Easy Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Mushrooms risotto in pan 2

Mushroom risotto is one of the first dishes I ever learnt to cook. Before going vegan, I used to love cooking risotto for my family, loaded up with parmesan and with a big leafy salad on the side. Since going vegan, risotto still hasn’t lost its charm. I’ve created my perfect recipe for vegan mushroom risotto which proves its worth time and time again!

My perfect vegan mushroom risotto for 2!

A lot of risotto recipes make enough for 4 people. Remi and I can eat a lot, and will often make larger portions to freeze, but risotto is an exception! It’s so rich and filling, and really doesn’t freeze well. I made this recipe so that we can enjoy a quick and delicious vegan mushroom risotto on a Saturday evening, that’s just enough for the two of us (and leaves room for dessert!).

Mushroom risotto on plate 3

Why is risotto so hard to make!?

I’ll tell you a secret- it isn’t! I see this question a lot online when it comes to making risotto. A lot of people avoid making this dish as they deem it too difficult or long-winded to make. 

But I swear to you it couldn’t be easier, and after a couple of tries, the 20 minutes of stock-adding and stirring will seem like nothing. To get you on the right track, here’s a few pointers to help you make perfect risotto every time!

Which rice should I use?

Using the right rice is so important- after all, risotto is pretty much rice cooked in stock! The creaminess of risotto comes from the regular stirring of the rice, which releases the starch from its surface. It’s important to use a starchy, short grain rice to achieve that creaminess. 

Adding rice to pan

For me, arborio and carnaroli are the two best options. Arborio rice is most commonly found in the supermarket, and is used in a lot of risotto recipes. It makes a lovely risotto, but can easily overcook and turn to mush. My favourite is carnaroli, which is very starchy and holds its shape really well. If you can get hold of it, give it a go- it’s also a very forgiving rice for beginners!

Adding the liquid…

In this recipe, I start by adding wine and mushroom stock to the risotto, followed by vegetable stock in small amounts. It’s really important that you keep the stock at a simmer in a separate pan, as adding cool stock to the risotto will lower the temperature and stop it from cooking. 

You should also add the stock to the risotto slowly, ladle by ladle, waiting for the rice to absorb the liquid each time. Adding all of the stock at once would just boil the rice, and you won’t achieve that signature creaminess from the rice starch.

Do I need to stir risotto constantly?

Contrary to popular belief, my answer is no. Stirring risotto constantly will make it hard to keep the temperature up, and might make the risotto gluey. Add enough stock each time to keep the risotto at a medium simmer, stir it often, but don’t be afraid to take a step back and let it cook for a minute between stirring! As long as the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom, your risotto will turn out great.

How do I know when risotto is cooked?

If you keep the risotto at a medium simmer throughout cooking, add the amount of liquid outlined in this recipe, and stir it often, your risotto should be ready in 20 minutes. The rice should be cooked through, without a chalky centre, but still be slightly al dente. If the risotto is turning to mush like rice pudding, it’s overcooked!

Stirring risotto 7

What can I serve with it?

I just like to eat this vegan mushroom risotto as it is, with a big handful of rocket leaves on the side. If you want to serve something alongside it, griddled asparagus or tenderstem broccoli would be great. Risotto is often served as a side with fish or meat, so you could serve it with your favourite substitute, or with some simple pan fried tofu. Alternatively, go for a big chunk of warm crusty bread, and a simple salad to make it a wholesome meal.

If you fancy doing something different with your cooked risotto, try rolling it up into crispy arancini balls– these ones are baked rather than fried for a healthier vegan alternative!

Mushroom risotto on plate 4

Can I make risotto ahead of time?

Risotto is always best enjoyed immediately after cooking. With time, the rice will continue to soak up more liquid and it will dry out a bit. However, it will keep for a couple of days in the fridge. If you do need to make this ahead of time, reheat it in a pan with 1 tbsp water until piping hot. If you see it drying up more as it reheats, just keep adding boiling water 1tbsp at a time until it’s the right consistency.

To sum up…

To sum it all up, here’s what you need to know to make great risotto every time:

  • Use carnaroli or arborio rice.
  • Keep the stock at a simmer on the side.
  • Add the stock a bit at a time, waiting for it to absorb into the rice before adding more.
  • Stir often, but not constantly. As long as it isn’t sticking, you’re fine!
  • Keep the risotto at a medium simmer.
  • Your risotto is ready when the rice is cooked through, with a slight bite. Don’t let it turn to mush!

Looking for more easy meals for 2?

  • Try this creamy mushroom pasta– it’s cooked in 15 minutes and is the perfect TGIF meal!
  • For something a little lighter, why not try these eggplant cannelloni?
  • If you love tofu, you’ll love this coconut tofu, with it’s flaky coating and roasted pak choi on the side.
  • Or for something completely different, I’m loving this vegan Polish ‘fish’!
Mushroom risotto in pan

Easy Vegan Mushroom Risotto

Chloe from Forkful of Plants
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
My favourite recipe for vegan mushroom risotto makes the pefect meal for two. So easy to make and super creamy- but completely dairy free!

Ingredients
  

  • 10 g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp olive oil for cooking
  • 1 large brown onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 140 g risotto rice carnaroli or arborio
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms sliced
  • 60 ml white wine
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional but tasty!)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Rehydrate the porcini mushrooms in a small bowl, with just enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them for 20 minutes and drain, retaining the liquid.
  • Meanwhile, heat 1tbsp oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • Next, add the rice, sliced chestnut mushrooms and rehydrated porcinis. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes to combine and toast the rice.
  • Add the wine and porcini water to the pan. Bring to a simmer and wait for this to absorb, stirring occasionally.
  • Keeping the stock at a simmer in a saucepan, add it to the risotto pan a ladle at a time. Stir often, waiting for the last ladle of stock to be absorbed before adding the next.
  • After around 15 minutes, all of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice should have no chalky texture inside.*
  • Add nutritional yeast and season to taste. Stir well. Add the olive oil and give it one final stir before serving.

Notes

*If the rice is still chalky at this point, continue adding stock or boiling water and stirring until rice is cooked through.

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