Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Risotto is creamy and rich, but it doesn’t have to be loaded with cheese. This Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto is flavoured with thyme and truffle oil and really lets the mushrooms shine!
Confession: I don’t like mushrooms…but I LOVE this Vegan Mushroom Risotto.
This Vegan Mushroom Risotto is one of those recipes that will convert any former mushroom hater (like me) into a mushroom fan. It’s salty and savoury and rich with umami flavour that will have you coming back for seconds (or dare I say, thirds.)
If you’ve never made risotto before you may have heard that’s it an intimidating dish to make. But the truth is risotto is actually quite simple to throw together, it just requires a little more time and care than a quick 30-minute meal.
There are a few “secrets” to a delicious risotto that we’ll walk through in the next section so that by the end of this post you’ll be a risotto top chef master!
What is risotto?
Risotto is a dish that originated in Northern Italy that is made by cooking rice in broth until it’s creamy. Traditionally Risotto is made with butter, parmesan cheese and white wine. But this vegan version of risotto is made with vegan butter and vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast instead.
Why you’ll love this Vegan Mushroom Risotto recipe
- Flavour city. This Vegan Mushroom Risotto packs some serious flavour. The mushrooms give it a savoury umami flavour that you won’t be able to get enough of.
- Perfect for date night. Want a fun recipe you can cook for a date night? This is it! Risotto is the perfect recipe to make where you can hang out in the kitchen with your partner, drink some wine and enjoy the cooking process together. End the meal off by with some Pot De Cremes for dessert!
- Dairy-free and gluten-free. Risotto is always a great gluten-free dinner option, but it’s usually made with butter, cheese and sometimes cream. This version of mushroom risotto is completely vegan.
Vegan Mushroom Risotto Tips (how to make AMAZING risotto)
Use the right kind of rice. The classic type of rice to use in risotto is arborio rice, but you can also use baldo, carnaroli or vialone nano types of rice. These are all medium-grain varieties of rice that have a higher starch content than some other types of rice. As the rice cooks, it will release its starches which is what creates a rich and creamy risotto. Do not try to substitute the rice in this recipe for basmati, jasmine or wild rice.
Don’t rinse the rice. I know sometimes it might seem intuitive to rinse your rice before cooking. We see this often with some other types of rice like jasmine rice or sushi rice to help remove some of the starch so the grains of rice aren’t sticky or mushy. But when it comes to risotto, we want that starch! So refrain from rinsing your risotto rice.
Use warm stock or broth. Risotto is made by slowly adding vegetable stock one ladle at a time until the rice absorbs the stock before adding more. Using warm stock is an important part of this cooking process. If you use cold stock, this will cool down the rice and it won’t cook evenly.
Add the stock slowly. This process of slowly adding the vegetable stock to the Vegan Mushroom Risotto allows the rice to slowly absorb the stock and release its starches, creating that creaminess that we want. If you add in too much stock at once, you’re basically just boiling the rice in stock, which is not what we want.
Cook on medium-low. You want to simmer the risotto on low heat, but not too low. This will give the rice time to absorb the stock and soften before adding more stock to the pot.
Stir occasionally, but not too much. Some people think you need to constantly be string risotto non-stop while cooking, which is a myth. Stirring too much can actually add air to the risotto and make it sticky. You want to give it a couple of good stirs as you add the stock, but then take a little break.
Don’t leave the risotto unattended. Mushroom Risotto isn’t one of those recipes that you can just walk away from for 10 minutes while it cooks. Risotto requires attention. You’ll want to stand by your pot of risotto so you can keep an eye on it, string occasionally and continually add more vegetable stock as the rice absorbs it. So put on your favourite music, pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy the risotto-making process!
Don’t cook the mushrooms in the risotto. In this recipe, the mushrooms are cooked separately and then added back to the risotto at the end of the cooking process. If you leave the mushrooms in the pot while cooking the rice, you’ll end up with mushy mushrooms, which is not what we want.
