If you love international cuisine, there's no doubt risotto is a favorite. Our vegan mushroom risotto honors the traditional Italian cooking techniques while altering the risotto recipe just enough to make it vegan-friendly.
The key to a velvety vegan risotto is vegetable stock, olive oil, and a lot of elbow grease to release the lush starches from the arborio rice. Adding two types of sautéed mushrooms adds a nuanced earthiness to the rice, which is sparked with copious amounts of parsley and chives.
It's a gorgeous, rustic and filling dish.
What you'll need
Earthy and rich white and crimini mushrooms are gently sautéed in olive oil, lending a lusciousness to the seasoned risotto.
Suggestions and substitutions
Substitute white or crimini mushrooms with portobello or shiitake.
Parsley and chives don't overwhelm the mushrooms and lend just the right herbaceous taste to the dish. Alternatively, you can use tarragon or basil separately. Chop either finely and fold in gently.
You can add a host of secondary ingredients to give your risotto a tasty boost. Some of our favorites
Let the risotto cool, store in a seal tight container for up to two days in the fridge. Ideally, you shouldn't freeze the leftovers.
Step by step instructions
Use a large sauté pan and set it over high heat. You can use either a Teflon pan or a stainless steel pan. Get the pan smoking hot then add diced mushrooms and one tablespoon of olive oil. Remove from heat and stir quickly to coat all the ingredients in the oil for thorough cooking. Toss in the garlic, thyme, and continue to stir until completely incorporated.
The mushrooms will start to brown and darken, and reduce in size. Remove from the pan after about two minutes of stirring. Set aside. This recipe uses white and crimini mushrooms. However, you can check our variation section above for alternatives.
In a medium pot over high heat, heat vegetable stock. Add a separate large stockpot over medium heat and add olive oil once hot. The olive oil should bubble on the bottom. Add the arborio rice and stir quickly using a wooden spoon.
A wooden spoon is preferable as you will be doing a lot of stirring and don't want to mar the bottom of your pot. A thinner metal spoon will also break up the rice grains. Plus, it's tradition.
Stir for about minute, then toss in the remaining garlic, thyme and salt. Begin to ladle heated vegetable stock over the rice, stir rapidly to incorporate the stock. Stir for approximately one minute over medium heat. Add another ladle, stir to incorporate. Continue until you've incorporated all the vegetable stock.
The rice grains will start to thicken as they absorb the stock.
You'll want to keep stirring the rice until each ladle of vegetable stock incorporates completely so there's no liquid on the bottom of the pot before adding the next ladle.
Once all the vegetable stock has been stirred in, remove the pot from the heat. Quickly fold in the mushrooms, until fully mixed. Allow the risotto to rest for one minute, then gently fold in the parsley and chives.
Cashew cream, coconut cream, and almond milk are excellent substitutes.
In traditional risotto, parmesan cheese and cream are used and they lend a richness to the dish that some find challenging to duplicate. As these are animal products, however, it's a no-go for vegans. And even for those who need to restrict dairy for health reasons.
My recipe relies on olive oil and starches in the rice to get a rich taste that still satisfies.
How to use coconut cream.
After the second ladle of vegetable stock, add four tablespoons of coconut cream to the stockpot. Blend completely until the coconut cream disappears into the rice. Continue ladling the vegetable stock. Add an extra teaspoon of salt, to taste.
What is arborio rice?
Arborio an Italian medium-grain rice, a variety of superfino. It originates from the Piedmont valley in Italy and is one of the larger kinds of superfino kinds of rice. Because of their high amylopectin starch content, the grains are chewier, firmer, and creamier than standard rice grains.
Is it gluten-free?
Yes, arborio rice does not contain gluten.
Do I have to use wine?
No. Wine is not required in the recipe. Wine is traditionally used to add an additional layer of flavor. Removing it does not impact the cooking process.
How do I reheat it?
Add leftovers to medium stockpot on medium heat, and add one ladle full of hot vegetable stock. Fold until incorporated and warmed through. Serve with fresh parsley.
Pro chef tips
- Use a wooden spoon
- White wine is optional
- Never stop stirring
- If you can't find arborio rice, my second preference is Carnaroli.
Side dishes and pairings
Vegan Mushroom Risotto
- Stock Pot
- Large Saute Pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Large Ladle
- Large Cutting Board
- Chef Knife
- 4 ounces crimini mushrooms
- 4 ounces white mushrooms
- 1 quart vegetable stock
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 2 teaspoons picked thyme, divided
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- Using a large saute pan on high heat add mushrooms and stir using a wooden spoon for 1 minute.
- Next add olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, and continue to stir for another minute.
- Shut off heat and transfer mushrooms to a plate. Allow to cool.
- Simmer vegetable stock for 5 minutes then set aside.
- Using a medium size pot on medium heat add remainder olive oil and arborio rice, using a wooden spoon stir constantly for 1 minute.
- Add remaining garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper. Stir for 1 minute.
- Slowly add vegetable stock one ladle at a time and continue to stir until vegetable stock is reduced by half in the pot.
- Add another ladle of stock, reduce by half in pot. Repeat until all vegetable stock is used.
- Fold in chopped mushrooms to risotto and remove from heat.
- Allow to rest for 1 minute then fold in parsley and chives.
Other vegan recipes from around the world
Edwin D'Costa is a former professional chef with an extensive and illustrious career spanning more than 20 years. His experience spans positions at five-star and Michelin-rated restaurants in New York including Picholine and Jean George Vongerichten's Vong. His training began with noted chefs Wolfgang Puck and Todd English.
As he longer works at snooty NYC restaurants, he continues with his love of music and now managing a chaotic household of five.