This vegan wild mushroom and leek risotto is the perfect dish to make when you are craving something cozy, creamy, and comforting. Perfect for autumn, spring, or anytime you'd like to cook up some comfort in the kitchen, it is also gluten-free!
I love the taste of delicious wild mushrooms, and when autumn rolls around, this dish is what fall tastes like to me. Autumn is not here yet, but I still am craving this comforting risotto.
This risotto has an intense mushroom flavor which combines wonderfully with the leek. Early this year, I shared a version of this recipe with Imperfect Produce to showcase seasonal produce. Since then, I have revised it. I can't help tweaking recipes now and again.
Fortunately, chanterelles are in plentiful supply for a few weeks in my area during the fall season. If it's spring, or chanterelles are not found in your area, you can make this with whichever wild mushrooms are available in your area.
Which mushrooms can I use?
Where I have been shopping, I can get the chanterelles and the dried mushroom mix at the same store. If chanterelles are not in season, other fresh wild mushrooms can be used, such as:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Morel mushrooms
- Oyster mushrooms
- Porcini mushrooms
- Portobello mushrooms
- Bunapi or Bunashimeji mushrooms
The mushroom broth adds to the deep mushroom flavor in this dish. If you can't find it, vegetable broth can be used, but the mushroom flavor will not be as intense. If you prefer, you can make your own mushroom stock or vegetable stock.
What is the best rice for risotto?
Arborio rice or carnaroli rice is typically used for risotto and is easy to find at most grocery stores. Risotto is rich and creamy due to the starches that are released from the rice during cooking. For this reason, it is important that you do not rinse the rice.
Arborio is the short-grain rice I use in this recipe. It is perfect for absorbing large amounts of stock and yields a hearty yet creamy texture. Carnaroli is another type of rice that can be used, although I have not tried it yet. I encourage you to experiment with both types and see which you prefer.
How to cook the risotto
Making this vegan wild mushroom and leek risotto is not difficult, but it does take some time. It's very much worth the effort if you don't mind spending a little more time in the kitchen. Here are a few helpful tips:
Make sure the stock is kept hot
To make the risotto, you need to keep a saucepan handy to keep the stock hot. In another saucepan, heat up the oil and add onion to it. Saute until the onion has changed to a golden color and add garlic. Then add the rice and stir it for several minutes until it is translucent at the edges. You want to toast the rice but be careful not to burn it.
Add wine and keep stirring until the wine evaporates. At this point, you start adding small amounts of hot stock to the rice, gradually in half-cup increments, so the rice absorbs it. Keep adding liquid as the rice absorbs it.
Frequently stir for approximately twenty to thirty minutes, until it is al dente, tender yet firm to the bite. Do not let any rice stick to the bottom. Be sure to check for doneness as you are cooking. Risotto is best eaten as soon as it is served.
I first started making variations of this wild mushroom risotto recipe many years ago and it has become a favorite. Tips on making the perfect risotto can be found here.
Since I am vegan, I occasionally use vegan Parmesan cheese. This risotto is delicious without it as well, since the creaminess is from the rice, not the cheese.
If you're craving more mushroom recipes, check out this Asparagus Mushroom Pasta which is perfect for spring and summer.
If you make this wild mushroom and leek risotto, be sure to leave me a comment, rate this recipe and tag me on Instagram.
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Adapted from The New Vegetarian Epicure cookbook by Anna Thomas.
Wild Mushroom and Leek Risotto
- 1.5 oz dried gourmet mix mushrooms
- 1 lb chanterelles or other fresh wild mushrooms or use 2 pounds and skip the dried mushrooms above
- 6 cups organic mushroom broth or vegetable broth, it is better to have too much than too little
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon butter plant-based
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 leek washed and chopped, white parts only
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups arborio rice do not rinse
- 3/4 cup dry marsala or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste, up to 1 1/2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2/3 cup vegan Parmesan cheese optional, plus extra for serving
- 1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
- Rinse the dried mushrooms, then soak them in enough water to cover them for 15 minutes. Then drain, reserving the liquid to use for additional mushroom stock if needed. Then put the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 5 minutes, discard the water, and chop them once they've cooled.
- Prepare the chanterelle mushrooms by cleaning them under running water and trim the stems as needed. Cut the mushrooms into small chunks or thin pieces depending on the mushrooms you have. Have all of your ingredients prepared and ready to go before you start cooking the risotto.
- Heat the mushroom broth or vegetable broth in a separate saucepan on a low simmer because you will be adding it to the risotto in half-cup increments with a soup ladle. Once it is hot, put the top on and keep it at low heat.
- Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the fresh mushrooms and mix them often, they will make a squeaking sound, until moisture is released. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the soaked mushrooms, add a large pinch of sea salt, and keep stirring until the mushrooms are browning around the edges, and the liquid is evaporating. This will take another 5 minutes approximately.
- Heat a heavy-bottom saucepan with sloping sides preferably, such as a risotto pan, for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in the chopped onion with the leek and keep stirring until the onions start turning translucent and then start browning, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the rice all at once and stir it into the onion, leek, and garlic for several minutes, until the edges of the rice start looking translucent. Add another pinch of salt. This takes around 3 minutes. Do not let the rice turn brown or burn. Add the marsala and continue to stir as it completely cooks away. When it has evaporated, add the sautéed mushrooms, salt, dried thyme, and a half-cup of the hot broth you have been heating up. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon.
- When the broth has almost been absorbed, add another half-cup of broth, and keep stirring until it has mostly been absorbed. Keep doing this in half-cup increments until most of the broth is used and the rice is tender yet firm to the bite and creamy. Taste as you cook. It usually takes 20 to 25 minutes. You may not need to use all of the broth. The rice should not be runny nor dry, but creamy.
- When the rice is nearly done and is the right texture, stir in black pepper and the vegan Parmesan cheese, if you are using it. Season to taste, and add more salt or pepper if needed. Serve the risotto immediately in shallow bowls. When serving, top with chopped parsley, and add additional vegan Parmesan on top as desired.
If you wish, add additional freshly ground black pepper. For reheating leftovers, I recommend heating up some mushroom or vegetable stock in a saucepan and mixing the risotto in until it is heated. You want to get that creamy texture again, not runny, and not dry. Note: You will need 3 pans to make this risotto:
- one heavy-bottomed saucepan for cooking the risotto
- one large saucepan for sautéeing the mushrooms
- a medium saucepan for keeping the broth hot