Imagine a fluffy, creamy bowl of risotto mixed with some deliciously seasoned roasted vegetables, ready to enjoy on a cold fall day. I’ve got the recipe here to that autumnal daydream, so fear not!
Risotto is one of those foods that I’m kind of always at least a little bit in the mood for, but that I rarely eat. Part of what usually makes risotto so delicious is all the dairy that goes into it. And hey, if that’s your thing, well I’m not going to stop you. I’m not in the mood for a tummy ache, so I luckily figured out how to make a delicious and creamy risotto without the cheese!
This is a great recipe to make for the following reasons:
- you’re trying to impress a vegan
- you’re trying to impress anyone
- you have a tiny bit of leftover wine and can’t bear to waste it
- you’re very very hungry but patient
- it’s a day that ends in y
I’ll explain the steps for the risotto in the recipe below, but I want to go over it here as well because I think it may be one of those dishes that people assume is too complicated to whip up in a minute. It’s actually not that complicated, but there are some steps that are a bit unusual for rice, so I think they deserve a bit of an explanation.
The first step is to prepare some vegetable stock. I use veggie bouillon cubes since they’re quite affordable. One of these little cubes + three cups of water makes stock. So I combined boiling water with a cube in a big measuring cup and stirred until it was dissolved.
Then you start to get the flavour going. I diced up a fresh shallot and used some dried garlic (because I was lazy). I’ll put fresh garlic in the recipe. If you don’t have shallots, you could definitely use some leeks for an interesting taste, or just regular onions in a pinch. Shallots are just a bit sweeter and more mellow than regular onions, so they lend themselves well to this recipe. Sauté in olive oil for a few minutes until they are soft, then add in the rice.
I use the ol’ golden rice ratio, which is 2:1 water to rice. Since I was using 3 cups of veggie stock, I put a cup and a half of rice into the pot with the shallots and garlic. Don’t add the stock yet!
Also, arborio rice is key to making good risotto. It has a lot of starch and that is what will make this dish so creamy.
Anyways, allow the rice to fry up in the remaining oil with the aromatics. This is going to just add a little bit of nuttiness to the rice that makes it nice. Don’t allow it to burn, and stir it frequently to make sure it’s even.
At this point, I added a splash of white wine. The alcohol burns off pretty quickly since there isn’t much else in the way of liquids in there. I only add a tablespoon or so, since it can be overpowering with the other delicate flavours.
After a few minutes it’s time to add the stock. I add one third of it to start; this will probably be enough to just barely cover the rice. Stir, then cover the pot and leave for a few more minutes. Let the rice suck up all this liquid before you add another third. Repeat this pour-stir-cover thing until you’ve used up all your stock. Make sure you’re not leaving it unattended and are using a medium heat, as you definitely do not want this deliciousness to burn.
At this point, most of the liquid should be absorbed. Now is the time you start stirring briskly with the lid off. Letting air hit the rice and evaporate away some of the liquid is how you are going to start to develop that creamy texture. If the rice starts to get too dry, just take it off the heat and continue stirring. Eventually you’ll reach a lovely creamy consistency with a slightly toothsome rice. It’s perfect!
This is a real restaurant quality dish (or so I’ve been told). Below you’ll find my favourite blend of spices for roasting veggies, as well! Give it a go, and see how easy it is to make a filling, stick-to-your-ribs fall dinner without relying on any dairy at all.
Roasted Vegetable Vegan Risotto
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 zucchini
- 2 medium sized carrots
- 2 cups chickpeas
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1.5 tsp turmeric
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- olive oil
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1.5 cups arborio rice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small shallot
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp white wine
To prepare the veggies:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Dice the sweet potato into 1 cm x 1 cm cubes, approximately. Chop the zucchini and carrot into comparable sized pieces. Put all veggies into a large mixing bowl. Add the chickpeas.
Pour a tablespoon or two of the olive oil over the veggies to coat them. Sprinkle on the garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, turmeric, smoked paprika, and parsley, and toss to distribute the seasonings equally.
Spread the veggies out over a large baking tray and put into the oven. Check them after 15 minutes and flip them to ensure even cooking. They will take approximately 30 minutes to roast, but keep an eye on them as this can vary depending on your oven.
To make the risotto:
Once the veggies are in the oven, finely dice the garlic and shallot and put into a pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Allow to cook until slightly translucent and soft.
Add the arborio rice, and allow to cook in the residual oil for a few minutes. Add the white wine and stir constantly to keep the rice from burning.
After about 5 minutes of toasting the rice, add in one third of the vegetable stock. Stir and cover the rice, allowing it to sit for a few minutes. Check and stir it after about five minutes to keep it from browning or burning.
Add another third of the stock, stir, and cover. Repeat this process until all the stock is used up and the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid.
Remove the lid to the pot and stir constantly. This step will develop the starch and make the rice creamy. If the rice starts to get too dry or starts to brown at the bottom of the pot, remove from the heat and continue stirring.
Once the rice has reached a desirable texture and softness, you can dish it out for serving.
To serve, make a base of the risotto in a dish, followed by several scoops of the roasted vegetables and chickpeas. Top with some freshly cracked black pepper, and enjoy.