Main dishes,  Mediterranean food

Vegan risotto, basic recipe to add your favourite ingredients

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I really think it is time to put this basic vegan risotto on my website. I make so many risotto’s in different shapes and forms that I think starting with the basic recipe is the way to go. And I will add lots of suggestions in this post to be able to start creating your own perfect vegan risotto’s

The key points for a perfect creamy vegan risotto;

  • It is all about timing. When do you add what? To start with the basics you sauté the shallots until softened, never ever browned. And you add the dry rice to the shallots and stir for about 1 – 2 minutes until the rice becomes slightly translucent. At exactly that point you want to add your wine. The rice will absorb all these lovely flavours while the harshness of alcohol will be cooked out. Once all (or almost all) of the wine has been absorbed you add some of your hot stock. Start with about 1/3 and leave it on a low simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quick or uneven. Keep on adding ladles of stock when needed and stir though your risotto once in a while. When you are almost there, taste the rice, you would want it cooked (soft) with a tiny little bite. Make sure you get your seasoning right at this point. Then you add a bit of avocado oil which helps with the richness & creaminess, and nutritional yeast which will give it a bit of ‘cheesiness’. Leave the risotto to sit for 2 minutes with a lid on, and then serve straight away!
  • Have always all your ingredients ready to go before you start your risotto.
  • Stir or not to stir? The risotto rice will release some of its starch when you agitate it, which will give it its creaminess, so it is very important to stir. But don’t stir continuously.
  • Texture; It is not easy to get your rice cooked to perfection, but with practice you will get there! you want the rice grain to be cooked but with a slight al dente centre. So you don’t want the centre of the grain to be hard and very clearly white. But it is okay if the centre is still a little tiny white/translucent. You can test it by taking a grain, and smudge it on a flat surface.

Suggestions for different vegan risotto’s

So I kept this recipe on purpose basic. Because the key to a good risotto is to get to know your grains, and the best way to learn how to make risotto is by starting with very basic risotto’s until you feel that you understand the chemistry of the cooking of the rice. I made lemon risotto’s for a year before I started adding vegetables. And a pure and simple lemon risotto is still my all time favourite!

Nowadays I make risotto at least once a week. And I don’t really plan what type of risotto (unless its for a dinner party) but I just check what I have in the fridge.

So some of my favourite veggies to use with risotto are;

  • Leek
  • mushroom
  • pumpkin
  • artichoke
  • fennel
  • fresh garden peas
  • tomato
  • courgette

Now, when do you add these vegetable?

Well, that really depends which vegetable you are using and in which matter you want to use it, meaning that sometimes I choose to add vegetables on top and not stirred in.

If you use vegetables like fennel, leek or courgette which you want to stir through the risotto then its important to pre-cook these vegetables. Soften them before you stir them through the risotto. The moment of adding it to the risotto is about half way through the cooking process. Make sure the veggies are warm.

The nice thing of doing it this way is that you can use extra flavours (herbs or spices) during the pre-cooking of the vegetables while not adding them directly to the risotto. Which gives a nice delicate hint of flavours while keeping the risotto pure.

If you like to use fresh garden peas, like I do, add these to the risotto about 5 minutes maximum before the risotto is ready. This way your peas stay fresh and with a crunch. Fresh peas you definitely don’t want to over-cook.

I will share some examples with you

risotto with lemon seared artichokes

Leek risotto with lemon seared artichoke.

So in this case I have softened the leek, with a good splash of white wine, and stirred the leek through the risotto half way through.

Apart from that I seared slices of artichoke bottoms in olive oil with lemon zest until lightly charred and finished cooking them covered in fresh lemon juice. Delicious!

Pumpkin risotto with mushrooms

So in this case I actually made a pumpkin puree , and stirred the puree through the risotto about half way through the process. I wanted to have a nice creamy pumpkin flavoured risotto without having chunks of pumpkin.

I topped it with pan fried mushroom with garlic, chives and a good splash of white wine. YUM!

Herby silken tofu risotto with fried courgette flowers

Herby silken tofu risotto with Stuffed and fried courgette flowers

So in this risotto I used silken tofu. Silken tofu makes the risotto lovely, soft en creamy. Because I have crispy vegetables I wanted my risotto to be even more creamy than usual. I added lots of herbs at the end. And the silken tofu about 8 – 10 minutes before the end.

The courgette flowers I stuffed with some risotto, breaded them and fried them. Very special and delicious!

leek risotto with artichoke

Fennel risotto with artichoke

I pre-cooked (until softened) the fennel with the use of some thyme and white wine. I stirred it in half way though the cooking process.

The artichoke I pan fried first and then added some wine and lemon to cook them. I stirred the pieces through the risotto just before serving. Delicious combi!

If you have become interested in lemon seared artichoke (which i LOVE, and use a lot!) check out my other recipe with; lemon seared artichokes.

I hope you will get as excited about making the perfect vegan risotto and eating, as I am. Please show me your creations! I cant wait to see them. Add @haricoco1 to you instagram post, or comment down below.

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