Winner of the 11th Annual Risotto Festival!!!

Heartbeet Risotto

Recipe by Justin Kouri

Yields: 4 servings


Finally, I am honored to present the winning recipe at the 11th Annual Risotto Festival! My good friend Mary inspired this recipe. Due to her intolerance to dairy, I wanted to make a vegan risotto. Knowing that I would be up against Houston’s finest chefs who had access to every fabulous ingredient, I needed an explosive flavor profile that resonated with the south.    


Although this risotto can stand alone, a seared bone-in pork chop nicely compliments the Southeast Asian ingredients. I had some lime & cayenne compound butter with which I finished the chops. Sorry Mary, tonight’s risotto is victory lap.  



2 c beet juice

2 c coconut milk

1 dried ancho chili

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 shallot, small dice

½ jalapeno, small dice

¼ t Aleppo pepper

1 c Arborio rice

½ c red wine

2 T soy sauce

4 t rice wine vinegar



5 Brussels sprouts, leaves separated

3 small stalks of broccoli, florets snipped

1 t extra virgin olive oil

Zest of one orange

Salt & pepper



Combine beet juice, coconut milk and ancho chili in a medium stockpot and bring to a simmer.


In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallot, jalapeno and Aleppo pepper to the pan. Cook until shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add rice to the pan and toast for 1 minute. Deglaze with red wine. Stir constantly until the rice absorbs the liquid. While stirring, add ½ cup of beet liquid. Continue stirring until liquid is completely absorbed. Continue adding liquid and stirring until rice is cooked. (The rice should be creamy and slightly al dente.) Remove from heat. Season with soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Stir vigorously to build up the starch. Garnish with Brussels sprouts and broccoli florets. Enjoy!



Preheat oven to 400°F.


Combine Brussels sprouts, broccoli florets, oil, zest, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Toss until completely coated. Spread mixture on a parchment paper lined sheet tray and roast for 5 minutes. Set aside.