Vegan Charred Lemon & Asparagus Risotto

Vegan Charred Lemon & Asparagus Risotto

Traditionally rich and hearty, risotto gets a refreshing makeover with vibrant lemon zest and juice, infusing every grain of Arborio rice with a citrusy sparkle. Nutritional yeast and a homemade cashew “parmesan” add a cheesy depth without the dairy, making this meal not only vegan-friendly, but irresistibly delicious.



  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (about 1lb), ends trimmed
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, minced
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice

“Parmesan topping & assembly:

  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or margarine, melted
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method of cooking:

Bring the vegetable stock and water to a simmer in a saucepan.

In a grill pan or frying pan over a high heat, cook the asparagus and lemon slices until grill marks appear. Set the lemon aside for garnish and chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.

In a separate large frying pan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and shallots and cook until soft. Season with kosher salt.

Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, then add the Arborio rice, stirring to coat the grains with oil.

Begin adding the warm broth mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed before adding more.

When half the stock has been incorporated, add the lemon juice and continue adding stock until the rice is al dente.

Stir in the chopped asparagus and cook for a few more minutes.

For the Parmesan topping, put the cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and salt into a food processor and pulse until finely ground.

Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in the vegan butter until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the risotto with a sprinkle of cashew ‘parmesan’, charred lemon slices and a dash of black pepper.

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