I just started a brief vegan diet (more about that in an upcoming post) and decided to make some mushroom risotto, hoping to create something where I would not miss the cheese. I found several recipes online that I thought might work (but was still skeptical – risotto without cheese???) and combined ingredients from a few of them to come up with this delightful mushroom and lemon-spinach risotto. The lemon gives it a Mediterranean feel and makes the dish light and refreshing. And believe it or not, it is creamy, without the cheese!
- 2 3/4 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (1 medium lemon)
- 2 cups chopped spinach, stems removed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or choose your favorite mushrooms)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Chives, chopped fine (optional)
Pour the vegetable broth in sauce pan, bring to a boil and then turn to low.
Toss the spinach, lemon juice and sea salt in a medium bowl. Set aside to use later.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the garlic and onions and sauté until the onions are tender and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the rest of the olive oil and the rice, and stir until the rice is coated with the oil. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the wine, and cook until it is completely absorbed in the rice mixture.
Start adding the vegetable broth to the rice mixture, about a half a cup or so at a time. Wait for each batch of broth to be absorbed by the rice before adding more. Once you have added all of the broth, simmer until the rice is soft and has a creamy consistency. This step takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the spinach and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the fake margarine and the salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the chopped chives.
I loved this and really did not miss the cheese that normally goes in risotto (okay, maybe just a bit.) Brad felt it was a bit acidic (he’s not real fond of vinegars, etc.) so you may want to cut back on the lemon juice just a tad.
I served this with a cucmber, tomato and onion salad with red wine vinegar (I obviously love acidic food.) Some nice warm crusty bread would work well, too.
Eat, drink and be merry!