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Nov/19/2023 / by Neelma Patel

A veggie side dish for your turkey

A green bowl of rice with green vegetables like beans, peas, and asparagus on a wooden light grey table
Photo via Shutterstock

Chef Neelma’s Green Goddess Basmati Risotto is an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving celebration. This rice-rich dish is mild in taste so you can build your own flavor profile into the risotto, or make it spicier. It’s also a lovely contrast to the turkey-centric spread, and will be loved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.


2 cups long grain Basmati rice, rinsed and drained

3 ½ cups of water

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (any high smoke point oil)

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon hing (optional, aka asafetida)

1 medium white or yellow onion, cut into large cubes

4-5 garlic pods (or 2 tablespoons crushed garlic)

3 cups spinach leaves (if using frozen ½ cups)

1 cup chopped broccoli florets

1 cup green peas, thawed

1 jalapeno, copped roughly

Juice of ½ lemon

½ teaspoon of baking soda (optional but used to preserve the chlorophyll and color)

½ cup water

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

A handful of cilantro leaves

1 cup shredded Amul cheese (or any mild white cheddar cheese)

4 tablespoons of ghee (or butter)

½ cup malai (whipping cream)


The Rice

Once the rice is washed and strained, add all ingredients together and cook in an InstantPot, electric rice cooker or on the stove top. For the InstantPot, cook manual on high for 4 minutes. If using an electric rice cooker, follow your manual. For stove top cooking, bring the mixture to boil and cook for 22 minutes, covered on low simmer after adding an additional ½ cup of water.

While rice is cooking simultaneously start making the green sauce. The two should be married as soon as rice is done.

The Green Sauce

Heat a medium-sized saucepan on medium heat. It is always recommended to heat you pan before adding any fat.

Add the oil. Once you see it flowing smoothly in the pan, add the hing and cumin seeds. Heat for about 10 seconds till they crackle.

Immediately add the onions and garlic and fry for 30 seconds.

Add baking soda, spinach, broccoli, peas, jalapenos and cilantro and cook for 3-5 minutes until the broccoli florets and peas are tender.

Bland with remaining ingredients to a smooth pulp.

The Risotto

Take the hot, steaming rice, add the green sauce, and fold gently until well incorporated.

Add ghee, malai and cheese and fold gently a little more.

Serve immediately or mold into the shapes you desire.

Notes And Tips For Green Goddess Basmati Risotto

While arborio is the most common type of rice for risotto, you can use any type of medium- or short-grain rice to make the dish in a pinch.

By adding baking soda, you make the water slightly alkaline (the opposite of acidic). This preserves a compound called chlorophyll, which gives vegetables like green beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli their vibrant, green color.

The leftovers can be turned into pan-fried rice cakes or deep-fried arancinis (rice balls) by adding extra cream and cheese, coating in a slurry made with AP flour and water, and then dusting it with breadcrumbs.

You can also use the leftovers for a layered biryani by adding additional root vegetables in the center and serving with a makhani sauce.

To mold this into a shape, make sure you use plastic wrap at the bottom of your mold, even if the mold is made of silicone. You will need to make sure you have enough overhang on the sides for the unmolding. Also, pack the risotto in tight, smacking the pan several times to remove air bubbles. Let it sit until completely cool, which can take several hours, before you unmold it.

For more recipes, visit Neelma Patel on Instagram @chefneelma