Just in time for a Easter, a really delicious vegan/vegetarian/gluten free main dish that will wow everyone… even those die hard meat lovers!
Who doesn’t love risotto, right? With all that yummy Parmesan cheese to make it rich and creamy! Turns out you don’t need ANY cheese to make that rich, decadent creaminess. Fresh, spring asparagus is readily available right now and mushrooms give it a depth and that “umami” flavor we all love without using any cheese or meat-based stock. I have made this several times in the past few weeks experimenting with different seasonings and am still not tired of it. Here is my recipe for the perfect brunch or dinner risotto. The best part is that you can eat as much as you want knowing it is healthy and cholesterol-free; so dive in and try this Vegan Asparagus-Mushroom risotto and see if your guests figure out it is completely cheese less!
RECIPE for VEGAN ASPARAGUS-MUSHROOM RISOTTO (makes 4 – 6 servings)
- 1 bunch fresh asparagus
- 1 lb. fresh mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
- 1/2 onion or 1 large shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 – 3 TBSP olive oil
- 4 – 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 3 – 4 TBSPS nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp lemon zest (or more to your taste)
- 1 tsp tarragon (fresh or dried)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 TBSP mushroom powder (optional)
- 1 -2 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- salt & pepper to taste
- Trim the tough ends off the asparagus spears, spread onto baking sheet & drizzle with 1 TBSP olive oil & chopped tarragon. Roast in oven at 400 degrees until just starting to brown about 15 -20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into one inch pieces & set aside.
- Clean and slice the mushrooms. Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the mushrooms until they release their juices and are soft. Remove the mushrooms & their juices & set aside.
- Heat the vegetable stock in a pot and keep it on very low simmer. Drain the mushroom juices into the stock.
- In the same saucepan as you cooked the mushrooms, add a bit more olive oil & saute the chopped onions & minced garlic.
- Add arborio rice to pan & cook for a few minutes until the rice begins to turn white but not toasted.
- Slowly add the hot vegetable stock to the rice, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly to incorporate the liquid into the rice. When the liquid disappears add another 1/2 cup and continue adding the stock and letting it be absorbed into the rice until the rice gets soft but not mushy. This takes about 20 – 30 minutes, so be patient and stir the rice often to keep it from burning on the bottom of the pan. This is a good time to stream an episode of your favorite cooking show while you are stirring the risotto 😀
- Once the rice is cooked al dente (you want it slightly firm but not chewy), stir in the nutritional yeast, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Stir in the roasted, chopped asparagus pieces and the mushrooms and cook for just a minute or two more until everything is hot and mixed together.
- Serve immediately as a hearty main dish or as a side. You can put a few more asparagus spears, some sauted mushrooms and/or chopped chives or a fennel sprig over the top as a garnish.
- Add a green salad (made with Miner’s Lettuce – see my last post!) and you have a beautiful, healthy spring or Easter brunch that will “wow” everyone! Oh, and a glass of white wine😋.