Creamy, decadent risotto is possible without dairy! This Dairy-Free Farmer's Market Risotto uses the best local produce the season has to offer, as well as some cooking techniques to create a dish that's full of flavor and a variety of textures.
Creamy, decadent, Dairy-Free Farmer’s Market Risotto? True story!
I love going to the farmer’s market, whether I’m at home, or traveling. I’m fascinated by the variety of fresh, local produce available and how it varies by region. When I am traveling and encounter something I’m not familiar with, I love to learn all about it.
This recipe in particular allows you the flexibility to make it your own creative, signature dish, based on what’s available in your area. This recipe uses summer produce, but you can revise it based on the current season. Here are the crucial elements to make a creamy, dairy-free risotto full of all the best produce the season has to offer.
It all begins with hot broth or stock
The first step to a creamy risotto is for you to have plenty of hot broth or stock on hand. You can use water as well, but if you use a vegetable broth or stock, you will add loads of flavor to the rice.
Be sure to keep the broth warm, not boiling. By doing this, you can keep the cooking temperature of the rice consistent. If you add cold or room temperature broth to the arborio rice, you lower the temperature of the dish every time more is added. This does two things – it increases the cooking time, and also creates the potential for a “mushy” texture.
Next, the aromatics
The next step to Dairy-Free Farmer’s Market Risotto, or any dish for that matter, is for you to add some sort of aromatics. You can choose from a variety of vegetables and herbs, but here are a few, to give you some ideas:
- Bell Peppers
Choose a variety of vegetables
In order to achieve an interesting risotto with a variety of textures, choose vegetables with both creamy and crunchy textures. In this particular recipe, you’re using crunchy asparagus and corn for some “bite”. You’re also using peas, carrots and starchy corn, which will contribute to a creamy risotto that is dairy-free.
Don’t rush the cooking process
This is the last, most crucial element that makes a great Dairy-Free Farmer’s Market Risotto. Because there is no butter or cheese involved to contribute to the creamy texture, it is important that you slowly add the broth and let it absorb into the risotto without rushing it. When you take your time with this step, you allow the rice sufficient time to develop the starches that give this recipe it’s creaminess. While the carrots, peas and the starch from the fresh corn will also add to the luscious texture, it’s the rice that is the most important.
Now that you know all of the important components to this incredible recipe, here it is for you to try!
Dairy-Free Farmer's Market Risotto
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable broth
- 2 to 3 cups water
- 1/2 cup green peas
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 shallot chopped fine
- 1 carrot medium, peeled, diced small
- 1 leek light green and white part only, halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced horizontally into strips
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup asparagus chopped into 1 inch pieces, woody stems removed
- 1 cup corn kernels fresh
- 2 cups baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper fresh
- 1/2 cup basil leaves fresh, torn into small pieces
- Heat vegetable broth over medium heat and keep warm.
- In another pot, boil green peas in water until tender and cooked through, but not too soft. Drain peas and set aside.
- In a large, deep skillet or saute pan (I use Le Crueset enameled cast iron) over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Saute shallots, carrots and leeks until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
- Add arborio rice and stir until coated well with oil. Add 1 cup hot vegetable broth and stir constantly, until liquid is almost absorbed. Do not rush this. Reduce heat to medium.
- Continue to add broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is almost absorbed. Repeat until rice is still a little under-cooked. During this process, reduce heat so that the liquid isn't absorbed too quickly.
- Add asparagus, corn kernels and spinach, stirring to combine. Add another 1/2 cup broth and cover. Reduce heat to simmer and allow to sit for 5-8 minutes, until rice is al-dente (tender, with still a little "bite" to it).
- Add salt, pepper and torn basil. Stir vigorously once more and serve.
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