It’s March and that means that spring is just weeks away!
That also means that the start of baseball is just weeks away, but I’m going to do my very best and try not to mention that every single day between now and opening day (March 29th!). I mean, this is a food blog afterall and you’re here for some good vegan grub.
Although who can complain about some bonus baseball stats thrown in here and there?
With the spring equinox near, I have chosen to share this Lemony Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Peas, a celebration of the best spring vegetables (yay asparagus and peas!) in a rich and creamy risotto that your family and friends won’t believe is vegan.
To compliment the flavors of these early spring vegetables, I added a bit of fresh lemon juice for a light and refreshing risotto that epitomizes spring and is a perfect accompaniment for all your springtime meals (think: vegan Easter).
To balance the citrus of the lemon juice and earthy tartness of the asparagus, I added two key ingredients that provide a rich creaminess. The first key ingredient is a couple tablespoons of vegan butter. Originally I wanted to create this recipe without vegan butter since it’s not available to everyone but ultimately I found that the fat and creaminess from it was necessary for the perfect flavor. I use Earth Balance for this recipe but for those of you who don’t have access to Earth Balance, any other non-dairy butter will do.
The second key component for this perfect balance is vegan parmesan. My parmesan is very simple to make, made from just five ingredients:
- hemp seeds
- nutritional yeast
- garlic powder
and a food processor. This parmesan adds a cheesiness (thanks to the nutritional yeast), a creaminess (thanks to the cashews and hemp seeds), and a saltiness (thanks to the garlic powder and salt) to the risotto to complete the perfect balance of flavors.
Making risotto is fairly straight-forward. However, it takes constant attention. In order to get the rich creaminess that you think of when you think about risotto, you must cook the rice slowly by adding a bit of broth one ladle at a time. As you add the broth, you’ll want to stir constantly to avoid the rice sticking to the bottom and burning as well as allowing you to get a consistent cook on the rice. Once each ladle of broth has absorbed, you add another one until all the broth is gone. This process takes between 20-30 minutes of constant stirring but the effort is so worth it.
The result is this rich and creamy vegan risotto filled with the fresh flavors of spring time vegetables.
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
- 1/2 cup Vermouth or other dry white wine
- juice of one lemon
- 1 rounded cup asparagus, chopped into 1" pieces
- 3/4 cup frozen peas
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium pan, heat up vegetable broth and leave it at a very low simmer.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes until onions are translucent and fragrant.
Add rice and toast for 1 minute. Turn heat down to medium-low.
Add white wine and lemon juice and stir until almost all the white wine has dissolved.
Using a ladle, scoop one ladle-full of vegetable broth into the rice and stir until it has mostly evaporated. Continue doing this, one ladle at a time, until all the vegetable broth is used and rice is thick and cooked. You may need to add 1 - 2 more ladles of hot water depending on how quickly the rice cooked. Stirring constantly.
When the last ladle has been added, add asparagus, peas, and vegan butter.
Once all vegetable broth has evaporated, turn off heat and add vegan parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately with lemon wedges and parsley.
This post contains affiliate links.
You may also like:
My Darling Vegan Newsletter