Creamy, bright, and delicious, this easy Vegan Asparagus Risotto is packed with delicious spring flavors like lemon and asparagus, but with a cheesy twist. Great for a family dinner, Easter, a potluck, or meal prep, this meal is perfect any time of year.
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Hey Internet, do you know that time of spring where the days are getting warmer but the nights are still a little chilly? Brisk evening dog walks are what inspired me to make this delicious spring-inspired asparagus risotto.
Cheesy, buttery, and light, this vegan risotto with asparagus is healthy but cozy and satisfying. It’s just so good.
I actually feel like I’m starting a series of risottos here. My vegan pumpkin risotto back in Fall was delicious and also seasonally appropriate when I published it. Guess I’ll have to figure out winter and summer risottos next.
It is the most authentic Italian risotto ever? No. I tried to follow the general technique of adding little bits of liquid at a time and letting it get absorbed before adding more. This adds an incredible amount of creaminess to the dish and is nothing like regular steamed or boiled rice.
While this dish is not a true authentic Italian dish, it IS truly delicious and approachable.
It’s a really great main dish or side. I served it here with my vegan portobello steaks and it is truly a phenomenal meal. The pairing of the two flavors is just perfect.
Serve it to your fam, your guests, or just make it for meal prep. I have made this several times in the last month just to take to work with me for my lunches. SO cozy in my freezing cubicle!
Alright, let’s jump into this recipe.
What You’ll Need
Arborio rice is an Italian short grain rice, named after the town of Arborio in Italy. If you’ve never tried it, I HIGHLY recommend it over any other rice for this recipe. It gets SO creamy and delicious, it truly is incredible.
It can be found in most grocery stores, but if you can’t find it and buying it online isn’t an option, I’d recommend substituting it with another short grain rice.
Brown rice will work, but may require a little bit longer to cook.
As far as the liquid you use, I’d recommend a flavorful broth over a plain stock.
I used Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base which is a delicious vegan chicken broth and it’s SO delicious in this with the asparagus and vegan parmesan.
You could also use vegetable broth instead (it’ll be a little darker in color but still delish).
White wine is completely optional. If you do add it, use a half cup (reduce broth by a half cup). Barnivore is a great resource for finding vegan alcohol.
But I didn’t use it this time and I didn’t really miss it.
I highly recommend using the onion and garlic the recipe calls for, but if you can’t have them, the recipe will still taste good without. Shallots would be really good instead of onion, too.
Since this IS a vegan asparagus risotto, I’d assume you want to use asparagus.
If you want to sub broccoli, mushrooms, or another quickish-cooking vegetable here, you absolutely could. You could also use half and half. Or add the mushrooms with the asparagus. That’d be great.
As far as flavoring goes, I used Italian herbs (the dried blend), a little black pepper, the juice of a large lemon (at the end so the flavor doesn’t cook off), and a half batch of my vegan Parmesan topping. This parmesan is just a few pantry staples and it tastes REALLY good.
Store bought vegan parmesan cheese is fine too (Violife makes a good one).
Tips for Making Vegan Asparagus Risotto
- Note: Depending on your pot, stove, and how well you pay attention to this dish, it can take anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes to make. If you have a power burner, then by all means use it, but dial the heat down a notch so you don’t burn the rice.
- I find it most helpful (especially with risotto) to prep all my ingredients beforehand so I don’t stress about burning anything. It just requires a little bit more attention than my typical meals of “just chuck everything in a big pot.”
- In a large nonstick pot (I love the All Clad Non Stick because it’s healthy, non-chip, and cooks reeeeally nicely), saute your onions over medium high heat. If you use oil you’re certainly welcome to use that here (I’d use a neutral like avocado oil). I definitely would use oil if you do not have a nonstick pot since risotto uses very little liquid at a time.
- Since I use nonstick cookware and don’t cook with oil I’ll just tell you how I do the onions. I get the pan hot for about a minute or two, throw in my finely diced onions and spread them out with a silicone or wooden spatula. Once they start to stick a slight bit, I add a splash (like a tablespoon) of water to deglaze the pan and stir it well. I do that for about 3 minutes until the onions are translucent. You can also use broth instead.
- Add the garlic and saute for another minute, stirring frequently.
- Now add your arborio rice and stir constantly for one minute, toasting the rice (still over medium high heat). Add the dried herbs and toast for 30 seconds more.
- Next, add either the wine or a half cup of the broth. Stir frequently for a few minutes, letting most of the liquid absorb. Continue to do this with the rest of the broth until the rice is ALMOST fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should be somewhat chewy but not crunchy.
- Note that if you’d rather roast or steam the asparagus separately, you’re perfectly welcome to do so and add it at the end.
- Add the asparagus now and stir it in well. Cover the pot for 3-4 minutes, then stir, add another ½ cup of broth, and continue this process until the rice is fully cooked, and very creamy. The asparagus should be cooked now as well.
- Now stir in the majority of your vegan parmesan, leaving a little bit to top individual portions with. Stir in the lemon juice as well. If it’s gotten too thick, add a splash of broth or non-dairy milk. Coconut milk would be yummy in this too. I just used the last little bit of broth I had, though.
- Serve, garnished with extra vegan parmesan and/or parsley. Enjoy! This goes fantastically along with my vegan portobello mushroom steaks, and cooks in about the same amount of time, too!
- Refrigerate leftover risotto in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer safe container.
More Quick and Light Vegan Meals
It’s spring when I’m writing this, so that’s the angle I’m going for with these suggestions, though any time of year when the asparagus is cheap enough I love to make this. Glad to finally be sharing it with you all.
Here are some recipes I think you’ll love if you like this one:
- Vegan Ricotta Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes
- Vegan Waldorf Salad
- Chickpea Florentine One Pot Pasta
- Vegan Goat Cheese Salad with Strawberries and Pecans
- Vegan Chicken Salad
- 30 Minute Vegan Pasta Puttanesca
- Creamy Avocado Salad
- Vegan Honey Mustard Chicken Wraps
- Vegan Orange Chicken
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does, too. It’s not often we both lick the bowl after eating but we really did with this one.
This Vegan Asparagus Risotto is:
- Cozy yet light
- And perfect for a family dinner, Easter dish to share, or meal prep!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!