Vegan Beetroot, Lemon & Thyme Risotto
If you're looking for some valentine's day dinner inspiration, then here it is! This rich and creamy beetroot risotto is the perfect valentine's day dinner for a lovely night in with your loved one. This vivid and comforting risotto is vegan, gluten-free and quick and easy to prepare, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more quality time with your loved one.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS VIBRANT RISOTTO
Who wants to spend hours in the kitchen slaving away over a hot stove? I sure know I don’t! This beetroot risotto is full of flavour, creamy and comforting, but the best part is that it can be made in just 30 minutes! Also, did you know that beetroots are packed full essential nutrients; they’re a great source of fibre, folate (vitamin B9), manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. Beetroots have been associated with numerous health benefits, including improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased exercise performance, so even more reason to try this beetroot risotto!
TIPS FOR MAKING RISOTTO:
Stir, stir, stir! – The key to a perfect risotto is to stir continuously so you know how much liquid you need to add. Everyone has their own idea of what they consider to be the perfect risotto; some people like their rice to be al dente (firm with a bit of bite to it), and some people prefer their rice to be creamy. I personally prefer my risotto to be really creamy, so I created this recipe accordingly, but if you want a slightly firmer risotto, simply add about 150ml-200ml less vegetable stock. Continuously stirring the risotto will allow you to keep track of the texture, so you can adjust it to suit your personal preference.
Don’t be stingy with the garlic – I know some of you might be thinking three cloves of garlic might be a bit much for valentine’s day, but rest assured it’ll lose its sharp aroma once it’s cooked down in the butter. Garlic is essential in giving the risotto an intensely savoury flavour, so do not omit this ingredient!
Serve right away – This risotto still tastes delicious the next day, however it has a tendency to clump together, so if you want to serve it at its best and when it’s most aesthetically pleasing, then serve as soon as its cooked.
Adjust the seasoning as you go along – Taste a bit of the risotto after it’s absorbed about half of the stock to make any adjustments to the amount of salt and pepper – I’d recommend you start with less and then add more if you need to.
AIN'T NOBODY GOT THYME FOR THAT!
Don’t have any thyme at hand? No problem! I’ve tried using dried marjoram and dried oregano and they work just as well! Alternatively, you can use 1 tsp of Italian seasoning as a substitute. Also, if you prefer your risotto without chunks of beetroot, you could roast the beetroots whole and then puree them and then add the beetroot puree to the risotto.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RISOTTO:
STEP 1: Preparing the beetroots
This is probably the messiest part of preparing this risotto. As you may know, beetroots ooze a beautiful ruby red juice once they’re cut, so I have to warn you that they main strain your hands for a little while. If you have a vegetable chopper at home you can use the dicing tool to cut the beetroots, or you can put some latex gloves on. I like to embrace the whole process and get stuck in with my hands as the beetroot stain usually disappears after a few washes. Whichever cutting method you choose, start by peeling and dicing the beetroots into small 1cm cubes and then place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle some oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper on top of the beetroots and combine with your hands. Place them in the oven to bake for 200°C (392℉) for about 20 minutes.
STEP 2: Preparing the risotto
In the meantime, prepare the risotto. Peel and finely chop one medium onion and add it to a large non-stick pan with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Sweat the onions for about 5 minutes until they start to become translucent. Crush or finely chop 3 cloves of garlic and add them to the pan with one tbsp of vegan butter and cook for two more minutes. Add the Arborio rice to the pan and toast for about 7-10 minutes on a medium heat. Add the lemon zest, thyme, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper.
STEP 3: Adding the liquids
Once the beetroots have roasted, remove them from the oven and add them to the risotto. Pour in the red wine and let it gently simmer until the rice has absorbed the wine. Make sure to stir continually. Now gradually pour in the vegetable stock and stir the risotto until the rice has absorbed all of the stock
STEP 4: Garnish and serve
Risotto is most delicious and aesthetically pleasing when it’s freshly cooked, so serve it right away. Garnish with some peppery rocket and crunchy radishes for a pop of colour and texture. This beetroot risotto is also delicious served with some vegan crème fraiche.