Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

By • April 1, 2014 • 17 Comments

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Author Notes: This dish is bright and elegant, but it has all of the creamy comfort and heft you expect from a traditional risotto. If it's your first vegan risotto, you'll be amazed at how authentic it is -- and how little you miss the dairy.Gena Hamshaw

Serves 4

  • 1 bunch of asparagus spears (15 to 20), trimmed and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (you may not use it all, but have it handy anyway)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  1. Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Add the asparagus spears and blanch for about two minutes, or until they're tender but still have some crunch. Remove them from the pan and run under cold water to stop them from cooking further. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and onions and cook for four minutes, or until the onions are getting soft. Add the garlic and cook for another three minutes.
  3. Add the rice and heat it in the saucepan, stirring constantly, for about two minutes. Lower the heat to medium-low. Add the white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest, and cook, stirring gently and vigilantly, till the white wine has been absorbed.
  4. Add a cup of stock to the pan and cook, stirring as needed, till the stock has been absorbed. Continue adding stock in 1/2- to 3/4-cup amounts, stirring each time until the stock is absorbed. You may not need all five cups of broth to make the rice creamy and soft, but you can expect to use most of it. When the rice is tender but still has some chew, stir in the nutritional yeast and thyme, along with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir the blanched asparagus into the rice and heat through. Serve.
Jump to Comments (17)

Comments (17) Questions (1)

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7 months ago Jennife

I wish you would post nutrition information with your recipes :(

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7 months ago Hannah

I would recommend using a very mild-flavored vegetable stock or else all you can taste in the finished dish is the stock

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7 months ago Vaibs

Also, I boiled the asparagus in 5-6 cups of boiling water which later I used as the vegetable stock for the risotto, thus utilizing everything and eliminating the need to have another stock and heat it.
(An Indian boy living in Europe, who loves to cook too)

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7 months ago Vaibs

I just made this risotto. That's the first time I made a risotto from the start (not the instant risotto packs). And also the first time I use fresh asparagus. I liked it. I used one green onion and one red onion (instead of shallot). The lemon on the red onion made the whole risotto pink/reddish. And also, the lemon juice (I used half lime) made it a bit acidic (more than I am comfortable with). So probably the next time I will use less lemon (I thought this was less than the recommended total 3 table spoons). But other than that, it's delicious. I followed the exact ingredients (right from extra virgin olive oil up to pepper). And also, it's great to have it without cheese. I am a vegetarian, but not strictly vegan, so I added a bit of garlic butter and it's even more delicious.

Thanks.

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7 months ago Barbara Willey

This risotto is marvelous. Creamy, fresh with the asparagus and bright with the lemon. I did not have nutritional yeast, but look forward to that addition as I will be making this again soon! I topped with grated Parmesan and it was delish. Husband begging for more. Thank you!

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7 months ago Josephine Samuel

what is the difference between the regular rice and arborio rice? is the taste differ that much?

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7 months ago Luigi

Josephine, You absolutely have to use arborio rice. It's a different grain than regular rice. Arborio rice gives you creaminess and the right texture. The recipe won't work with regular rice.

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8 months ago Spicely_Organics

Love it! Walnuts and/or peas would make a wonderful addition.

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8 months ago Luigi

Finely chop a handful of walnuts and sauté. Use this as a flavor base. I don't use nutritional yeast; I don't like the flavor. If you're going to skip the cheese, I wouldn't use a cheese substitute like the yeast, which doesn't really taste like cheese. Also, I parboil the asparagus, but don't mix them in until close to the endto avoid their getting too mushy. I also slice some grape tomatoes and add them near the end just to add some color.

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8 months ago bgavin

What is nutritional yeast and what does it do for this recipe?

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8 months ago Samantha

It is a deactivated yeast filled with B12. Most vegans think it tastes like parmesan cheese. I disagree it kind of tastes like that fake kraft parmesan that comes in the shaker but worse... Most people like it though, I think it is an acquired taste. You can find it in most grocery stores now (at least where I live) and it is definitely available in health food stores.

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8 months ago Lauren R

I made this last night and it came out delicious! The only change I made, was after I blanched all of the asparagus, I lightly roasted half of it (not the tips), and it added a great flavor to the dish.

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8 months ago JessieV

Made this tonight - extraordinary! Thank you!

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8 months ago Veganosity

This looks so amazing! We usually make a portobello mushroom risotto (http://www.veganosity.com...) and I've never really thought of using lemons and asparagus. I can't wait to try it!

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8 months ago Luigi

As part of your preparation, heat up your stock in a separate pot so that you add hot stock to the rice,

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8 months ago kim

this sounds wonderful- I would be inclined to roast the asparagus mainly because I love that slight sweet thing that happens when it's roasted .

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8 months ago Allison Day

Yum! This looks amazing. I recently made a vegan risotto with brown rice, cashew cream, tons of lemon and peas. I can't wait to give your recipe a go! I like how this recipe doesn't have nuts, I'm amazed to see how creamy it turned out! Nutritional yeast makes everything tastier.