Best Veggie Vegan Risotto

BY : PUBLISHED : June 6th, 2022 UPDATED: June 11th, 2022

This easy vegan risotto recipe cooks up perfectly creamy and delicious! It’s loaded with lots of veggies for an easy dinner recipe everyone will love. 

completed vegan risotto plated on a white plate against a white background with spinach in the back

Risotto gets a bad wrap and many cooks think it’s simply too much work to make. But I am here to tell you this veggie risotto recipe is one that gets rave reviews at the dinner table in my house. 

It makes a delicious main meal but can also double as a side dish. As a main dish, all your creamy vegan risotto needs is a salad side dish and your favorite bread recipe like this Focaccia Bread

Sometimes I want a change from potato and rice side dishes for meals and serve this one instead. It makes the perfect pair with white bean burgers and crispy tofu strips

If you love this risotto recipe, you just have to check out this brown rice risotto! I think you’re going to love it too!

Why This Recipe Works

  • Creamy texture: Arborio rice cooks up perfectly creamy in this dairy-free risotto. It’s the starch in the risotto that is what makes it creamy enough to skip the milk.
  • Vegan comfort food: Veggie risotto is a hearty, satisfying dish whether you use it as a main meal or side dish.
  • Lots of flexibility: Vegetable risotto is a great way to use up veggies you have on hand. So feel free to swap out any I’ve used in this recipe to create your own combination.

Is Risotto Vegan?

Risotto originates from Italian cuisine and the most basic preparation is made with stock and arborio rice cooked in butter. But many other ingredients can also be added to the dish to give it flavor and create a wide range of variations.

There are lots of ways to make risotto vegan easily without sacrificing flavor. If you are ordering in a restaurant and the dish isn’t marked vegan it might be a good idea to ask a few questions about the ingredients and preparation. 

At home, most animal products can easily be swapped out with vegan ingredients to create appetizing and tantalizing dishes. Use olive oil instead of butter and eliminate dairy products and add flavors such as aromatics, herbs, spices and vegetables. 

What Goes Into Veggie Risotto

The ingredient list is short for this vegan risotto recipe and should be easy to find in most grocery stores.

ingredients for vegan risotto measured out against a light surface
  • Olive oil: A healthy option for the lower temperature we will be using to cook plant-based risotto.
  • Fresh mushrooms: Any type of mushrooms will work in the risotto but white or cremini mushrooms are the easiest and least expensive options.
  • Aromatics: Yellow or sweet onions and fresh garlic are the base of flavor in this easy vegetable risotto recipe.
  • Arborio rice: Essential to make a perfectly creamy risotto.
  • Vegetable broth: Gives the risotto more flavor than cooking with water.
  • Veggies: Fresh asparagus, tomato, and carrot work best in our version.
  • Fresh basil: This finishing touch infuses the best vegetarian risotto with so much flavor.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Vegan risotto with peas: Swap out the asparagus for fresh green peas.
  • Vegan risotto with asparagus only: Add more asparagus and eliminate the carrots and tomatoes.
  • Vegan risotto with no mushroom: Eliminate the mushrooms. Adding a bit of miso helps to replace the umami flavor of mushrooms when you make this recipe without them.
  • Other veg risotto recipe ideas: Don't like the vegetables or want to use up veggies in the fridge? Here are some of my favorites to use in veggie risotto. Cook it with a single veggie or use any combination of chopped broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, peas, spinach or kale, fennel, zucchini, and butternut squash.

How To Make Vegan Risotto with Vegetables

If this is your first time making veggie risotto, don't worry. You can follow along here to see how easy it is to make.

  • 1) Heat the oil In a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until onion is tender. 
ingredients for vegan risotto added to black skillet
  • 2) Add the rice to the skillet and continue stirring while it cooks for about 5 minutes or until the rice is golden brown.
  • 3) At the same time bring the broth to a boil in another saucepan. Once it boils reduce the heat and let it simmer just enough to keep it heated. 
  • 4) Slowly add one cup of broth to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. 
  • 5) Add another one-half cup of broth and the asparagus to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add another cup of broth, one-half cup at a time, stirring constantly until the broth has been absorbed. (This should take about 15 minutes.)
  • 6) Stir in the remaining one-half cup of broth along with the tomato and carrot. Continue cooking and stirring until rice is slightly creamy and just tender. 
process shot of additional ingredients being added to black skillet
  • 7) Stir in the basil and serve it right away.
process of basil being added to black skillet

Expert Tips

  • Get the right rice: It really all starts with the rice. You simply can’t make true risotto without arborio rice. The high starch content it releases into the pot is what gives risotto a creamy texture.
  • Stirring: It’s not necessary to stir constantly the entire time it cooks, but it does need a lot of attention and frequent stirring.
  • Add broth slowly: Follow the instructions and add the water in small amounts and allow it to fully absorb into the rice before adding more.
  • Toasting the rice: Don’t rush and skip this step. Toasting the rice before adding the liquid enhances the flavor.
  • Adding the basil: Fresh herbs work best added at the end of cooking. Stir it in right before serving. It’s even better to set a bit aside and sprinkle it over the top of each serving.

