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Must Try Recipe : Vegan Saffron Risotto


  • 1 large leek

  • 1 small bulb fennel


  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped

  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • Three 3-inch strips of peel from 1 orange

  • 4 sprigs parsley

  • 2 sprigs thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Kosher salt

  • 5 whole black peppercorns


  • Large pinch saffron

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • Pinch cayenne pepper

  • 2 cups Arborio rice

  • 1 cup dry white wine

  • One 14.5-ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons nutritional yeas


Separate the white and green (light and dark) portions of the leek, and cut each in half lengthwise; rinse well to remove any soil. Roughly chop the green top, and set aside for the stock. Thinly slice the white portion into half circles, and set aside for the risotto. Cut the tops off the fennel, and roughly chop for the stock. Finely chop the fennel bulb, and set aside for the risotto.

For the stock: Put the wine, leek greens, fennel tops, carrots, celery, garlic, orange peel, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, 1 teaspoon salt and peppercorns in a large pot. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Add 10 cups of water, and bring to a boil; reduce to a gentle simmer, and cook until the stock has reduced by about one third (7 to 8 cups), about 30 minutes. Strain, then use the back of a ladle to squeeze out any excess liquid from the vegetables; discard the vegetables, and keep the stock warm (or cool the stock and refrigerate for up to 3 days).

For the risotto: Add a splash of water to the saffron in a small bowl, and set aside to bloom.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks, chopped fennel and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste, soy sauce, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and cayenne, and stir for 1 minute. Add the rice, and stir until coated. Add the wine, and simmer, stirring constantly, until it is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the warm stock, the saffron and the blooming water to the rice. Bring to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid is absorbed, 7 to 8 minutes. Add 3 more cups of stock, bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the rice is tender but slightly toothsome, 10 to 12 minutes more. In the last few minutes of cooking, add the tomatoes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in half the parsley and 3 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the consistency of the risotto by adding more of the stock as necessary. Pour into a serving dish, and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast.

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