Slow Cooker Vegan Asparagus Risotto

Slow Cooker Vegan Asparagus Risotto

You would think growing up an hour away from wine country would turn me into a baby sommelier, but I must confess, I much prefer wine in my food rather than paired with it. While some people are heavy handed with the glass, I’m heavy handed in the pan, and for that reason, I love making a wine rich risotto.

What’s that you say? Making risotto is time consuming, boring and difficult? Not on Herban Yums. While I definitely love using a large variety of ingredients in many of my recipes and don’t mind waiting a bit for a great finished product, I lose my patience when it comes to risotto. The constant pouring and stirring is almost mind-numbing, not to mention, bending over a pan for an hour after a long day of work is not exactly the idea I had in mind when making comfort food. Cheesy, savory, rice should absolutely be comforting.

Asparagus Stalks

So what’s my secret to a cheesy, vegan risotto that won’t have you calling your chiropractor at the end of the night? The slow cooker.

Everyone’s favorite Super Bowl pal can be used for a lot more that just chili and one big game in February. Essentially, the slow cooker is a comfort making machine that is lazy-cook friendly. At first, I was skeptical of a warming pot, but I soon found that the versatility, saved time, and avoided backaches makes it worth it.

Now that I’ve confessed my love, let me tell you more about this dish. This slow cooker vegan asparagus risotto is both lemony and cheesy without the gross glug feeling you get after digesting loads of starches and dairy.  Risotto does a fine job of puffing up and becoming creamy without the accompaniment of actual cheese, but to make this the real deal, a sizeable portion of nutritional yeast is used to create the cheesy flavor and soft almond cheese to create a sense of creaminess.

February is the beginning of asparagus season, so to tie together Winter and a quickly approaching Spring, this risotto recipe incorporates lightly sautéed asparagus in lemon juice for a seasonal hit of vegetables.

Cut Asparagus

As mentioned above, I really do love an elaborate dish with a variety of ingredients, but in an effort to keep a few more coins in my pocket, I narrowed the number of ingredients down to 11 (so hard!), most of which you may already have in your kitchen.

Make this slow cooker vegan asparagus risotto with 11 ingredients with the recipe below.

Bowl of Risotto

Slow Cooker Vegan Asparagus Risotto

(makes 6 servings)

  • 2 cups of Arborio rice
  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups of dry white wine
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 tbsp soft almond cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Turn your slow cooker on high. Mince your garlic and chop your onion into small cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic and onions until flavorful and soft, about five minutes.
  2. Pour rice into the skillet with onions and garlic and cook for about two minutes until rice is coated and all ingredients are mixed. Pour two cups of dry white wine and mix. Allow the mixture to cook until all wine has been absorbed.
  3. Transfer rice, onion and garlic mixture to the slow cooker and season with a generous portion of fresh black pepper and one to two teaspoons of salt. Grate one lemon and place the zest into the mixture. Mix in three cups of vegetable broth and cover with the lid, allowing the mixture to cook for about an hour or until all liquid has been absorbed and the rice is soft.
  4. While risotto is cooking, slice the hard ends off the asparagus and chop the remaining bunch into 1-inch stalks.
  5. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in the same skillet used previously to cook the onions and garlic. Place the 1-inch asparagus stalks into the pan and sautee lightly for about three minutes. Squirt the juice from lemon over the asparagus and let cook for another minute. Lightly season with salt and black pepper. Place asparagus to the side until risotto is finished cooking.
  6. Half way through the risotto cooking process, uncover the slow cooker and mix in soft almond cheese and nutritional yeast until all ingredients are evenly distributed. If at this point the vegetable broth has been absorbed, but the rice is still hard, add another cup of vegetable broth.
  7. Once rice is soft, mix in asparagus stalks and serve risotto in a large bowl.

Enjoy!

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