Sautéed mushrooms and plump grains of arborio rice are dressed in creamy cashew milk and garlicky kale pesto to make this decadent and spring-perfect vegan risotto.
Hey look! This one is all green and sparkly! Convenient. Actually, I totally didn't plan the whole green thing for Saint Patty's day week, figuring Monday's shepherd's pie would be plenty to get you through the big day. I just happened to look over my posting schedule and there this was. Also, we're on the verge of spring, and things just tend to start looking greener when we hit that time of year.
So let's talk about this risotto. I think it's my favorite risotto ever, and I really love risotto. I always know I'm in big trouble when I start playing around with my food during the photographing process and find more of it ends up in my face than in the photos. It was really tasty. I've been wanting to try kale pesto for ages now, and a fancy spring risotto seemed the perfect vehicle. This pesto was very flavorful, nice and garlicky, and packed just a little bit of fresh herby flavor thanks to the addition of some basil. If you're one of those people who doesn't like kale (and I know you're out there. And what are you thinking?) you should give this pesto a try.
I love that risotto has a natural creaminess to it, but being as I pounded quite a few plates of risotto spiked with heavy cream during my twenties, I like a little something extra in my vegan risotto, so I added some non-dairy milk. The resulting rice is perfectly plump, just rich enough, and deliciously creamy.
Creamy Kale Pesto Risotto
For the Kale Pesto
- 3 cups lacinato kale leaves, stems removed and torn into 2 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup shelled walnuts
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
For the Risotto
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 8 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- salt & pepper to taste
Make the Kale Pesto
Place kale leaves, walnuts, basil, lemon juice and garlic into food processor bowl. Pulse until finely chopped. With the food processor running, drizzle in olive oil until well blended.
Make the Risotto
Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place over medium heat. When oil is hot, add mushroom slices in an even layer. Allow to cook for 5 minutes, until browned on bottoms, flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove from pot and transfer to a plate.
Coat the bottom of the pot with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add onion. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and continue to sauté until it begins to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until most of the wine has been absorbed or evaporated, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add ½ cup of broth and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer, stirring frequently until broth is almost fully absorbed. Continue adding ½ cup of broth at a time in this manner, stirring every minute or two, until rice is plump and tender, adding kale pesto mixture and mushrooms with the last broth addition. This should take about 25-30 minutes. Stir in cashew milk and continue to simmer until thick and creamy, 2-3 minutes.
Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.