I don’t know about you, but my weeknights can get pretty crazy. Between keeping up with work-work and housework, hangin’ with my hubby and sweet pup, and finding time for daily meditation and movement, I’m lucky if I have a moment to think about dinner before my tummy starts rumbling.
That’s why I love this week’s Test Kitchen Tuesday recipe—Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon! It’s fresh, zesty and has the perfect creaminess of a classic risotto. Is your mouth watering yet? Sweetheart, it’s even better than it sounds!
This vegan risotto comes together in a flash, but it’s so tasty it’ll make you feel like a master chef. It’s perfect for those busy weeknights we talked about, but it’s also fancy enough to make your kitchen prowess the talk of the next dinner party.
And the best part is the star secret ingredient—farro! We subbed in this deliciously nutty ancient wheat grain for the arborio rice typically used in risotto. Farro contains two times the protein, four times the fiber and has fewer overall calories than arborio rice. It’s also loaded with heart-healthy iron and cancer-fighting antioxidants. And although farro does contain gluten, it’s more easily digested than other wheat grains (but don’t worry—we’ve included a gluten free option for you just in case!). Ya dig?
With its dreamy lemony flavor and crisp asparagus and peas, this vegan risotto is going to become one of your weeknight staples. Hit play below to see how easy it is to whip up!
Vegan Risotto with Asparagus and Lemon
Makes 5 cups (serves 3-4)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, warmed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ cups pearled/quick cooking farro*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1” pieces (about 1 cup)
1 cup frozen green peas
Zest of 1 fresh lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
1. In a small saucepan, heat the stock and keep warm over low heat.
2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add farro and cook an additional minute, stirring often. Add salt, pepper and 1 cup of vegetable stock. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until most of stock has been absorbed, about 4-5 minutes. Continue adding the remaining stock, 1 cup at a time, stirring frequently, for approximately 20 minutes, or until farro is cooked through and slightly chewy.
4. Add chopped asparagus and frozen peas with the last addition of stock – let simmer, while stirring frequently, a final 6-7 minutes, or until stock has been absorbed, asparagus is crisp tender and peas are warmed through.
5. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon zest, parsley, and nutritional yeast (if using). Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if necessary.
*Notes: If using whole farro, be sure to soak farro overnight and drain/rinse when ready to use.
For gluten free option, use 1 ½ cups of short grain brown rice.