Just enter the coupon code ‘BLOGFRIENDS’ when you buy from their online store.

For the side dish, we were challenged to pair Bob’s Red Mill’s Grande Whole Grains with California Olive Ranch’s Miller’s Blend Olive Oil. The grain mix includes hard red white wheat, long grain brown rice, whole oats, whole rye, whole triticale, whole barley, white buckwheat, and sesame seeds. Bob’s Red Mill suggests using these grains as a cereal, a pilaf in salads, soups, and pita bread or as a stir- fry with vegetables. California Olive Ranch describes Miller’s Blend as having a “fruity beginning balanced with a bit of pepper at the end.”

I chose to make a risotto which we served with a roasted chicken.  And let me tell you, this is some nutritious risotto. I love eating healthy foods, it just makes you feel so good. When I got home from the grocery store with this week’s groceries, I washed another huge bunch of kale and put it into the fridge with a smile on my face, knowing that I would be eating so well this week. Okay–so maybe that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true. I feel better about myself when I’m putting healthy foods into my body.

Whole Grain Risotto with Kale
adapted generously from Bob’s Red Mill

2 Tablespoons Miller’s Blend Olive Oil
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
2 cups of Grande Whole Grains
1/2 cup white wine
4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
4 cups chopped kale, lightly packed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until softened and fragrant, stirring frequently.
2. Add in the wine and scrap off any bits that may be on the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook for 2-4 minutes.
3. Add in the chicken stock and fresh thyme and bring to a boil. Add the grains, stir, reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 30 minutes
4. Add chopped kale and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes or until grains have softened and liquid is absorbed.
5. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. If desired, drizzle with extra Miller’s Blend Olive Oil.

Verdict: Felt good to be eating such a nutrient-packed risotto. The grains do retain a fair amount of bite to them (that’s FIBER folks!), so it isn’t smooth like your traditional risotto. It is much more chewy. More like a pilaf. The flavors in this are great though and I kind of like the chewiness of the grains.
Husband’s take: I don’t think he’ll necessarily be asking for it again, but he ate seconds!
Changes I would make: None, but it would be fun to play around with different vegetables and herbs.
Difficulty: Easy!

Giveaway has closed. Winner is Connie! Congrats Connie!

GIVEAWAY details: One winner will receive Grande Whole Grains and Miller’s Blend Olive Oil.

To Enter:

Visit Bob’s Red Mill or California Olive Ranch’s Facebook page and find the Virtual Potluck code word. Use that code word in a sentence in your comment.

For Extra Entries (MAKE SURE to leave an extra comment for each or they won’t count!):

1. Follow BRMCOR and VirtualPotluck‘s Twitter profiles and tweet about the contest linking to the blog you’re entering from and using the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment again, letting us know you’ve done so, by providing the link to your tweet.
2. “Like” Virtual Potluck on Facebook 
3. Subscribe to my RSS feed or add your name to my email list (please confirm when you get the email asking you to do so).
4. “Like” Not Rachael Ray on Facebook.
5. Follow @Not_RachaelRay on Twitter.

Don’t forget you can get additional entries in each week’s giveaways by visiting our host blog and finding other participating VP bloggers sites to comment on.

That’s up to six chances to win (just here on my blog)! Enter by Tuesday (1/17) and I’ll choose a random winner on Wednesday (1/18). Winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I choose another winner. Prize will be shipped by BRM and COO. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was provided with free products to use, review, and create recipes with. All opinions, as always, are 100% my own.