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This creamy, vegan mushroom risotto is a hearty dish that’s perfect for fall. With three types of mushrooms cooked in two different ways, this rice dish is full of earthy, umami flavors.
This vegan mushroom risotto is one of my go-to recipes for when the leaves start to fall. It’s packed full of fall flavors, like mushrooms and thyme, yet still tastes fresh and light. The warm, creamy arborio rice is cozy on a cold day, and the garlic flavor really shines through.
Many risotto recipes are full of butter and cheese. This dish, however, is fully vegan. So you can easily justify making it all the time. I also have a traditional mushroom risotto recipe that you can give a try!
Why You’ll Love this Easy Risotto Recipe
This vegan mushroom risotto has everything I look for in a recipe. It’s easy, quick, healthy, and packed full of flavor. A good risotto is all about the texture, and this vegan risotto absolutely melts in your mouth.
The flavors are familiar but complex. The star of the dish is the mushrooms, with three different types cooked with two different methods. That maximizes the mushroom flavor, and adds depth to the dish.
What is Risotto Anyways?
Risotto is an Italian rice dish. A high-starch rice (arborio is the most common) is cooked slowly in broth, and releases starch. This process breaks down the rice, and thickens the broth, creating a creamy, luxurious dish.
Even though it’s a rice dish, risotto doesn’t at all resemble traditional steamed or baked rice. Instead, the texture is much closer to porridge.
What is the Trick to Making Good Risotto?
If you’ve ever watched cooking competitions on TV, you probably find the idea of making risotto a little daunting. In reality though, it’s easy to make good risotto. Here are some tricks.
- Be patient. Unlike other rice dishes, you don’t want to add all the liquid at once. Instead, add the broth in small doses and wait until the rice has absorbed most of it. Then you can add more.
- Use hot broth. Cold broth will cool down the rice and the pan, and mess up the cooking process. Speaking of temperatures, try to keep the risotto at a mild simmer. The goal is to cook it slowly, but if you cook it too slowly it will never finish.
- Stir the rice the right amount. Since there’s never a lot of liquid in the pan, you have to stir risotto regularly to keep it from burning or sticking. But you shouldn’t stir it nonstop, or the rice will become gluey.
- Stop cooking the rice when it’s a little bit al dente. You don’t want the rice to get too mushy, or too dry.
Here are all the ingredients that you need for vegan mushroom risotto. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the page to see the exact quantities for each ingredient.
For the roasted mushrooms:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Portobello mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the sautéed mushrooms:
- Olive oil – You can also use dairy-free butter.
- Cremini mushrooms
- Salt and pepper
For the risotto:
- Olive oil – Just as with the mushrooms, you can use dairy-free butter if you prefer.
- Arborio rice
- Vegetable broth
- Dairy-free milk – I prefer coconut milk, but it will add a coconut flavor to the recipe. You can use whatever type of dairy-free milk you prefer, just make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavored.
- Thyme sprigs and leaves
- Lemon juice
- Black pepper
What is arborio rice?
Arborio is the most common type of rice for risotto. It’s a short-grain rice, named after a town in Italy. Arborio has a very high starch content, which allows the grains to keep a firm texture, while making the risotto thick and creamy.
You can find arborio rice in most supermarkets. Sometimes it’s in the pasta section rather than the rice section.
How to Make Vegan Mushroom Risotto
Here’s how to make this easy risotto dish.
- Roast the mushrooms. Toss the shiitake and portobello mushrooms with olive oil, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. Roast in a 400F oven for 15-20 minutes, or in an air fryer set to 375F for 10-12 minutes. The mushrooms are done when they’re crispy on the outside, but still soft on the inside.
- Sauté the mushrooms. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium high heat, then add garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the cremini mushrooms and cook until they’re soft, and all the liquid has evaporated. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Toast the rice. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, lower the heat to medium, and add olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, then the rice, and toast for 1 minute.
- Make the risotto. Lower the head to medium low. Add half a cup of broth and the thyme sprigs, and stir. Once the broth has reduced, add more, and repeat the process until the rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, which should take 15-20 minutes.
- Finish. Remove the thyme sprigs, and stir in lemon juice, thyme leaves, half a cup of milk, and pepper. When the milk is absorbed, add the rest. Season with salt, and stir in the parsley and sautéed mushrooms. Top with the roasted mushrooms and fresh thyme, and serve hot.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips for making the best mushroom risotto.
- Season to taste. This recipe doesn’t have a set amount of salt in it, because different veggie broths have different sodium contents. Season the dish with salt at the very end, tasting as you go to make sure the salt levels are perfect.
