While we were growing up my Dad was always the one who cooked most of the meals for us. He was the type of cook who would throw things together, and they’d always come out perfectly, despite the fact that my Dad has a million food allergies, and had not tasted some of the ingredients he was using in years.
As my dietary needs changed, Dad has seamlessly adjusted the meals he’d prepares when we come to visit. One dish that he has started making is a vegan mushroom and spinach risotto. I love it. But I never made it for myself, because anytime I would start, I would remember watching him stirring and stirring and stirring the risotto for what seemed like decades [to my overly hungry mind]. I decided I would just leave the risotto-making to him.
And then I read an article about cooking Risotto in the rice cooker. And I thought hey…I could do that! So I decided to convert the recipe my Dad used for Risotto into an easier, rice cooker version.
I’m incredibly fond of my rice cooker. It is a Zojiruishi brand. The model I have isn’t in production anymore, but this one is similar. I originally had one of their more simple models – without a computer chip, like this one. But, I found the model I have now on a steal – deal on Ebay, and jumped on it. While I usually don’t like having a specialized kitchen appliance – this one (and the bread maker) take the cake as the most useful devices in my kitchen. Seriously. I actually love everything Zojiruishi makes – I have their rice cooker, bread maker, and bento thermos, and all function amazingly. But – this post is about risotto, not my love for the Japanese’s way of making appliances.
The stars of this Risotto show are the arboria rice, the nutritional yeast, and the lemon juice.
Arboria rice is a special kind of short grain rice. It’s known for being firm and creamy. It also blends well with just about any flavor you throw at it. I especially enjoy it for it’s creamy consistency – since a dairy-free-world is often a creamy-consistency-free-world. This type of rice should be available at most grocery stores – although the store I frequent didn’t carry it. Any other type of rice won’t make ‘risotto’ in this recipe.
Nutritional yeast gives the risotto a touch of a cheesy flavor. Now, if you’ve never had nutritional yeast before, know that it’s an acquired taste for most. I didn’t like it at all the first time I ate it. Now, I think it melds flavors nicely.
The lemon juice, stirred in at the end of this recipe, gives the risotto a nice tang.
All in all the flavors blend together for a creamy, delightful dish.
While I enjoy eating risotto as a meal on it’s own, most people would probably enjoy it as a side dish, or with a nice big salad. Me? A side item? More like the only item.. Can I eat it out of the serving bowl?
Note: I just recently got an Instant Pot and have transitioned to making this recipe in there. The ingredients stay the same (although, with more room, I do tend to make more risotto at a time). I have added the Instant Pot directions below)
(Instant Pot conversion adapted from Jill’s directions)
- 1/2 cup minced white onion
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
- 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped or broken into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 cup dry white wine – room temperature
- 3 cups vegetable broth – room temperature
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter substitute (earth balance)
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- Black pepper, to taste
- Turn your rice cooker on, but leave the lid open
- Add the oil to the rice cooker and let it heat while you prep the ingredients
- Add the onions and garlic, and stir to soften. They won’t brown, but they’ll get slightly soft
- Stir in the mushrooms, salt and thyme
- Add the wine and vegetable broth, stir well
- Add the Arborio rice, stir well again
- Close the rice cooker lid and restart the cooking timer (for mine I have to click ‘reset’, and then ‘cook’ again)
- Let the rice cook for the prescribed cycle, when complete, stir well
- Transfer into a serving bowl and stir in: lemon juice, spinach, vegan butter substitute, nutritional yeast and black pepper. Stir until the vegan butter substitute completely melts and all ingredients are stirred together well
- Serve warm, topped with chopped spinach, if desired
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container, once cooled completely.
- Using the Saute feature, saute the oil, onions and garlic for 3 minutes
- Add the rice, stir well. Add the vegetable broth, wine, salt, thyme and mushrooms. Close the lid and turn to “sealed”. Click 'Manual' and reduce the time to 5 minutes. Once cooking is done, use the quick release and carefully open the lid.
- Stir in the spinach, nutritional yeast, black pepper and vegan butter. Stir very well. If it's still liquidy, let it sit for a couple of minutes, it will thicken as it cools.
If you are interested in more Instant Pot recipes you can get to my index by clicking here. I also highly recommend Jill (The Veggie Queen)’s book, The New Fast Food. Click here to visit The Veggie Queen (Affiliate Link).
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