Vegan Risotto Mushroom Ingredients
- Olive oil: this is used to sautee the mushrooms and get them nice and golden brown. You can also use another type of oil like avocado oil if you prefer.
- Cremini mushrooms: these mushrooms have an earthy flavour and meaty texture. You can really substitute with any type of mushrooms you love.
- Vegan butter: this is used to gently toast the rice and help it release its delicious flavour. Vegan butter gives a more classic creamy taste to the risotto, but you could just substitute with more olive oil.
- Shallots: If you can, please get shallots! While you can use a regular onion, shallots create such a beautiful flavour in the risotto that pairs well with the mushrooms. Shallots have a more delicate and sweet taste than a regular onion.
- Garlic cloves: fresh. Don’t substitute with dried or powdered!
- Fresh thyme: have you ever paired thyme with mushrooms? It’s one of those perfect pairings that is absolutely delicious. Thyme has an earthy flavour that compliments the mushrooms.
- Arborio rice: we talked about the importance of using the right rice for this vegan risotto. Arborio rice is the best kind to use that will give you a smooth and creamy risotto.
- Dry white wine: This is used to deglaze the pan before adding in the vegetable stock. The white wine adds an element of acidity to the dish which helps balance out the richness. If you don’t want to use wine you can substitute by adding one tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Vegetable stock: A risotto is only as good as the stock you use, so make sure to use a tasty and good quality vegetable stock or broth! I like to use this stock base that I mix with water. It’s super flavourful.
- Vegan parmesan: This is optional, and the risotto will be delicious without it. You can also add in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast which will give the risotto some more umami flavour.
- Truffle oil: another optional ingredient, but one that will elevate the risotto to the next level! All you need is a few drops.
Equipment you’ll need
How to make Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Start by cooking the mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat then add the mushrooms letting cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are golden brown. Once browned, season with 1/4 tsp salt then remove the mushrooms from the pot and set aside.
Heat the vegan butter in the pot on medium heat, then add the shallots and garlic and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the rice and thyme and stir everything together, let cook for another 1-2 minutes so the rice toasts slightly, then add the white wine and let the wine cook-off.
Slowly add the broth, about 1 ladle at a time (1/4-1/3 cup), stirring frequently until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more broth. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente, continuing to add broth as needed.
When the rice is al dente (has a slight bite to it), add in the mushrooms, vegan parmesan cheese and truffle oil and mix everything together. If the rice is still too firm for your liking, add another 1/2 cup of broth and mix. The texture of the risotto is perfect when you can run a wooden spoon through the risotto and it slowly seeps back together. If your risotto is too thick, you can add more broth to thin it out. Plate the risotto and optionally top with some fresh parsley and ground black pepper!
Best Mushroom for Risotto
When it comes to making risotto you can technically use any type of mushroom you love. In fact, you can even “mix and match” and use a variety of different mushrooms in your risotto. That being said, there are a few varieties of mushrooms that are deemed the “best” for risotto.
- Portabello mushrooms. This type of mushroom has an earthy and meaty texture and taste. Cremini mushrooms and white button mushrooms all fall under the portabello category. (These are in fact all the same type of mushroom!)
- Shitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are rich and buttery when cooked, making them a great option to pair with a creamy risotto.
- Porcini mushrooms. These are very popular in Italian cuisine and you may see them in many pasta dishes. Porcini mushrooms are woodsy and nutty and have a unique and delicious flavour.
Mistakes to avoid when cooking mushrooms
Mushrooms have a high water content, which can make them a little tricky to cook. Mushrooms can often become soggy when cooking, which is not what we’re going for. Luckily, there are a few common mistakes you can avoid while cooking mushrooms to get caramelized and flavourful sauteed mushrooms.
