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Vegan Kale Herb Risotto

For me, risotto is the perfect comfort food. Usually you won’t find me stirring over a stove, but now and then I will for this dish, which is worth it. And, really, it’s not that much stove time. It’s primarily at the beginning and end that you have to pay close attention. Total time on the stove is right at 35 minutes from start to finish. The prep time is almost nil (just some quick chopping), so it’s actually a pretty efficient gluten-free meal, even for a weeknight.


Risotto calls for very few ingredients, so make each the best quality you can for maximum flavor. Yes, this is not traditional risotto, but I don't think you'll mind the adaptations as this version is very healthy yet still creamy and satisfying.


A few notes on making risotto:


• The wine should be room temperature. Any type of white you like. I used Torrontes, since that’s about all we get for white wine in this region of Argentina.


• I had the thought while making this that Kombucha could be a good wine substitute. Cooking it would kill the probiotics, of course. But I think the flavor would be right, so long as you used it plain, without any special flavors added.


• The rest of the water should be hot. I use an electric kettle, which is perfect for making risotto. You could also boil a pot of water and then use a ladle. My ladle is 1/2 cup, which would be useful for easy measuring.


• Risotto should maintain an al dente touch to the rice, creamy but not total mush.


• I know there are special risotto spoons. I just use a big flat stainless spoon and it always comes out great.


• Beet greens or chard also work well here. Though I prefer the kale. To use other soft greens (such as beet greens, chard, or even spinach), sauté the chopped stems, if using, with the onion etc. Then add the finely chopped leaves with cup #6 of the water. I have made it this way and do not wilt the greens beforehand. There's no need.


Once you realize how simple it is to make risotto- and that you can make it vegan without the butter or cheese- then the sky’s the limit. I've made risotto with other fresh veggies, as well as a green curry coconut version.







Recipe for Vegan Kale Herb Risotto





2 cups finely sliced or confetti chopped kale, stems removed (I prefer Lacinato Kale)

2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice

7 cups hot water

1 cup white wine- room temperature

1 small onion- finely diced

1 large clove garlic- minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves- minced

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley- minced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons good olive oil (total, divided)

Fresh black pepper




In a soup pot, sauté the onion, garlic, thyme, and salt in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until softening.


Add the kale and stir to wilt, about 1 minute.


Then add the rice and stir to combine thoroughly and get everything hot.


Next add the white wine and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed.


Now, add one cup of hot water at a time, stirring occasionally until each cup is absorbed before adding the next.


The first 5 cups of water don’t require much stirring, just the occasional check to see if the water is absorbed and to make the sure the bottom doesn’t get dry. You never want it to stick. Around cup six you will need to keep close to the pot, and cup seven needs pretty much constant stirring.


I keep track on a piece of paper so I don’t forget the number of cups of water I’ve added.


With cup six of water, add the fresh chopped parsley. Stirring more now, to make sure that the rice never sticks to the bottom of the pan.


With cup seven, add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 4 tablespoons olive oil. Stir vigorously, in a cut and fold fashion, until the water is absorbed and the rice is creamy and glossy. You can turn up the heat here if the rice is cooked 'al dente' and you need to get off a little extra water. Taste for salt and add now, while stirring, if needed.


Serve immediately with fresh cracked black pepper and good olive oil on top.





Comments and questions here.