Mushroom and fennel risotto recipe

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  • Prep time

    undefined 45'

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  • 2

  • Prep time

    undefined 15'

  • Prep time

    undefined 45'

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Broaden your culinary repertoire with this scrumptious and wholesome vegan mushroom risotto recipe. With fennel for a deep flavor and reishi mushroom powder to give your immune system a boost, it’s sure to become one of your favorite dishes.

Creating restaurant-worthy risotto

Risotto is a classic Italian dish that’s beloved around the world. Its wonderfully warm, creamy texture and intense flavours make it an ideal comfort food. Yet despite this, people are often discouraged from making risotto themselves because they think it’s tricky to get it right. Don’t worry though – although cooking it can be time-consuming, it’s easier than you expect to create restaurant-worthy risotto at home. And we’re here to show you how!

One key factor to remember when making this vegan mushroom risotto recipe is that you need to stir it frequently. At the same time, try not to mix it too much or it could become gluey. Once every 30 seconds or so is ideal.

Unlike when cooking other types of rice, with risotto you have to add the liquid slowly. The purpose of this is to allow the rice to release its starches and properly absorb the stock. This results in a gorgeously rich and velvety sauce with rice that’s not mushy or clumped together. Stirring frequently also ensures that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.

Another top tip is to heat up your stock before adding it to the rice. This helps the dish to stay warm as you’re making it, meaning that the rice can cook evenly. Heat also works to coax the starches out of the rice, giving you that perfect risotto texture every time.

Choosing the right rice for your vegan mushroom risotto recipe

When it comes to risotto, not all types of rice are created equal! In order to achieve the classic texture of the dish, you need to use short-grained rice. Long-grained varieties tend to stay separated, rather than sticking together as you cook your vegan mushroom risotto recipe. Short-grained rice will also give you that deliciously chewy mouthfeel as you tuck in.

The most common variety of rice to use in risotto is Arborio rice. That’s what we recommend in this vegan mushroom risotto recipe. The reason for this is that Arborio rice is high in the starch amylopectin. As you cook it, the grains release this starch. That gives the rice a firm, chewy, and creamy texture that’s perfect for risotto.

Unlike with other kinds of rice, you shouldn’t rinse Arborio rice before using it in your vegan mushroom risotto recipe. That’s because doing so washes off some of the starch, making the rice less sticky and your risotto less creamy.

Of course, Arborio rice isn’t the only style you can use to create a great risotto. Other fantastic starchy options that will give you the desired texture include Carnaroli rice and Vialone Nano. However, these might be more difficult to find in your local supermarket.

Wholesome and creamy: our vegan mushroom risotto recipe

Now that you know the basics of how to make a perfect risotto, let’s get into the specifics of this vegan mushroom risotto recipe.

Begin by heating the sunflower oil, then add the onion and garlic. Sauté the mix on a low to medium heat for about three minutes, to infuse the oil with flavour. After that, pop in the fennel and sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté for another 10 minutes until well cooked. We’ve suggested using brown mushrooms in the recipe, but feel free to swap these for another variety if you prefer. You could even use a medley of different fungi to make this a mixed mushroom risotto vegan recipe.

Now comes the important part: cooking the rice. Add your chosen rice to the pan, followed by about a quarter of the vegetable stock. Keep the heat low and continue stirring until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Then repeat this step a few more times until you’ve used all the stock. You’ll know the rice is ready when it’s sticky and creamy, with a firm, chewy texture.

People sometimes think you need to add dairy to get a truly creamy risotto, however that’s simply not true. The velvety texture comes from the starch in the rice, so it’s easy to keep this mushroom risotto vegan.

When you serve your risotto, it should hold together in the bowl without being too liquidy or too stiff. For the final touches to this vegan mushroom risotto recipe, garnish it with black pepper and fresh fennel fronds. Lastly, sprinkle about half a teaspoon of organic reishi powder on top. This is the real star of the dish, as we’ll discuss below. But first, let’s examine the benefits of the other ingredients.

The health benefits of mushrooms

Naturally, the mushrooms are a central part of this vegan mushroom risotto recipe! But they do more than simply add flavour and bite to the dish. They also bring a wealth of health benefits.

Firstly, mushrooms are a fantastic source of numerous key vitamins and minerals. These include copper, which is important for building red blood cells, and potassium, which is vital for the heart, muscles, and nerves. They’re also rich in several B vitamins. Perhaps most notably, mushrooms are one of the few non-animal sources of vitamin D. That’s why when making a risotto vegan mushroom is such a good choice.

In addition, research indicates that consuming mushrooms can support the health of your heart. For example, the potassium and plant compounds they contain may work to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.(1)

Likewise, eating mushrooms could help to keep your gut microbiome healthy. This is because they contain compounds known as polysaccharides, which act as prebiotics.(2) That means they encourage the growth of good bacteria within your digestive system. This is crucial as the health of your gut can have an impact on everything from your mood to the strength of your immune system.

Mushrooms are also high in antioxidants. These help to prevent damage to your cells from free radicals, which is known as oxidative stress. Experts have linked oxidative stress to numerous harmful medical conditions, including heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.(3)

Lastly, studies have found a higher intake of mushrooms correlates with a lower risk of both cancer and incident dementia.(4) So tucking into this vegan mushroom risotto recipe could be advantageous for your health in all sorts of ways!

