Vegan Asparagus Risotto

I had never attempted to make risotto, let alone a vegan version. But when I saw this incredible mushroom, spinach and asparagus risotto recipe from one of my new favorite food sites Clean Green Simple, I knew I had to try it while asparagus was still at our farmer’s market. We decided to adapt her recipe to make it more budget friendly for us so we omitted mushrooms, spinach, white wine, and lemon juice, but we added more spices. Even with these omissions, it still came out absolutely delicious. My fiance said this was the best risotto he tasted in his life, including the non-vegan, expensive small-portioned restaurant ones. I agreed. Total cost for this savory meal was $10 for the two of us.

This recipe is vegan, gluten free, soy free, and refined sugar free. Although it took us about 50 minutes to make this, the process is really simple (most of the effort comes from stirring the rice). All you need to do is put on some good music and the time will breeze on by. It will be so worth the time. Again, we’re not vegans, but we’ve been drastically cutting down on meat and dairy, so any way to make a recipe healthier works for us. I think this is a good recipe to share with non-vegan family members and friends to show them that vegan recipes can still have flavor and depth. This is our budget-friendly version:

Vegan Asparagus Risotto

Ingredients (2 generous servings):

  • 1 bunch asparagus chopped into 1-2 inch pieces, woody stalks removed (or substitute with another vegetable).
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp nutritional yeast to cook with (and more to sprinkle on top later)

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, asparagus, thyme and salt, stirring occasionally until softened (about 7-8 minutes).
  • Add rice and stir until rice is well coated and starts to make light snap crackling sounds.
  • Add vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and allowing the rice to soak up all the broth before adding more – this takes about 4 minutes each time. (It doesn’t get super creamy until about 3/4 of the way, so be patient).
  • Once you’ve added almost all of the broth (about 3 cups total) and the rice is soft and creamy, add nutritional yeast and garlic powder for another minute or two. Taste to check that the rice is soft enough and add more spices as needed.
  • Serve and eat immediately.

On another note, I feel I have to apologize for my food photos on this blog. I’m using a very old camera that’s quite temperamental, and picnik can only do so much. I cringe a bit when I look at how beautiful food photos shot with professional cameras look. But I hope you don’t mind, me and my little camera have been together for a long time and he’s hanging in there.

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5 Responses to Vegan Asparagus Risotto

  1. Thank you for this lovely recipe! I’m making it for dinner tonight and can’t wait!

  2. Izzy says:

    Ok, really. NOW we are TALKING. I’ve been wanting to make risotto but every single recipe I’ve found has Parm in it!

    My friend has a recipe for butternut squash risotto which I tasted prior to becoming vegan and forever am wanting it. Thanks for this, I’ll definitely be making it.

    • Izzy, it’s fantastic, and it’ll give you an excuse to use the nutritional yeast. You can refer to the original version which includes the wine, lemon, etc. if you want more flavor than our budget version. Good luck!

  3. I’ve never made risotto before either! I think it’s one of those things that intimidates me, like pie crusts, but once you actually make it, it’s never usually as scary as it seems. And you’ve reminded me that I should buy more asparagus before it costs a zillion dollars again!

    • Allysia, we were intimidated too, but we made this two times with success.The key is to keep stirring the rice during the period when you have to keep adding 1/2 cup of vegetable broth so the rice doesn’t burn. It was like I was getting an arm workout at the same time. It was so rewarding to say that I tried something I never thought I would. Pie crust is on that list too. Happy cooking and good luck!

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