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Vegan Pea and Mint Risotto Bowl

Vegan Pea and Mint Risotto (Gluten-Free)

The Pesky Vegan
This vegan pea and mint risotto offers up a delicious summer lunch or dinner. For extra flavour, replace some of the stock with leftover pea and mint soup.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course, Risotto
Cuisine Gluten-free, Vegan
Servings 4
Calories 495 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • cups (300 g) risotto rice
  • ½ cup (120 ml) white wine (ideally vegan, optional)
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice (remember to grate before juicing!)
  • 4-5 cups (1-1.2 litres) vegan stock
  • cups (300 ml) leftover vegan pea and mint soup (optional – see recipe notes)
  • 2 cups (300 g) peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • Handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped (approx. 30 g)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) plant-based milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based butter (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Begin by heating the vegan stock in a saucepan. Once hot, reduce to a very low simmer (you want the stock to be hot as you add it to the risotto).
  • In a separate large pan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the chopped onion and soften for 3-4 minutes, before adding the chopped garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes, or until the onion and garlic have started to soften.
  • At this point, turn up the heat and keep stirring the ingredients. Once the pan is very hot, add the risotto rice and stir constantly for a minute or so to avoid it catching on the bottom. The aim here is for the rice to start cracking and turning translucent, which will help it to absorb all the flavours from the liquid. Don't walk away from the pan – it's all hands on deck to keep stirring right now.
  • After a minute on high heat, add the white wine and lemon juice (but not the zest). If not using wine, replace this with 100 ml of stock. The liquid will bubble vigorously at first, before calming down. Stir well for a minute and then reduce the heat.
  • Start to add ladles of the stock to the rice, stirring regularly. The idea is to 'beat' the rice to help release the starches and make it creamy. Don't drown the rice in stock, but also don't let it dry out too much. 'Sloppy' is the best word I can think of to describe it. The heat should be fairly low throughout, so that the rice is bubbling gently but not boiling.
  • Optional step: If including the leftover pea and mint soup as an ingredient (see main post above and recipe notes), add this in after you've done one or two ladles of the stock. Stir well and then continue as described above.
  • Continue this process for around 15 minutes, before adding the peas, nutritional yeast, lemon zest, fresh mint, and plant-based milk. (If using frozen peas, defrost these first in a bowl of boiling water). Stir well and cook for another five minutes, adding as much stock as you need to the pan. 1 litre of stock should be enough for 300 grams of rice, but add extra water if necessary.
  • After the rice has been cooking for a total of 20 minutes, it should be 'al dente'. Each grain should be cooked through but still hold its shape. It may take longer than 20 minutes depending on how hot your stock is and how much you're cooking. Once the rice is creamy and cooked through, adjust the seasoning and then turn off the heat.
  • Optional step: At this point, I like to stir in a generous spoonful of plant-based butter and then cover with a lid. I find that this gives a nice gloss to the final risotto. After a couple of minutes, remove the lid and stir well.
  • Serve with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh mint leaves.

Notes

Leftover pea and mint soup: As I've mentioned in the main post above, my original inspiration for this recipe was to use leftover Vegan Pea and Mint Soup in place of some of the vegan stock. I've suggested using 300 ml (1¼ cups), which means you shouldn't need to use all of the stock (maybe around 800 ml (3-4 cups) rather than a litre, but add as much as you need).
Stock: Before going vegan, I would always use chicken stock for risotto. You can emulate this by including dried herbs such as sage and thyme along with the veg stock.
Adding the stock: For the best results, add the stock as detailed in the recipe above. If you want a quicker method, you can add stock powder or a crumbled cube to the pan and then gradually pour small amounts of hot water from a boiled kettle. 
Quantity: If scaling up the amounts, just be aware that the rice may take longer to cook. 
Peas: Both fresh and frozen peas are fine for this recipe. If using frozen peas, defrost these first in a bowl of boiling water. If you have the option, I’d highly recommend getting your hands on “sweet petite peas” or petit pois, which are smaller and sweeter than standard green peas.
Mint: You’ll want common garden mint, also known as spearmint, which is the one you’ll find in most supermarkets. Use fresh rather than dried. 
Rice: Make sure you're using a risotto rice and not something like long grain or basmati. Popular types include arborio (the most common) and carnaroli (a slightly creamier variety). 
Plant-based milk: I’d recommend using unsweetened oat, rice, or soya milk for this risotto.
Add more veg: If you want to take this recipe up a notch, add finely chopped carrot (1 medium) and celery (2 sticks) when frying the onion. This trio of veg is what the Italians call a 'soffritto' and it adds more depth to the base. You can also include any other veg such as leeks, courgette, asparagus, broad beans  whatever takes your fancy.  
Texture: After the rice has been cooking for a total of 20 minutes, it should be 'al dente'. Each grain should be cooked through but still hold its shape. If you need to cook it for longer, just be careful not to let it go too mushy. 
Pan: If possible, you should use a wide, high-sided pan or skillet to cook risotto. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does help the liquid to evaporate more evenly (and so the rice will cook more evenly).  
Make it creamier: Another very easy way to make vegan risotto creamy is to use... vegan cream! Simply stir through some plant-based cream or plant-based crème fraiche at the end.
Make it cheesier: To really make this risotto sing, top it off with some dairy-free cheese. You can try my recipe for Vegan Parmesan or use a store-bought version. You can also simply top it off with a good pinch of nutritional yeast.   
Extra zing: The lemon juice and zest will do a good job of replacing the zing you get from dairy parmesan, but if you want a little extra then try adding a splash of cider vinegar. Start with a couple of teaspoons and then add more to suit your taste.
Gluten-free: If you need to ensure that this recipe is 100% gluten-free, use a plant-based milk and vegan stock that are certified or labelled as such (as well as any plant-based cream or crème fraiche you add).
Storage: Risotto is best when it's freshly cooked. The starch in the rice means that storing it results in a gluey, mushy mass. This still tastes great, however, and so your best bet is to turn it into arancini (breaded risotto balls) or risotto fritters. Store in the fridge for up to three days. It is not recommended to freeze cooked risotto. 
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* The nutrition info below is for one serving, based on a total of four servings (this doesn't include the optional plant-based butter and pea and mint soup).

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 14gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 362mgPotassium: 552mgFiber: 10gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1231IUVitamin C: 50mgVitamin D: 10µgCalcium: 92mgIron: 6mg
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Pea and Mint Risotto (Gluten-Free)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 495 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 362mg16%
Potassium 552mg16%
Carbohydrates 84g28%
Fiber 10g42%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A 1231IU25%
Vitamin C 50mg61%
Vitamin D 10µg67%
Calcium 92mg9%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword pea and mint, vegan dinner, vegan risotto
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