Do you think that making risotto means watchfully standing by the stove and stirring for an hour, adding hot broth every few minutes? Who’s got time for that?! Here is how to make vegan risotto in the oven. Perfect for lazy bums and busy moms! I challenge you to find a difference in taste.
This recipe for the Lazy pea risotto with mushrooms is part of the Planned & Plant-based one-week meal plan. It’s a perfect addition to your weekend prep session, because it only requires about 10 minutes of hands-on time. Plus, it makes use of the hot oven, and roasting some vegetables (at the same time) should also be part of your weekly minimum batch cooking session.
Oven-baked risotto like this also comes up in the Vegan Family Meal Plans once or twice per season, because it’s so easy to change the ingredients to make the most of seasonal produce. Once you’ve made this recipe for the first time, you’ll be able to make it again on auto-pilot. It also works great to clear the produce drawer.
Great veggies for your vegan risotto in the oven
- Combining mushrooms, green peas, and baby spinach is budget-friendly and easy to execute at all times of the year.
- In the depth of winter, you might want to substitute roasted squash dice for the peas and/or mushrooms. Sage would complement that well.
- In the spring, my favorite risotto add-in is roasted asparagus.
- In the summer, risotto can be a catch all for bumper crops of zucchini, carrots, beets, and more! Just dice and roast.
- In a pinch, you could add frozen veggies. Just add them after sautéing the onion and garlic and cook them up for 3 to 5 minutes.
What you should always have, regardless of the season, is onion and garlic. Those aromatic plants add flavor and depth (plus a ton of amazing nutrients!) to your vegan risotto in the oven. Don’t skip that step!
And remember to add a few handfuls of chopped greens after baking the risotto. It’s one of my favorite kitchen hack for a natural nutrition boost. In the recipe below, I suggest baby spinach, but baby arugula (a cruciferous veggie!) has a more peppery personality – and extra nutrition – if you can get some. No baby greens? Chop some mature ones and it’ll be fine. (If using fully-grown kale, don’t forget to slice the stems and sauté them with the onion, while adding the tender leaves at the end.)
Reinvent your leftovers and reduce food waste
Vegan risotto in the oven is a great way to repurpose leftover vegetables but also many kinds of protein-dense foods such as seitan and vegan sausage. Leftover vegan roast from Thanksgiving? Dice it and throw it in! Remaining roasted chickpeas? Why not sprinkle them on top? Random assortment of plant-based cheeses remaining after hosting? They’ll melt in beautifully.
A versatile risotto method that adapts to your schedule
A big benefit of preparing this vegan risotto in the oven is the option to break down the cooking into more convenient parts. That way, you can have risotto on a weeknight, without standing at the stove for 40 minutes. There are a few ways to do it:
- Prep the entire risotto on the weekend and reheat it at dinner time. Or bring it to work as a lunch! I find that individual portions in the microwave work best here. Although it’s not particularly romantic, it’s quite tasty. You could reheat it in the skillet but you will need to add some extra liquid (preferably broth, but water will do). You could also reheat the risotto in a steaming basket, which will prevent it from drying out. I do it in the Instant Pot – see this article under the “reheating” heading for details.
- I prefer the half-cooked method. Cook the onion and garlic, and stir in the rice and broth, then stop until the day when you’ve planned to eat the risotto. This method works best if you have a Dutch oven or other heavy pot with matching, oven-friendly lid that you can squeeze into your fridge. Make sure the pot has cooled down completely (perhaps by putting it outdoors if you live somewhere cold… but not so cold that it cracks your pot!) and refrigerate the risotto-in-progress. On the designated weeknight, you can come home, preheat the oven, pop the whole thing in, and set a timer for 40 minutes. What you do during those 40 glorious minutes is up to you, but having a nap, calling your mom, snuggling on the couch with your child, or tossing a quick salad come to mind.
- The add-ins can be cooked anytime. You can either sauté those veggies in the skillet right before adding them to the risotto, or roast them a few days before, then reheat and mix them in at the time of eating.
Finishing touch for your vegan risotto in the oven
To make the dish look and taste better, while adding precious nutrients, consider sprinkling Vegan Parm Nuts on top, or decorating with a few leaves of basil or parsley. That finishing touch will make the dish more appealing without extra effort.
Vegan risotto in the oven: Lazy pea risotto with mushrooms (or other favorite veggies)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil optional
- 1 red onion diced
- 3/4 teaspoon salt divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon thyme crushed between your fingerse
- pepper (fresh ground) to taste
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice NOT rinsed
- 5 cups vegetable broth very hot
- 2 to 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 cups baby spinach or other young greens chopped roughly
Add-ins (mix and match - all optional)
- 1 1/2 cups green peas frozen is OK, just pat dry before using
- 1/2 pound mushrooms of your choice sliced
- 2 cups roasted or sautéed vegetables (squash, asparagus, zucchini...) diced
- 1 cup seitan or vegan sausage any leftover will do, just dice 'em
- a few drops truffle oil
- fresh herbs (parsley, basil, thyme...)
- If baking today, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Preheat an oven-friendly pot (Dutch oven or similar) on medium-low heat. Add a little oil (if using) and the diced red onion with a big pinch of salt. Cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the minced garlic, thyme, and fresh ground pepper. Stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the vinegar (or wine), stir 1 minute, scraping the bottom of the pot to detach caramelized bits.
- Add the rice and stir well to coat. Turn off the heat. Pour in the hot vegetable broth and stir.
- Cover the pot with oven-friendly lid (or wrap tightly with aluminum foil). Place in oven for 30 minutes. Or you can stop here, let the pot cool, refrigerate, and bake it later for about 40 minutes.
- When done, remove the risotto from the oven - careful not to spill! Uncover and use a wooden spoon to stir energetically for 3 to 5 minutes. As you stir, the risotto will become more and more creamy. If too thick, add a little hot broth.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast (starting with the smaller amount). Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Stir in the baby spinach and green peas.
- If not eating immediately, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate.
At dinner time
- Either sauté some mushrooms in a skillet on medium, perhaps with a half teaspoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce, roast some other vegetables, or reheat some leftover veggies (and/or other add-ins) that you cooked previously.
- You can reheat the risotto itself in the microwave or in the skillet. In the latter case, you may need to add a little broth or a few tablespoons of unsweetened plant milk.
Love the idea of an easy weeknight risotto? Make sure to download Planned & Plant-based for a carefully planned selection of vegan dinner recipes you can prep on the weekend and enjoy throughout the week.