Inside: This easy vegan mushroom risotto recipe pairs together walnuts, seasonings, and spices for a family favorite that can be made in minutes.
Have you hopped on the plant-based eating wagon? You aren’t alone. This isn’t just a trendy topic or another diet craze, transitioning to a diet that is rich in plant-based foods can provide some terrific health benefits. Even for those not going full vegetarian or vegan, a focus on eating more plants, not relying on meat as a staple of every meal, and just being more health conscious are great places to start!
Too many people assume that a plant-based diet means eating kale for every meal, or nibbling away on a raw cucumber while everyone else has steak (no offense to kale or cucumbers, but you get what I mean) … But there’s so much in between!
“Plant-based” doesn’t have to mean no meat at all – it’s just a label, a reminder to yourself to focus on fruits, vegetables, and proteins that come from plant sources instead of animals. Focusing on adding ‘plant-based foods’ to your plate can help you to add more fiber to your diet, reduce your intake of saturated fat and calories, and generally help you feel your best!
Mushrooms For Your Health
This vegan mushroom risotto is a perfect example of how you can ease into plant-focused eating. There are plenty of dishes that can become more nutritious with a little bit of a makeover – from ingredient substitutions to adding a few bonus, health-conscious elements to your favorite meals.
In fact, mushrooms are a great meat alternative across the board! While they don’t share the same nutrition profile (mushrooms aren’t a particularly good source of protein), there are ways to prepare mushrooms that provide a similar taste and texture to meat, and they do offer similar benefits to satiety. Mushrooms are also lower in calories, and are a great source of the antioxidant selenium.
A recent study (controlled for protein levels and calories) found that participants who ate a mushroom-filled breakfast reported far less hunger and greater fullness than those who ate the meat-based breakfast. Joanne Slavin, the study’s lead author, said, “This new study adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests mushrooms may aid weight management and satiety, and thus contribute to overall wellness.”
Now, this vegan mushroom risotto recipe has another “secret weapon” that has an impact on your health: walnuts!
Walnuts are one of the healthiest members of the nut family, with a variety of benefits to cardiovascular health, aging, gut health, and more!
These powerful nuts are rich in antioxidants, including a particular antioxidant that damages LDL (bad cholesterol) and helps reduce its presence in your body. They are also high in omega-3s. When derived from plants (like walnuts), these omega-3s are known as alph-linolenic acid (ALA), and regular intake may even help to reduce the risk of heart disease!
Some observational studies have highlighted other benefits of walnuts as well, from promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria to aiding with management of type 2 diabetes. This powerful food is associated with promoting brain health, lowering blood pressure, and even reducing the risk of certain cancers.
As part of this awesome vegan mushroom risotto, it’s a tasty and nutritious addition that takes this dish to the next level.
Let’s get into how to make it!
The final product:
Vegan Mushroom Risotto with Walnuts
- One saucepan
- Large pan
- 3 ½ cups vegetable broth (or 3 cups vegetable broth + ½ cup water for less sodium)
- 8 oz mushrooms
- 2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup arborio rice
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped (+extra for garnish)
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh parsley (for garnish)
- Warm the vegetable broth (or vegetable broth + water) in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.
- Heat a large pan over medium heat. Once heated, add 1 tbsp olive oil and mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are browned and are releasing some of the liquid, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and their liquid and set aside.
- Reheat the same pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and diced onions. Saute until onions are translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for an additional minute.
- Add the arborio rice to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally to coat the rice with the oil.
- Add the wine and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 1-2 minutes.
- Begin adding the warmed vegetable broth ½ cup at a time to the rice mixture and stir, letting the rice absorb the broth between each addition. Repeat until the rice is al dente, or until desired texture is achieved. This step takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
- Add mushrooms and their liquid to the rice and mix them together. Salt and pepper to taste.
- When ready to serve, mix in the walnuts and garnish with fresh parsley and more walnuts. Only add the walnuts at the time of serving. If preparing ahead of time, do not add walnuts until serving.