Risotto has a reputation of being difficult. Many people shy away from making it because they think it’s hard to make and time consuming. It’s really not. Yes, during the 20 minutes that  it’s cooking you do have to be present- adding a cup of broth now and then and giving it a stir. Risotto is a great thing to make when you have company over for dinner because most people (even meat-eaters) like risotto and and they will think you went to a lot of effort and expense. When risotto is served in restaurants, it’s usually a fairly expensive entree. I can’t figure that out because depending on what you throw in, it doesn’t cost much to make.

The main difference between a non-vegan risotto and a vegan risotto is the addition of parmesan cheese and cream or butter at the end. You won’t miss it- just add a splash of olive oil to the top after you ladle it into bowls. I love the combination of wild mushrooms and spinach, but you could add any vegetable or roasted nuts that you like. Just make sure that you use Arborio rice-  other types of rice will not produce the creamy end result.

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Vegan Wild Mushroom and Spinach Risotto

  • 1½ cups Arborio rice
  • 4 cups heated vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 oz white wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 oz shitake or chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cups (packed) spinach, stems removed, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Pour 4 cups of stock into a saucepan and heat on low until simmering.
  2. In a different medium-sized saucepan, saute the mushrooms in 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft. (At this point I scoop out some of the cooked onions to put on top of the risotto.)
  3. Add the rice to the mushrooms/onions and stir until well-coated and translucent.
  4. Add the wine (or sherry) and cook until evaporated. Stir in 1 cup of the heated stock and simmer gently on low heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. When the stock has been absorbed, add another cup and let it simmer, stirring occasionally until absorbed. Continue this until all the stock has been used and absorbed. Should take about 20 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach and stir for another minute until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Ladle into bowls and top with cooked onions and olive oil.