FAQs

Can you make risotto without cheese?

Yes most definitely! The cheese isn’t necessary to create the creamy texture that is risotto’s essential trait. Cheese may contribute some flavor to the risotto when included in the recipe so if you eliminate make sure to give it a taste before serving. You can always add nutritional yeast, your favorite vegan cheese, herbs, and spices to replace any lost flavor and keep it vegan and dairy-free.

What can vegans eat with risotto?

Eat it with tofu, tempeh, seitan, or even some cooked cannellini beans if you want to serve it up as a main dish. If it’s the main meal, serve it up with crusty bread, salad, or soup.

Can risotto be made with any rice?

No, arborio rice is what makes the dish so creamy and delicious. You can certainly use other varieties of rice but it won’t cook up exactly the same.

completed vegan risotto plated on a white plate against a white background

What to Serve with Risotto

Main Dish: When serving risotto as a main dish, you can serve anything you’d normally serve with a bowl of pasta as a side dish. Since it doesn’t have a large amount of protein, you might want to add on a side made with tofu, beans, or another plant-based protein. My favorite sides are edamame salad, black bean salad, and quinoa salad.

Top it: Serve it up with vegan parmesan cheese as a topper and a squeeze of lemon.

Side Dish: When using it as a side dish, it can really replace any type of simple rice or rice pilaf side. My family really loves it served as a side with tofu main dishes. But it will also work with these recipes too.

More Rice Recipes

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed vegan risotto plated on a white plate against a white background

Best Veggie Vegan Risotto

Miranda Rivera
This easy vegan risotto recipe cooks up perfectly creamy and delicious! It’s loaded with lots of veggies for an easy dinner recipe everyone will love. 
5 from 39 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 284 kcal
METHOD Stovetop
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil (optional-- for sauteing, you can use water)
  • 2 cups of sliced fresh mushrooms
  • ½ cup of chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup of uncooked Arborio rice
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup of bite-size asparagus pieces
  • ¾ cup of seeded and diced tomato
  • ¼ cup of shredded carrot
  • 3 Tablespoons of snipped fresh basil

Instructions
 

  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and cook until onion is tender.
  • Add rice. Cook and stir for about 5 minutes more until rice is golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in another saucepan, bring broth to a boil; reduce heat and simmer. Slowly add 1 cup of the broth to the rice mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Add another ½ cup broth and the asparagus to the rice mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until liquid is absorbed. Add another 1 cup broth,½ cup at a time, stirring constantly until the broth has been absorbed. (This should take about 15 minutes.)
  • Stir in the remaining ½ cup broth, tomato, and carrot. Cook and stir until rice is slightly creamy and just tender. Stir in basil. Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Get the right rice: it really all starts with the rice. You simply can’t make true risotto without arborio rice. The high starch content it releases into the pot is what gives risotto a creamy texture.
  • Stirring: It’s not necessary to stir constantly the entire time it cooks, but it does need a lot of attention and frequent stirring.
  • Add broth slowly: Follow the instructions and add the water in small amounts and allow it to fully absorb into the rice before adding more.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 6gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 717mgPotassium: 373mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 2214IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 24mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Disclaimer: Although plantbasedonabudget.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Plantbasedonabudget.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.

About Miranda Rivera

Cooking vegan meals brings such excitement and richness to my life! The simple things in life are so beautiful to me. I love meeting new people. Welcome to my plant-based journey!

View all posts by Miranda Rivera

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Gina H. says

    5 stars
    Count me in for all risottos, especially a vegan one. So creamy and delicious!

    • Andrea White says

      They are always a great lunch/dinner option!

  2. Teodora says

    5 stars
    What beautiful colors! Can't wait to try this!

    • Andrea White says

      Let us know what you think 🙂

  3. Amanda says

    5 stars
    Hard to beat such a tasty risotto recipe! Yummm!

    • Andrea White says

      It's definitely one of those winners!

  4. Tina says

    5 stars
    This risotto look soooo good!

  5. Andrea White says

    It comes out so creamy and delicious every time! Love it!

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