- Don’t wash the mushrooms in water. Simply wipe them with a damp cloth or paper towel. Mushrooms are very absorbent and if you wash them in water they’ll start absorbing the water. Then when you cook them you’ll end up with watery soggy mushrooms. It’s best to just use a damp cloth or paper towel and gently wipe any dirt off the mushrooms.
- Don’t cook mushrooms on low heat. This will cause the water in the mushrooms to come out and the mushrooms will steam in the pan rather than sauté. Instead, cook the mushrooms on medium-high or high heat.
- Not using enough oil. Since the mushrooms will absorb a lot of the oil in the pan, it’s important to use enough oil to let the mushrooms fry in. Otherwise the mushrooms will start sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Overcrowding the pan. Make sure to leave enough space between the mushroom slices in the pan. If you start piling on too many mushrooms in the pan they won’t cook well.
What goes best with mushroom risotto?
Mushroom risotto can be served as an entree on its own, or as a side with your favourite type of protein, a salad, or some roasted vegetables.
What vegetables go with mushroom risotto?
Mushroom risotto is very versatile and goes well with many different veggies. If you want to add some more vegetables to this risotto here are some great options:
- Red pepper
How to Store and Reheat Mushroom Risotto Vegan Leftovers
Let the risotto cool to room temperature then transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Best Vegan Risotto FAQ
If you don’t want to use white wine in the risotto, you can substitute it with one tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar instead. This will give the risotto a bit of acidity to balance out the richness.
No. Basmati rice is long-grain rice and doesn’t contain enough starch in it to turn into a creamy risotto. It’s best to use arborio, bald, carnaroli or vialone nano rice for this recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend it. Freezing risotto will ruin the texture of the risotto and it will become quite mushy once defrosted.
Believe it or not, cream is actually not a traditional ingredient in any risotto. Risotto gets its creaminess from the starches in the rice that cooks down in the broth. That’s why vegan risotto will taste very similar to traditional non-vegan risotto. So no need to replace cream 🙂
The best way to tell if your risotto is done is to taste it. The rice should be cooked al dente-fully cooked but with a slight bite to it. (Rather than it being mushy.)
The risotto is also done when you run a wooden spoon through the risotto and it slowly seeps back together. If your risotto doesn’t do this, you’ll want to add some more liquid.
More delicious rice recipes to try
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Creamy Vegan Mushroom Risotto is surprisingly easy to make and packed with umami flavour!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp vegan butter
- 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine (can sub 1 tbsp lemon juice)
- 4–5 cups vegetable stock, hot*
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan (can sub 2 tbsp nutritional yeast)
- 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
- fresh parsley to top (optional)
- Clean any dirt off the mushrooms with a damp towel, then slice the mushrooms.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium-high heat then add the mushrooms letting cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are golden brown.
- Once browned, season with 1/4 tsp salt then remove the mushrooms from the pot and set aside.
- Heat the butter in the pot on medium heat, then add the shallots and garlic and let cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and thyme and stir everything together, let cook for another 1-2 minutes so the rice toasts slightly.
- Add the white wine and stir until the wine is evaporated.
- Slowly add the broth, a 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more broth.
- Cook for about 20 minutes or until the rice is al dente, continuing to add broth as needed.
- When the rice is al dente (has a slight bite to it), add in the mushrooms, vegan parmesan and truffle oil and mix everything together. If the rice is still too firm for your liking, add another 1/2 cup of broth and mix.
- The texture of the risotto is perfect when you can run a wooden spoon through the risotto and it slowly seeps back together. If your risotto is too thick, you can add more broth to thin it out.
- Season with additional salt and pepper as needed and serve immediately topped with fresh parsley.
*Warm up the vegetable broth in a pot on the stove or in the microwave. It doesn’t need to be boiling, just warm.
- Serving Size: 1/6th of the recipe
- Calories: 312
- Sugar: 1g
- Sodium: 400mg
- Fat: 10.7g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Carbohydrates: 42g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 9g
Keywords: risotto with mushrooms, vegan risotto, vegetarian risotto