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Risotto for Vegans, Just in Time for Spring

Every other Thursday on Food52, Gena Hamshaw of the blog Choosing Raw shares satisfying, flavorful recipes that also happen to be vegan.

Today: Welcome spring with a bright, lemony asparagus risotto — Gena shares a trick for making it rich and creamy without any cheese.

Risotto for Vegans, Just in Time for Spring

People are often surprised to hear me say that risotto is one of my favorite recipes to make. They assume that the dish’s richness must come from dairy, but the beauty of risotto is that arborio rice becomes creamy on its own, leaving little need for butter, cream, or even cheese. With flavorful vegetable stock (homemade or not) and some nutritional yeast — every vegan’s secret to cheesy-tasting recipes — you’ll find that homemade vegan risotto is reliable, forgiving, and delicious.

More: Now that you’ve got nutritional yeast in your pantry, use it to make vegan pesto, too.

The following dish celebrates the advent of spring with fresh asparagus. It’s lemony, bright, and simple. If you don’t care for the taste of nutritional yeast, that’s okay — the recipe will turn out nicely without it. If you’re craving something a little more authentic-tasting, I recommend leaving it in.

Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Serves 4

1 bunch of asparagus spears (15 to 20), trimmed and chopped into 1 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (you may not use it all, but have it handy anyway)
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Save and print the full recipe on Food52. 

Photos by James Ransom

This article originally appeared on Food52.com: Risotto for Vegans, Just in Time for Spring