Light Vegan Mushroom Risotto

This risotto recipe is surprisingly doable on a weekday. Last night we painted the bathroom and worked up an appetite in a paint-fumey haze. We downed tools at eight and I got straight on to chopping onions. We had finished eating by nine. This recipe doesn’t require any oil, butter or wine so it’s vegan and pretty low calorie too.

To serve two you’ll  need:
1 onion (I always use red because they taste better and don’t mind that it slightly discolours the rice)
2tsp Bouillon powder
3/4 pint boiling water
About 1 cup risotto rice (I just pour it in from the jar…)
1/2 punnet mushrooms
Sprinkle thyme
Fresh dill (optional)
Dried mushrooms, soaked (optional)
Large grinding of black pepper
Start by chopping the onions. If you have an onion-chopping-partner like me then get them to do it and save your poor eyes for the important part. Sweat the onions in a dry pan on a medium-low heat. Add a splash of water if they start to stick a little. Slice the mushrooms and add to the pan. Let them sweat off most of their liquid and shrink down. The onions should be translucent and soft by now. Pour in the risotto rice and stir everything together. Boil a kettle and pour about half a pint of water into a small pan. Add the bouillon powder and place the lid on. Simmer gently to keep the stock hot. Add a ladle-full of stock to the rice and stir in. The rice will begin to absorb the stock and soften. If using, pour some boiling water over a couple of dried mushrooms. Go about your life and potter about. Wander past the pan every couple of minutes and add another ladle of stock when the liquid has nearly disappeared. If using, chop the dried mushrooms into tiny pieces and add to the pot. Spoon off a little of the soaking water and add this too (don’t pour it in or you’ll get all the gritty bits which will anger your guests). Sprinkle in the thyme and chopped dill fronds if you have any. After about four ladle-fulls give the rice a nibble to see if it is soft yet. Keep adding until the risotto is tender and gooey and delicious. Season with lots of black pepper.

Serve with a green salad with balsamic vinegar. The acidity cuts through the richness of the risotto to create a perfect plate. Last night I also added beetroot and cucumber to the salad because I’m fancy.

Let me know how you get on with this one. It always works for me and has become a bit of a staple. Sometimes I make a ‘green risotto’ instead with frozen peas, edamame beans and any green veg from the fridge which, quite frankly, is just as good.

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