This Vegan Wild Mushroom and Leek Risotto is the perfect dish to make when craving something cozy, creamy, and comforting. Lately, when that craving strikes, I've been making this mushroom risotto—it's beyond comforting for mushroom lovers.
As the weather outside turns cooler and nights grow darker, I only want to curl up by the fire with a cozy bowl of risotto that warms me from the inside out.
I love the taste of delicious wild mushrooms, and when autumn rolls around, this dish is what fall tastes like to me. Chanterelle mushrooms are so delicious, and this dish is on my mind when the fall season is here!
This risotto has an intense mushroom flavor that combines wonderfully with the leek - it's perfect for the mushroom lover!
Fortunately, chanterelles are in plentiful supply for a few weeks in my area during the fall season. Suppose chanterelles are not found in your area. In that case, you can make this with whichever wild mushrooms are available in your area.
It's no secret that I love cooking with mushrooms, as you can see in these recipes: Creamy Mushroom Risotto with Peas, Vegan Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms, Asparagus Mushroom Pasta, and this Mushroom Tofu Scramble.
I first started making variations of this recipe many years ago. I adapted it from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas over the years.
The soft arborio rice, earthy mushrooms, sweet caramelized leek, and onion make this vegan risotto feel hearty and satisfying.
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, hot vegetable broth can be used, but the mushroom flavor will be less 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 released from the rice during cooking. For this reason, you mustn't rinse the rice.
Arborio is the short-grain rice I use in this recipe. It absorbs large amounts of stock and yields a hearty yet creamy texture. Carnaroli is another type of rice that can be used, although I have yet to try it. I encourage you to experiment with both types and see which you prefer.
- Onion - You can use finely chopped white onion or shallot instead.
- Chanterelles - Use any fresh mushrooms you like: shiitake mushrooms, portobello, or crimini mushrooms (Baby Bella), and regular white button mushrooms will also work.
- Dried wild mushrooms - If you don't have them or if you don't have the time to soak them, it's fine to skip them.
- Extra-virgin olive oil - use a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter instead.
- White wine or Dry Marsala - You can use vegetable stock instead.
- Vegan Parmesan - If you don't have this, skip it or stir in a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast. The risotto will be delicious and creamy whether you add it or not.
- Parsley - use another fresh herb, such as fresh thyme or marjoram. Or omit it.
- Deluxe: Add a luxurious drizzle of truffle oil before serving. Or try this carnaroli rice to make the risotto.
- Alcohol-free: Skip the wine and use vegetable stock instead.
- Short on time: Skip soaking the dried mushrooms and save them for another night when you have more time.
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice before serving.
How to Make this Vegan Wild Mushroom and Leek Risotto
I started making variations of this wild mushroom risotto recipe many years ago, and it has become a favorite. It's very much worth the effort to make this rich risotto! It's one of my favorite dishes. Here are a few helpful tips:
To make the risotto, you need to keep a saucepan handy to keep the stock hot - you want hot broth simmering on the range while you make the risotto.
- Step 1: Heat the olive oil on medium heat in another saucepan and add onion to it. Saute until the onion has changed to a golden color, and add chopped garlic cloves.
- Step 2: 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.
- Step 3: Add the dry marsala or white wine and keep stirring until the wine evaporates. At this point, you gradually add small amounts of hot broth to the rice in half-cup increments so the rice absorbs it. Keep adding liquid as the rice absorbs it.
- Step 4: Stir frequently 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 love this vegan parmesan cheese: Violife Just Like Parmesan Wedge (not sponsored). This risotto is also delicious without it since the creaminess is from the rice, not the cheese. But it just adds a little extra!
Do not rinse the risotto rice before adding it to the pot to avoid rinsing the starches off. The starches in the rice make this dish creamy.
Simmer the risotto on medium to low-medium heat, stirring often. If it's too hot, it will affect the flavor and texture. Make sure the liquid is cooking slowly and slowly. There's a delicate balance!
Choose a delicious broth because it makes all the difference in risotto!
- Refrigerate for two to three days in an airtight glass container.
- Reheat leftovers on the stovetop, adding leftover broth or water to loosen the risotto.
- Do not freeze since this will affect the texture.
Looking for more recipes like this? Try these:
Vegan Wild Mushroom and Leek Risotto (Gluten Free)
- 1.5 oz dried gourmet mix mushrooms
- Water to cover mushrooms and boiling water
- 6 cups organic mushroom broth or vegetable broth, it is better to have too much than too little
- 1 lb chanterelles or other fresh wild mushrooms cleaned and chopped, or use 2 pounds and skip the dried mushrooms above
- 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 ½ cups arborio rice do not rinse
- ¾ cup white wine or dry marsala or vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon sea salt to taste, up to 1 ½ teaspoons
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅔ cup vegan Parmesan cheese optional, plus extra for serving
- ⅓ 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.1.5 oz dried gourmet mix mushrooms, Water to cover mushrooms
- Heat the mushroom 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.6 cups organic mushroom broth
- Heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the chanterelle 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.1 lb chanterelles or other fresh wild mushrooms, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 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.1 tablespoon butter, 1 medium yellow onion, 1 leek, 2 cloves garlic
- Add the arborio 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 chanterelle mushrooms, salt, dried thyme, and a half-cup of the hot broth you have been heating up. Stir slowly with a wooden spoon.1 ½ cups arborio rice, ¾ cup white wine or dry marsala, ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 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.½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, ⅔ cup vegan Parmesan cheese, ⅓ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
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
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