Vegan Italian Herb Risotto

When it comes to creating creamy risotto, stirring is everything.  As the rice grains rub against one another during the stirring, they release some of their starch.  This creates the creamy consistency.  The creaminess doesn’t come from cheese, milk or cream.  It comes from good old fashioned stirring.

And that means, it’s important to use a rice with a high starch content. This recipe for creamy vegan risotto uses arborio rice. In the U.S., arborio rice is fairly easy to find, and is carried at most major U.S. grocery stores.  Other rices you could use include baldo, carnaroli, maratelli, padano, roma, or vialone nano.  

This recipe can be enjoyed as a meal or a side dish. Nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan) is added to enhance the flavor. If you want to skip it, it’ll still be good, but it’s a little more enjoyable with it.

This is a simple, easy recipe, but it is not super quick. It takes time to stir, ladle, and stir some more. But it’s worth it to end up with a super creamy vegan herb risotto!

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Vegan Italian Herb Risotto

6 cups broth (fake chicken or vegetable)

6-8 whole garlic cloves

1 cup chopped onion

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 cups arborio rice

1¼ cups dry white wine

¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

¼ cup fresh basil, chopped

2½ Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (OR vegan parmesan)

1. Add broth to a large pot, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the burner, but do not remove the lid. You will add the hot broth to the rice later in the recipe.

2. While you are waiting for the broth to boil, add the celery, onion, and garlic to a food processor and blend until very finely chopped.  You can also chop it by hand until it is very, very fine.   

3. In a large pot or dutch oven, add 2 Tbsp olive oil, the celery, onions and garlic.  Sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes.  

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4.  Add the arborio rice to the pot with the celery, onions and garlic. Constantly stirring the rice, sauté for another 3 minutes over medium heat.

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5. Add the wine, and continue stirring the rice over medium heat.  As you stir, the wine should reduce and/or absorb into the rice.

6. When the wine has reduced, add 2 ladles of the hot broth to the pot with the rice. Stir constantly over medium-high heat. This will keep the rice from burning, but it will also allow the rice to release starch.

7. When the rice has absorbed most of the broth, add 2 more ladles of broth. Continue stirring, allowing the broth to reduce by about 75%, and then, adding more broth and stirring more. Continue this process until all the broth is gone. On the last addition of broth, stir and reduce the broth as much as possible (no soupy rice here!).

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8. Remove the risotto from heat. Stir in the parsley, basil and oregano.

9. Stir in the nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan). Taste, and adjust seasonings (more herbs? salt? more nutritional yeast?). Serve as a meal or side dish.

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