Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Most people think the creamy texture in risotto comes from the addition of lots of butter and parmesan cheese. This can be true, especially when you order it in a restaurant where they may take shortcuts or have a heavy hand with the cheese. In reality, it’s the natural starch surrounding the arborio rice kernel and patience while cooking which creates this effect.

The slow stirring of the rice releases starch which binds with the cooking liquid (stock or water), resulting in a creamy texture without adding a lot of butter or cheese. Traditionally, risotto is finished with a small knob of butter and a few spoonfuls of parmesan, so if you want to add those in, by all means, do so. I left them out because I’m still doing the 21 day cleanse diet.  The earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the bright taste of the fresh asparagus (in season now) made for an entirely satisfying meal even without the traditional additions.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

A creamy, yet vegan, version of a classic risotto.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: mushrooms, risotto, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 Servings


  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 32 oz vegetable stock or water or chicken stock
  • 1 each onion small diced (about 8 oz)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 10 oz mixed mushrooms sliced (I used button mushrooms, shiitakes, and portobellos)
  • 1/2 lb asparagus spears cut into 2" pieces
  • 1 Tbsp plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter or real butter for finish


  • Heat the stock in a small stockpot to a simmer. You will want it hot when you add it to the rice, but it does not need to be kept boiling.
  • Saute the mushrooms in a hot pan with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. I did this in two batches so as not to crowd the pan and allow the mushrooms to get nicely browned. If you put too many mushrooms in the pan at one time, the pan will not stay hot, and the mushrooms will release all their water, effectively poaching instead of roasting to a nice brown color. Set aside for later.
  • Quickly blanch the asparagus pieces, about 2 minutes, until they are cooked, but still firm. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed saute pan or pot. Add in the onions and cook until they are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Don't let them get too brown.
  • Add in the rice and cook it with the onions until it becomes lightly toasted, but again, not brown then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Add the wine and stir until it is completely absorbed and evaporated (the rice absorbs the flavor and the alcohol cooks off).
  • Ladle in 1 cup of warm stock and stir. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the stock is absorbed. Continue adding the stock, slowly, 1/2 cup at a time, as the rice cooks and absorbs it. Keep stirring every few minutes to help release the starch and develop the creamy texture. This will also prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As it gets the stock gets absorbed, add more.
  • Once most of the stock is absorbed, check the texture of the rice. It should be al dente, slightly firm in the center, but not crunchy. If it's still too firm for your taste, add more stock or water.
  • Fold in the cooked mushrooms and asparagus. Stir in the vegan (or real butter). Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. If you'd like to include some freshly grated parmesan, add right before serving.
  • Enjoy!
Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto


  • Angrboda

    You are my goldmine of awesome stuff to cook for the vegetarian boyfriend! First the thing with squash and aubergine and three kinds of cheese which I forgot the name of, then the pie with cheese and beets and now this! Fantastic. I’m looking forward to trying this one out. 😀


  • Megan

    I love making risotto-the first time I made it I was so nervous, but it just turned out fabulous. Of all the variations I’ve tried, mushroom and freshly grated parmesan cheese is by far my favorite. Yours looks absolutely delicious!

  • Danielle

    Hey Kristina, thanks for your comment on my blog! I also made the black bean soup last week and loved it. Thanks for the healthy recipes!

  • Angrboda

    1 year ago today there was a bus stop and a coffee shop. 🙂 I made this for our 1 year anniversary dinner and I can tell you that it was a vast success. Even if the actual making of it took longer than I had expected. I think I turned the heat down too low when adding stock, so it took ages and years and eons for the rice to cook. Live and learn and such. First time ever that I’ve blanched something, for example. I was even told, “it looks just like the picture!” which is not always something that is easy to achieve. 🙂

  • marisa

    this turned out delicious! I added a smidge of cashew cream I already had in the fridge, for a bit of extra creaminess. Wonderful, natural flavors. The perfect vegan dinner (with a side salad)!

  • NoRecipeRequired

    Love asparagus in risotto, and make my version (link to the video is above). But have not added in the mushrooms before. I like it. They add more substance to the dish, and make a great transition out of winter….into spring. Great Recipe.

  • Troy

    Made this for dinner tonight and all I can say is WOW! I followed it exactly except for the garlic because my partner doesn’t really like garlic. But it was FANTASTIC! The best thing about it is that it’s the best way that I have found to cook basic risotto and then you could really add whatever ingredients you want. I’ve tried various ways of cooking risotto and I must say that from now on this is the only way I will do it!!! Thank you sooooo much!

  • Maureen Cram

    I made this for supper tonight and it is the BEST risotto recipe I have ever made. I learnt two things today – frying the mushrooms in a single layer made a LOT of difference. The second thing I learned was to stir and stir the rice. In the past I have been disappointed with my risottos as I put in the stock and stirred it a bit and left it. Tonight I stirred the heck out of it and it tasted wonderful! Thank you sooooooooooooooooo much for this recipe 🙂

  • Margaret

    Thanks for the guidelines! The risotto turned out perfectly. I was glad to discover that the creaminess comes from the rice, not from the cheese and butter. I added no butter and only a little cheese to each serving. So much healthier, and just as delicious!

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