Classic Vegan Risotto

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Learn how to make risotto super creamy without dairy! This is the best vegan risotto recipe for a plant-based take on a comfort food classic.

two bowls of vegan risotto topped with dairy-free parmesan shreds, fresh thyme and cracked black pepper

Classic Vegan Risotto

Something about risotto always seems so luxurious. Maybe it’s the velvety, creamy texture. Or all the love that goes into it ladle by ladle. Whatever the reason, risotto always feels like a total treat. It takes a bit of time and patience, but then you get the greatest reward of all time when it’s finished.

While risotto is super rich and creamy, it actually isn’t from loads of dairy products believe it or not! Risotto actually develops its classic creamy texture from the slow, methodical cooking process, which allows the rice to release its starches into the broth it’s simmered in. This means it’s actually quite simple to make a plant-based version without sacrificing flavor or texture. Today I’m bringing you a vegan risotto recipe that tastes just as good as a bowl you would get in a restaurant! Promise.

I love risotto because it’s the perfect canvas for anything else you’d like to add on top. Mushrooms or butternut squash with sage and thyme are cozy additions in the fall and winter. And let me tell you – risotto is an all-year-long kinda food. If you’re reserving this classic bowl of comfort food for the winter months, then my friends you are missing out! Top it with a squeeze of lemon, lots of fresh herbs, asparagus and peas and you’ve got yourself a bright, fresh take on risotto perfect for the warmer months.

Grab your ladle my friends, time to make vegan risotto!

a spoon taking a scoop of vegan risotto

Ingredients for Vegan Risotto

There’s really not much to this vegan risotto. We’re building all the flavor from just a few simple ingredients that you likely already keep on hand. The only special ingredient you need is the right kind of rice.

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this vegan risotto recipe:

  • Broth. Your broth is the base of all the flavor for this vegan risotto, so pick your favorite one with no shortage of flavor! You can use a store-bought carton, bouillon, or homemade. Whichever you choose, I would go for low-sodium so you can season your it to taste.
  • Vegan butter. If you don’t have any on hand, you could use olive oil instead.
  • Yellow onion. All good recipes start with sauteed onion, and this vegan risotto recipe is no exception.
  • Garlic. I’m using four fresh cloves of garlic. You could always scale up or down here based on your preferences.
  • Arborio rice. This is a short-grain rice traditionally used in risotto. If you can’t find it at your store, go for another white short grain rice. Long grain varieties like jasmine or basmati won’t work.
  • Dry white wine. You’ll want to use something like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. When picking a wine you want to cook with, choose something you’d also like to drink! The wine adds a ton of flavor to the risotto, so it should be something that tastes nice!
  • Vegan parmesan.  I like Follow Your Heart’s vegan parmesan the best, but use your favorite!
  • Salt and pepper. Of course! I highly recommend freshly cracked pepper at the end!

This vegan risotto is delicious on it’s own, but you can also top it off with herbs, more cheese, vegetables or white beans.

two bowls of creamy vegan risotto, each topped with thyme, cracked black pepper and vegan cheese

How to Make Risotto 

If I had to guess, there are at least a few of you reading this that have dismissed risotto as something that’s too difficult to make at home, and I’m here to tell you that it couldn’t be further from the truth! The cooking process is about as simple as it gets. Just five steps to be specific! The magic is all in being patient.

Here’s how to make risotto that turns out creamy and velvety every single time:

  1. Boil your broth in a medium pot, then reduce heat to low.
  2. Sautee onion with butter in a separate pan. Cook for about two minutes or until lightly browned. Next, add your garlic, cook while stirring for 30 seconds, then add the dry rice. Stir and cook until rice is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring, for about two minutes, or until all wine is absorbed.
  4. Ladle about 3/4 cup of the warm broth into the rice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until all broth is absorbed. Repeat ladle by ladle until the rice is al dente, which will be about 25-30 minutes total.
  5. When the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, add one more ladle of broth (two if you want it to be creamier), parmesan, and a sprinkle each of salt and black pepper and stir.

a spoon resting in a bowl of vegan risotto

Tips for Making the Best Vegan Risotto

Risotto is all about patience. It’s not a challenging recipe to make, but you do have to keep an eye on your heat and avoid the temptation to rush. Here are a few tips to make sure this vegan risotto turns out velvety smooth every time.

  • Choose the right rice. Risotto gets its creamy texture from the starch in the rice being released into a flavorful broth, so it’s really important to use the right rice. Arborio rice is a common, traditional rice used in risotto. Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are other varieties classically used. At the end of the day, make sure you’re using a short-grain rice. Long-grain varieties will not absorb as much liquid or release as much starch.
  • Take your time. Risotto can’t be rushed. The process relies on the slow absorption of liquid and release of starches from the rice. Don’t be tempted to dump in all the broth in one go. Your patience will be so worth it!
  • Monitor your heat. We want to keep the heat pretty low for the majority of the process. We don’t want our onions to take on too much color, and we don’t want our rice to boil. Low and slow is the key here! If things are starting to stick, or your broth is starting to boil, turn it down!
  • Use a wine you like. Because the ingredients for risotto are so simple, you want to make sure you like the flavor of everything you’re adding in. It’s easy to just pick a bottom-shelf wine, but if you don’t like how it tastes in a glass, you probably won’t like how it tastes in your risotto. Pick a wine that you’d like to drink to ensure you end up with a delicious risotto and a built-in wine pairing!

a bowl of vegan risotto

More Vegan Comfort Food Recipes

Risotto is the ultimate comfort food. It always feels like a big warm hug in a bowl. If you’re looking for more warming, cozy ideas for dinner, check out these other vegan comfort food recipes! But after you try this vegan risotto of course 🙂

  • Vegan Lasagna
  • The Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
  • Vegan Enchilada Casserole
  • Cajun-Style Vegan Red Beans and Rice
  • Vegan Chicken and Waffles
  • Vegan Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Print

How to make:

Classic Vegan Risotto

Learn how to make risotto super creamy without dairy! This is the best vegan risotto recipe for a plant-based take on a comfort food classic.

Prep Time:
5 minutes
Cook Time:
45 minutes
Total Time:
50 minutes
a spoon digging into a bowl of risotto
Author:
Emilie
Yield:
6
Print the recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, or 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dry arborio rice
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 cup vegan parmesan (I like Follow Your Heart)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper
  • Optional: fresh thyme for topping

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add butter. When melted, add onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Let lightly brown, but do not burn. Add garlic; cook for 30 seconds, stirring, then add rice. Stir and cook until rice is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add wine and cook, stirring, until all wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes.
  4. Ladle about 3/4 cup of the warm broth into the rice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until all broth is absorbed. Make sure nothing burns on the bottom of the pan; you can reduce the heat slightly if needed. Repeat this step until the rice is al dente – cooked, but slightly chewy. This will take about 25-30 minutes total; it’s okay if you don’t use all the broth.
  5. When the rice is al dente, turn off the heat, add one more ladle of broth (two if you want it to be creamier), parmesan, and a sprinkle each of salt and black pepper; stir. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
1/6 of recipe3452.6 g897.1 mg7 g2.8 g60 g1 g4.7 g0 mg

 

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