Last night we met our friends Jeff and Debbie Berger at The Green Onion in Virginia Beach for a meal that Jeff pronounced “stellar.” I agree. In fact, my husband and I have enjoyed dinner there every Friday night for a couple of months or more.
I had to sneak a tiny taste–or two–of Jeff’s non-vegan risotto so that I could try to duplicate it at home. His creamy-fluffy mound of rice and sweet corn was stellar indeed. So I set about to create my own vegan version at home.
However, I didn’t have any corn. But I didn’t want to stop at the grocery store because I’d been out and about most of the morning, had 80 pounds of dog food in my car and three hungry pups at home. So I decided I’d have to raid my freezer because I was jonesin’ for some risotto big time. The freezer yielded some nice bright green edamame and so my Creamy Vegan Edamame Risotto was born.
Because stock is what lends most of the flavor to this dish, be sure to use one you really like and that isn’t too salty, as both the flavors and the salt intensify as the stock is cooked down. Since risotto takes a fair amount of easy hands-on cooking time, if you go to your “happy place” in your mind or have someone on hand to visit with, the dish will be ready to dive into before you know it.
1 tablespoon olive or walnut oil
2/3 cup rice
1 shallot, finely chopped (or about 2-3 tablespoons of finely chopped onion)
2-3 cloves garlic
4 cups vegetable stock
1 cup white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)
optional: 1 teaspoon soy sauce (adds salt, so be careful, but in combination with the nutritional yeast, it creates a really delicious flavor that is difficult to identify)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
coarse sea or kosher salt to taste (you may not need any if your stock is adequately salted)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
optional: 1 teaspoon vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
optional: 1 tablespoon soy or coconut milk creamer
generous 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
optional garnish: a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and snipped chives
In a large cast iron skillet or pot over medium-high, heat olive oil to shimmering. Add rice and, toast, stirring frequently. When barely, golden, add shallot and continue cooking until the color of the rice is a light golden brown. Meanwhile, heat stock and white wine to a bare simmer. Once the rice is the desired color, start adding half cups of the liquid to it, simmering while stirring frequently until almost all moisture is evaporated. Repeat until all liquid is used, which should take about 30 minutes. Be careful that, as the rice becomes creamy, it doesn’t stick to the pan. Lower heat if necessary. After about 15 minutes of cooking, stir in the optional soy sauce and nutritional yeast along with the salt, if needed, and pepper. After about 25 minutes, stir in the edamame and finish cooking the risotto, adding the optional vegan butter and creamer very near the end. Serve warm topped with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and, if desired, snipped chives.
Note: if you prefer a risotto with a lighter color and less pronounced rice flavor, don’t toast the rice first.