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A rich and creamy vegan risotto with a burst of fresh lemon! This deliciously hearty lemon risotto is a classic Italian dish made vegan that you'll want to add to your regular dinner rotation!
You know the saying, "When life gives you lemons, make lemon risotto!"
OK, fine. Maybe that's not really how it goes. But I'm taking some creative license here. 😉
And if you're of the belief that life has given you your fair share of lemons, then put them to
good delicious use by indulging in a bowl of this beautiful, bright, sunny, hearty, creamy, lemony VEGAN RISOTTO! 🙂
Lemons are so refreshing, and there is just enough "lemon-ness" in this dish to add the perfect burst of flavor.
What kind of rice do I need?
Risotto is traditionally made with Arborio rice, which is an Italian short-grain variety. Arborio's high starch content is what gives risotto its signature creamy texture.
Is risotto gluten-free?
Arborio rice is naturally gluten-free, so as long as you ensure you are using gluten-free broth, this risotto recipe is gluten-free.
What vegan cheese works best in this recipe?
Traditionally, risotto is made with cheese, so to keep this recipe vegan while still maintaining that cheesy flavor, I used a combination of nutritional yeast and shredded vegan Parmesan cheese.
My favorite vegan Parmesan brands are Violife and Follow Your Heart.
What's the best wine to use?
Risotto is typically made with a dry white wine. Personally, I prefer Pinto Grigio. Whatever type you choose, just be sure it's vegan.
For this dish, I used Candoni Green Pinot Grigio which is made with organic grapes and is certified vegan and gluten-free.
If you need help finding a vegan wine, check out Barnivore's site.
What is the best pan for making risotto?
Risotto is best made in a 4-quart, wide pan (about 10-12 inches in diameter) with a heavy bottom and high, straight sides (about 4 inches high) so the rice absorbs the broth and cooks evenly and there’s a large enough area to work in.
What kind of spoon is best for stirring risotto?
Making risotto requires a great deal of stirring.
Tradutionally, a wooden spoon with a circular opening is used as it allows for more efficient stirring.
How to make vegan lemon risotto - step by step
First, warm vegetable broth in a pot over medium heat.
While the broth is warming, heat vegan butter and olive oil in a wide pan over medium heat until melted.
Add the shallot and cook until it becomes translucent, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Then, add the Arborio rice and stir until it is well coated.
Next, add in the wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed.
Then, begin adding the broth one ladleful at a time, adding more broth as it is absorbed, stirring constantly.
Continue this process until rice is tender and has a creamy consistency.
Turn off heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and shredded vegan Parmesan cheese.
Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir to combine.
Stir in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve immediately.
Can I add veggies to the risotto?
Yes! Veggies such as peas or chopped asparagus would be a delicious addition to this dish.
To do so, add your pre-cooked veggies right before the step of adding the nutritional yeast and cheese.
Keep the heat on medium, stir in the veggies and cook for 1 more minute.
Then, turn the heat off and stir in the nutritional yeast and cheese followed by the lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper to taste.
- Shallot: You can replace the shallot with the same amount of chopped sweet or yellow onion if you prefer.
- Vegan Butter: You can use all olive oil instead of the mix of the two. I think the mix gives the risotto a subtle buttery flavor, but you can go with all olive oil if you prefer.
Ideas for serving
This risotto pairs well with a light mixed green salad with a balsamic or red wine vinaigrette. You can serve the salad as an appetizer or side.
This dish also makes a perfect side for our marinated tempeh.
You can also serve the risotto with a side of our vegan and gluten-free garlic bread.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Risotto is best when enjoyed immediately. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can reheat leftovers in a nonstick pan over medium heat with a little more vegan butter and/or vegetable broth until warmed throughout, stirring frequently.
If necessary, you can microwave leftovers in a covered microwave-safe dish in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until warmed throughout. You can add in a bit of vegan butter during reheating, if needed to retain creaminess.
Want more risotto? Check out our vegan pumpkin risotto next.
Vegan Lemon Risotto
- 48 oz. gluten-free vegetable broth
- 2 tbsp vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped shallot
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 1/2 cup vegan dry white wine, preferably Pinot Grigio (I used Candoni Green)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup shredded vegan Parmesan cheese (I used Violife brand - *see notes below)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley (for garnish), to taste
- 1 medium lemon, cut into circle-shaped slices (for garnish)
- Warm vegetable broth in a pot over medium heat.
- Heat vegan butter and olive oil over medium heat in a 4-quart, wide pan (about 10-12 inches in diameter) with high, straight sides (about 3-4 inches high) until butter is melted. Add the shallot and cook until it becomes translucent, about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the Arborio rice and stir until it is well coated.
- Then, add the wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed.
- Once wine is absorbed, add one ladleful (approximately 1/4 cup) of broth. Stir constantly until broth is absorbed.
- When broth is absorbed, add another ladleful. Continue to add broth one ladleful at a time as it is absorbed, stirring constantly. Repeat this process until rice is tender and has a creamy consistency (will take about 20-25 minutes from this point).
- Once the rice is creamy, and you have used all or most of your broth (you might not need it all), turn off the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast and shredded vegan Parmesan cheese. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest, and stir to combine.
- Stir in kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices. Serve immediately.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
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