January – Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach

January – Brown Rice Risotto with Edamame Beans and Spinach

Can you make a risotto with brown rice? It was a challenge I set out to investigate. There are several recipes for baked rice out there, even baked brown rice. Ina Garten has an easy baked Parmesan “risotto” method which only requires a few minutes of stirring at the end. Her recipe is similar to America’s Test Kitchen’s baked brown rice. The blog Cookie + Kate combined the two in her recipe for baked brown rice risotto with mushrooms. That sounded delicious and I wanted to go one step further (faster?) and cook it in the electric pressure cooker. Over Christmas, a friend’s daughter made a more traditional risotto with arborio rice in the Instant Pot, it was creamy and everything you want a risotto to be. So here goes…

My inspiration came from a recipe in Suzanne Goin’s book Sunday Suppers at Lucques for shell bean risotto. Fresh shell beans weren’t available but frozen edamame beans are in most grocery stores. Her recipe also has a healthy dose of greens with the addition of chopped spinach.

Because you don’t get any evaporation in a pressure cooker, the quantity of stock has to be reduced. For each 1/2 cup of brown rice, 1 cup of stock should be used. And the quality of the stock is crucial since it gets concentrated in the rice, unsalted homemade is best. When added, the wine should be cooked until it mostly evaporates, otherwise the flavor will be too strong. Trust your nose on this one.

It would be easy to convert this to vegan by using only olive oil and a good quality or homemade vegetable stock.


6 small side dishes, 2-3 main

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme leaves, fresh (if using dried 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1 chile de Arbol, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup of dry white wine
  • 1- 1/2 cups of short-grain brown rice
  • 3 cups of broth – I used chicken stock but vegetable would make it vegetarian
  • 1 cup of cooked edamame beans
  • 2 ounces of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish


  1. Using the saute setting, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter.
  2. Add the onion, thyme, and chile de Arbol. Saute for 5-10 minutes until the onions are turning golden brown.
  3. Add the rice and stir to combine, toasting the rice for about 1 minute.
  4. Add the wine and stir constantly until is mostly evaporated.
  5. Hit cancel or stop to end the saute setting.
  6. Add the stock and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom.
  7. Put on the lid and lock it in place, make sure the vent is set to sealing. Set it to high pressure for 24 minutes.
  8. When the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 min, then quickly release.
  9. Remove the lid, add the second tablespoon of butter and stir for 1 – 2 minutes to create a creamy texture.
  10. Stir in the beans, spinach, and parsley.

I served this with an oven-roasted boneless chicken thigh, a recipe to be posted. The risotto was supposed to serve 6 as a side dish. Don’t believe it, there were no seconds to be had. I would say 4 as a generous side dish, maybe 2 for a main dish with some leftovers. It all depends on the appetite and enthusiasm of your eaters.

Unfortunately, it was gobbled up before I had an opportunity to take any photos of the risotto itself.

It turned out creamy and delicious. Who could have guessed? The brown rice added a nutty fullness to the flavor. I think it would be even more delicious with mushrooms. A combination of dried (use the soaking liquid as part of the broth) and fresh (saute them and add them at the end) would be memorable. Stay tuned for next time.