Fabulously flavourful fennel

The other chief ingredient in our vegan mushroom risotto recipe is fennel. In addition to bringing a vibrant splash of green to your bowl, this aromatic vegetable offers several fantastic health benefits.

For instance, fennel is bursting with a wealth of wellness-boosting vitamins and minerals. These include beta-carotene (which the body converts to vitamin A) and vitamin C, both of which keep your skin healthy. Moreover, the vegetable is high in calcium and magnesium – two minerals crucial for bone health.

Similarly, fennel is rich in plant compounds that act as antioxidants and protect us against a number of chronic conditions. For example, one of its major constituents is anethole, which studies have found to have potent anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.(5) Interestingly, anethole may also act as an appetite suppressant, potentially assisting with weight loss.(6)

A further benefit of fennel is that it’s high in fibre. This can boost your wellbeing in several ways. Firstly, it supports cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. The fact that fennel is rich in potassium bolsters this effect. In addition, because the vegetable also has a low glycaemic index, it could help with blood sugar management.

Now you can see why fennel is such a powerful addition to our vegan mushroom risotto recipe!

Introducing reishi: a legendary medicinal mushroom

While plenty of mushrooms offer the benefits discussed above, there are a select few medicinal mushrooms which are especially potent. One of the most notable of these is reishi, which is why we’ve included it in this vegan mushroom risotto recipe.

Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have been using this phenomenal fungus for centuries as a way to enhance wellness. And today, modern scientific research is finding evidence to support its impressive reputation.

For example, among reishi’s most promising benefits is the boost it can give to your immune system. Studies indicate that the fungus could increase the activity of certain kinds of immune cells, helping us to fight infections.(7) In particular, it may help improve immune function in people with cancer, although further research is required to clarify this.(8)

Another key way that reishi could elevate your wellbeing is through its status as an adaptogen. These are natural substances that enable our bodies to deal with stress more effectively. Research suggests that the fungus may assist in reducing fatigue, as well as feelings of anxiety and depression.(9)

All of which means that adding a dusting of reishi powder to this vegan mushroom risotto recipe has the potential to really boost the dish’s nutrition levels.

All about our organic reishi mushroom powder

Reishi powder is a versatile and convenient way to enjoy the benefits of this marvellous mushroom. To make it, we first cultivate the fungus in small batches under carefully controlled conditions on organic lignocellulosic substrates.

We have our reishi tested by an independent, accredited quality checker, to ensure it’s exceptionally high in beta-glucans. These are a type of polysaccharide that experts believe are responsible for many of the mushroom’s health benefits.

Our team then dries the mushrooms and grinds them into a fine powder. We ship this out to you in environmentally friendly amber glass jars. We recommend taking organic reishi mushroom powder up to twice a day. Because the fungus activates your immune cells, it’s important to have a break after 6-8 weeks. This gives your body time to rest and rebalance. Generally speaking, you can do 3-4 of these cycles a year if you’re in good health.

There are plenty of other ways to use reishi powder besides in this vegan mushroom risotto recipe. The traditional method is to make a wellness-boosting mushroom tea by simply stirring it into hot water. However, this is something of an acquired taste! As such, we suggest mixing half a teaspoon into a cup of coffee or green tea instead. The natural bitterness of these drinks goes well with the earthy astringency of the mushroom.

Alternatively, treat yourself to an indulgent yet health-enhancing mushroom hot chocolate. Cocoa complements the flavour of the reishi beautifully, making this beverage a truly comforting afternoon pleasure.

In terms of using reishi in food, you’re by no means restricted to this vegan mushroom risotto recipe! The powder also works brilliantly in soups and stews, as mixing it with hot liquid is an effective way to extract the nutrients.

Serving suggestions for this vegan mushroom risotto recipe

One of the things we love most about this vegan mushroom risotto recipe is you can enjoy it all year round. Its warm creaminess makes it comforting on autumn nights, yet it’s light enough to have on sunny spring days too.

There are also tons of options open to you for customising the dish. For instance, try adding some pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, or crushed walnuts to bring a little crunch to the meal. Another great choice is to sprinkle on nutritional yeast flakes or plant-based parmesan for some cheesy goodness.

When it comes to seasonings, feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices for a bit of variety in this vegan mushroom risotto recipe. Thyme, dill, and chives all work well and add a vivid pop of green to the dish. And for an extra hit of umami, try stirring in a teaspoon of miso paste when sautéing the mushrooms.

So, don’t let the perceived complexity of cooking risotto put you off! Turn some music on, pour yourself a glass of Italian wine, and enjoy the process. Trust us, it’s easier than you think, and the end result is well worth the effort.

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ¼ cup fennel bulb
  • 2 cups sliced brown mushrooms
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • 400ml salted veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Fennel fronds, to decorate
  • ½ -1 tsp Erbology Organic Reishi Powder

  • Size: 255 g
  • Serv. size: 13 g

  1. Heat the sunflower oil. Add the onion and garlic and sautee on low to medium for about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the fennel and mushrooms and sautee on medium heat until well cooked, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the rice and a quarter of the veggie stock and cook on low until all the liquid is absorbed.
  4. Repeat this step with the remaining stock. The rice is ready when is creamy and well cooked.
  5. Adjust with salt if needed.
  6. Plate and garnish with black pepper, fresh fennel fronds and dust with reishi powder. Enjoy!

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