Looking for a midday pick-me-up? Struggling to find the energy for that post-work gym session? This Creative Nature risotto recipe is the perfect dish for keep energy high all afternoon.
Outside of Peru, maca is the kind of food that you’d expect to find in very fancy health food shops and in the cupboards of anyone who’s travelled around South America and won’t shut up about it. You might not, however, expect to find it in a simple risotto recipe.
But maca is so good for you that maybe more of us should find ways to add it into our diets. It’s incredibly nutritious, with 28g of the stuff containing 133% of the recommended daily amount (RDA) of vitamin C, 85% of the RDA of copper and 23% of iron.
In Peru, it’s known to be something of an aphrodisiac and in 2010, a review of four small randomised clinical studies found evidence that libido was increased in men and women after a period of six weeks.
Maca root powder is also a popular supplement among athletes and bodybuilders. It’s said to help with muscle gains, increased strength and boosted energy. While there are a few animal studies that have found it may enhance endurance performance, one very small human study also concluded that after supplementing for two weeks, cyclists completed a 25-mile ride quicker than before taking maca.
While lots more research is needed to confirm the muscle-building capacity of maca, we do know that it’s rich in flavonoids which have been proven to have psychological benefits and that it’s super nutritious from a vitamin point of view.
1 small onion
290g risotto rice
200ml white wine
1l vegetable stock
1 butternut squash
115g baby spinach
60g Creative Nature maca powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat the oven at 200C/180C/gas 6.
Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Chop into small cubes, drizzle a little vegetable oil on top and season.
Pop into the oven for 30 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, sauté the onions in a dash of oil until they become translucent.
Add the risotto rice and stir until they also become slightly translucent at the edges.
Add all of the white wine and keep stirring until the liquid has evaporated.
Next, add the stock – one ladle at a time. Make sure that you wait for the liquid to evaporate before adding the next scoop of stock.
Remove the squash from the oven and mash half of the cubes until smooth.
When the liquid has gone and the rice is fully cooked, stir in the mashed butternut squash, maca powder, lemon juice and salt and pepper.
In a separate pan, wilt the spinach and reheat the remaining squash cubes with a dash of oil.
Serve your risotto in a bowl with plenty of veg on top.
Check out the rest of our recipes, workout tips and challenges in the Strong Women Training Club library.
Recipe and image courtesy of Creative Nature.
Miranda Larbi is the editor of Strong Women and Strong Women Training Club. A qualified personal trainer and vegan runner, she can usually be found training for the next marathon, seeking out vegan treats or cycling across London on a pond-green Tokyo bike.