Vegan Risotto Is A Thing

Who doesn't love a good risotto? Creamy and delicious arborio rice paired with assorted vegetables always makes risotto a winner in my house. Except most risottos are made with a raft of heavy ingredients - butter, cheeses, and wine. I love this vegan version, inspired by the one in Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Good. Because I am sensitive to onions and garlic, I wanted to create a dish without these ingredients. The addition of extra veggies from Gwyneth's version means you won't miss the onions. No, this isn't a quick dish. Yes, your arm will hurt from all the stirring. I promise it is all worth it when you sit down to a tasty bowl of this risotto. 

INGREDIENTS

 vegan risotto
  • 2 liters vegetable stock
  • 3 TBS virgin olive oil
  • 2 C arborio rice
  • 2 C baby spinach
  • 1 C fresh or frozen peas
  • 8 -10 asparagus stalks - chopped into 1 inch pieces and lightly steamed
  • 1 C oyster mushrooms - chopped into 1 inch pieces 
  • 1 lemon - zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separate)
  • Leaves from 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 C roughly chopped fresh basil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and set over medium-high heat
  2. Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook until they begin to brown and reduce
  3. Add the thyme with a big pinch of salt, and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4. Remove the skillet from heat, remove mushrooms and set aside.
  5. Put a large saucepan over medium-high heat with 1 TBS olive oil inside.
  6. When oil is hot but not smoking, turn the heat to high, add the rice, the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt, and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Cook (and stir) until the lemon juice is almost totally absorbed by the rice, and than add a ladleful of stock.
  8. Stir, stir, stir - the secret to this recipe is the continuous stirring. 
  9. Continue in this manner until the rice is cooked through, and you have used all your stock. (about 20 min). Yes, your arm will be exhausted. Yes, this risotto is worth it. 
  10. Stir in the reserved lemon zest the spinach, steamed asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, peas, the basil and lot’s of freshly ground pepper. Stir for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach is wilted and the peas are warmed. 
  11. Serve immediately.