Basic Dairy-Free Risotto


Chef Jason Wyrick shares his basic risotto recipe here, and within the February 2009 issue of the Vegan Culinary Experience you will also find recipes for Chanterelle Risotto and Wild Mushroom Risotto.

This recipe is only the base for other risotto recipes, so there is no presentation to speak of.

Time Management
Risottos require constant attention for them to work because the stirring is what creates the creaminess of the rice. Make sure to warm the stock as the warm stock will absorb faster than one at room temperature. Lastly, if you want to be able to walk away from the risotto, you can cook it in a pressure cooker. Saute the rice the same way as above and then add all the ingredients to your pressure cooker and cook it for 7-10 minutes.

Complementary Food and Drinks
The basic risotto recipe is incredibly versatile. It can take classic Italian ingredients like mushrooms and basil. It can take hot Southwestern peppers. It can be mixed with Thai curry paste for good effect and nuts go very well with almost all risotto recipes.

Where to Shop
Arborio rice can be purchased packaged in most grocery markets. However, the best place to get it is in a store that has it in bulk. You’ll get a better price on it and often a store with bulk bins will have an inexpensive organic version of it.

How It Works
Risotto is known for its creaminess and that creaminess is derived from the starch of the rice. Rice has two starches. Amylose and amylopectin. Rices with a high proportion of amylose turn fluffy, while rices with a high proportion of amylopectin, a long chain starchy molecule with lots of protrusions that bind to other amylopectin molecules, turn creamy. Short grain rices, like Aroborio rice, contain higher portions of amylopectin than they do amylose. Stirring the rice slowly knocks off the amylopectin molecules into the stock, where they bind together and create a creamy texture. This is why the stock must be added slowly. If it is added quickly, there is not enough time for the amylopectin to work itself out into the liquid and create that creamy texture. Also, if too much of a volume of liquid is added at once, the amylopectin molecules will disseminate in the liquid and not touch, meaning that they won’t have the opportunity to bind. Sauteeing the rice in oil also retards the absorption of the liquid, which allows the amylopectin more time to bind. This also gives the rice a deeper, nuttier flavor.

Interesting Facts
Arborio rice is not the only rice used to make Italian risotto. Carnaroli and Vialone Nano are also used.
Risotto is a Northern Italian dish and was the Northern counterpart to the South’s pasta dishes during the past few centuries.

Special Diet Notes: Basic Dairy-Free Risotto

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.

Basic Dairy-Free Risotto
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Risotto is a bit labor intensive, but it is well worth the effort and time put into it. Keep in mind that it is very filling, so you will not need a lot of it to feed yourself and your guests.
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 cup of Arborio rice
  • ½ teaspoon of olive oil
  • 3 to 4 cups of veggie stock
  • ⅛ teaspoon of salt
  • Option: ½ cup of white wine in place of ½ cup of veggie stock
  1. Warm the veggie stock in a pot.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a separate pot.
  3. Add in the uncooked rice and toast it until some of the grains turn golden.
  4. Add in ½ cup of veggie stock and stir.
  5. Keep stirring slowly.
  6. When the liquid is mostly absorbed, add in another ½ cup of veggie stock.
  7. Repeat this process of stirring, absorbing, and adding stock until the rice is soft and creamy.
  8. Add the salt at the end.
Recipe reprinted with permissions from the Vegan Culinary Experience.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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