- Don’t rinse the mushrooms. It can be tempting to clean mushrooms like they’re vegetables, but avoid that. Mushrooms absorb liquid very quickly, so if you wash mushrooms under water they’ll become sponges. This will mess up the texture of the mushroom. Instead, use a towel with just a touch of water on it, and wipe any dirt or debris off of the mushrooms.
- Use full-fat milk. To get the creamiest and richest flavor and texture in this vegan mushroom risotto, use full-fat dairy-free milk. It’s even better if the milk is homemade, so check out my cashew milk recipe.
- Change up the mushrooms. The three mushrooms used in this recipe are three of the most readily-available mushrooms. You can find them in most grocery stores. However, feel free to mix it up and add some different types of mushrooms. If you can get some wild mushrooms at your grocery store or farmer’s market, all the better!
Here are a few commonly-asked questions about this vegan mushroom risotto dish.
What do shiitake mushrooms taste like?
Shiitake mushrooms have an earthy and almost smoky flavor. They’re also quite rich, and a little bit buttery.
What do cremini mushrooms taste like?
Cremini mushrooms are one of the more mild mushrooms you can buy, as they’re just a more mature version of the button mushrooms that are in every grocery store. They have a rather nutty taste, and hold other flavors (like garlic!) well.
What do portobello mushrooms taste like?
Portobello mushrooms help give this dish a meaty kick. They’re full of umami, and have a flavor that closely resembles steak or venison.
What to Serve with Mushroom Risotto
Since this dish is rich and hearty, I like to serve it with some veggie-based side dishes to balance it out. And since it’s an Italian staple, it goes really well with other Italian dishes, like crusty bread. Here are some of my favorite things to serve with vegan mushroom risotto.
- Pistachio pesto brussels sprouts
- Vegan caesar salad
- Roasted parmesan carrots
- Summer tomato salad
- Extra garlicky and cheesy bread
How to Store and Reheat Extras
This vegan mushroom risotto will last in the fridge for up to 5 days if stored in an airtight container. To reheat, add a little bit of veggie broth or dairy-free milk, and cook on the stove or in the microwave.
You can also freeze this recipe in an airtight container for 3 months. However, the texture of rice becomes compromised in the freezer, so the risotto won’t be as smooth once it’s thawed.
More Rice Recipes to Try
If you liked this vegan mushroom risotto, check out these other rice-based dishes.
- Tex-Mex chicken and rice casserole
- Pumpkin wild rice soup
- Kimchi fried rice
- Easy salmon rice bowls
- Broccoli, rice, and chicken casserole
Vegan Mushroom Risotto
For the roasted mushrooms
- 8 ounces (227 g) shiitake mushrooms, sliced in half
- 8 ounces (227 g) portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/4" slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cloves grated garlic
- 2 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper
For the sautéed mushrooms
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, butter or dairy-free butter
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- Salt and pepper
For the risotto
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, or dairy-free butter
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) arborio rice
- 5 cups (1183 ml) vegetable broth
- 1 cup (236 ml) dairy-free milk
- 1 sprigs thyme
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup (15 g) chopped parsley
- Salt, to taste
The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.
- Rub all of your mushrooms down with a damp towel to remove any dirt.
- Toss your shiitake and portobello mushrooms with the olive oil, grated garlic, thyme, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Lay them out on a sheet pan or in an air fryer insert. Roast at 400 °F (204 °C) for 15-20 minutes or air fry at 375 °F (191 °C) for 10-12 minutes, or until they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I used an air fryer and they turned out perfectly!
- Sauté the cremini mushrooms by heating the oil or butter in a heavy flat-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the sliced cremini mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until they are soft and any liquid released from them while cooking has evaporated. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil or butter over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes, or until the onion is fairly soft. Add the garlic and stir. Add the arborio rice and stir with a wooden or silicone spoon and toast the rice for about a minute. Lower the heat to medium low, and continue stirring as you add in about ½ cup of the vegetable broth and the sprigs of thyme. Stir frequently and once the broth begins reducing, add another ½-1 cup of broth. Continue adding ½-1 cup of broth at a time, adding more broth once the rice has absorbed it and the rice just starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. This will take about 15-20 minutes total.
- Once you’ve used up your broth, remove the sprigs of thyme and add the lemon juice, pepper, thyme leaves and ½ cup of the milk of choice. Stir and once the rice has absorbed most of the milk, add the remaining milk. Season with salt and stir in the sauteed cremini mushrooms and chopped parsley.
- Top your risotto with the roasted mushrooms, more black pepper and fresh thyme and enjoy immediately!
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.