Vegan risotto with gremolata

Vegan risotto with gremolata

 spring risotto for four

Not sure about you guys, but here in Greece the spring has finally sprung. It’s a bit late for here and the evenings are still on the cold side, but the days of furious storms and unrelenting winds are finely gone. Thank God! (or whoever is in charge of weather patterns)…This grand occasion calls for a special seasonal meal out on a terrace. And what can be more seasonal than a creamy vegan risotto packed with vibrant green vegetables: asparagus, broad beans and leeks? I know what you’re thinking – isn’t risotto normally spiked with heavy cream (or at the very least butter) and generously sprinkled with Parmesan cheese? It may well be, but it doesn’t have to be at all. This one is just as tasty and it is guaranteed NOT to give you a heart attack, which is always a bonus.

The key to a nice vegan risotto is using the right rice and a bit of patience, as our resident risotto master – Duncan – will tell you. You need to make sure that you give the risotto rice a couple of minutes in the pan with the garlic and onion before adding in the liquids. It is also important to add the stock in slowly and watch for when the rice is showing the signs of drying out to top it up with more. That’s all there is to it, really. An easy gremolata topping helps this dish come to life. It’s fragrant and zesty and does more than a good job of replacing more commonly used Parmesan cheese so you won’t feel deprived.

making gremolata

fresh asparagus

gridled asparagus

spring risotto portion

15 min
30 min
15 min
30 min

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 15 cm leek (green part), sliced thinly
  • 750 ml hot vegetable stock
  • 300 g risotto rice (I used Arborio)
  • 175 ml glass dry white wine
  • 500 g asparagus
  • 200 g podded broad beans*
  • salt
  • pepper


  • 20 almonds
  • 10 mint leaves
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 heaped tbsp of nutritional yeast** (optional)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a small pinch of pepper
  1. Wash asparagus and snap the wooden ends off (or cut them off with a knife). Coat asparagus in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Put a small pot of water to boil. Cook broad beans in the boiling water for about 5 minutes – until they are soft in the centre. While the beans are cooking, prepare a bowl of cold water and a few ice cubes. As soon as the beans are cooked, drain them and plunge them into the icy water – this will stop the discolouration process. Shell them and set aside.
  3. Chop almonds and mint leaves very finely. Mix them both in with lemon zest, nutritional yeast (if using), salt, pepper and lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottom pan. Fry the onion until translucent, stirring frequently. Add in the garlic and leek and fry for another minute or two.
  5. Add risotto rice and coat it in the aromatics, stirring often to make sure it doesn’t burn. Keep on frying the rice until it turns slightly translucent – this should take around 1-2 minutes.
  6. Pour all the wine in at once. Cook the rice in the wine for a few minutes until the rice has absorbed all of it. Don’t forget to stir frequently.
  7. Add a generous pinch of salt. Start adding hot stock, little by little. Make sure you only add the bare minimum of stock at one time – i.e. the rice isn’t supposed to swim in the stock, the stock should simply make sure the rice doesn’t dry out. Stir the risotto regularly, but refrain from stirring all the time as it will lower the temperature and aerate the rice.
  8. While topping up the risotto, heat up a griddle pan (or a regular pan). Griddle previously prepped asparagus on a hot griddle pan until nicely charred, turning a few times. Chop into 2-3 cm pieces and set aside.
  9. Continue adding the stock until you’ve used it all up. This usually takes between 15 and 20 minutes. Cooked rice should still retain a bit of a bite. Season your risotto and add in the cooked vegetables. Put the lid on the pan and let it stand for 1 minute. Serve with the gremolata sprinkled on top.

* If you have trouble getting broad beans, feel feel to substitute them for green peas.

** Nutritional yeast is by no means necessary. It adds a slightly cheesy flavour to the topping so if you have it add it in and if you don’t, skip. It is important, however, not to confuse it with baking yeast as making this mistake will result in a nasty tasting gremolata.

8 g
15 g
2 g
23 g
102 g
*per serving
How would you rate this recipe?
This is a test string

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

1 review, 3 comments
I love asparagus and was looking forward to this dish, it didn't disappoint, this was so yummy. I didn't have quite enough broad beans so topped it up with green peas as suggested. I also didn't make the gremolata because I ran out of lemons the day before so just sprinkled mint and a bit of nutritional yeast on top, loved the mint with it, will make this one again. Thanks
    Thanks Pauline, I am so happy to read that you've given yet another of my dishes a try and that you weren't disappointed - that makes me very happy so thank you for taking the time to review! x Ania
This looks delicious Anya, I'm going to try it!
    Thank you:) Hope you'll like it!
Join our mailing list and we we will let you know when we publish a new recipe. You'll receive our DELIGHTFUL DESSERTS E-BOOK as a thank you for supporting us.