Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto


I finally did it! I made risotto. And I must say, it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be!

Over the summer, Nate and I visited this incredible vegan fine dining restaurant on our trip to Asheville, NC called Plant. If you’ve ever have the chance to go to Asheville, DO IT! Not only does it sit smack dab in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but it is also a vegan and vegetarian haven (as well as a brewery haven if you’re into beer, like us). It’s such a beautiful, green city full of active things to do and amazing eats. Check out my previous post about all of our vegan culinary adventures there!

Anyways, back to Plant. I ordered (and devoured) the most incredible vegan risotto of my life while I was there. It was rich, it was creamy, and it definitely did not taste vegan at all. In that moment, I knew I needed to attempt to recreate that magical dish. But everything I had heard about risotto sounded complicated, time consuming, and frankly, not vegan. So I put it off… until now.

Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto // pumpkin & peanut butter

Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto // pumpkin & peanut butter

When I finally started doing some research on vegan risotto, there were a lot of different ideas out there. Of course I wanted to take the simplest route I could, but I still wanted those rich, creamy results. Finally, I stumbled upon this recipe and it looked simple enough, so I used it as my inspiration.

Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto // pumpkin & peanut butter


As I began the long process of adding broth and stirring for 2-3 minutes (then repeating), I was unsure if I was doing it right or what my rice should be looking like. I played around with my heat at lot, but settled on a steady medium heat (on my burner, that’s a 4-5 out of 9). This allowed the rice to soak up ½ cup of broth in about 3 minutes before I added the next scoop. About 30 minutes in, my rice was still hard and it looked like there was no end in sight! I tell you, I almost gave up right then and there!

But around the 45 minutes mark, I started to see a lot more creaminess and thickness (both in my rice and the consistency of the whole dish) and I felt a whole lot better. By the 60 minute mark, my rice tasted perfect, the consistency was creamy, and the asparagus was tender, with a bit of a crunch. I added in a tablespoon of butter and that took the dish right to where it needed to be. Creamy perfection!

So if risotto is an intimidating dish to you… I completely understand! But it’s definitely doable and the result is so worth it. Believe me, it’s unlike any rice dish I have ever made before. And let’s face it, if I can do it, so can you! 


Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto // pumpkin & peanut butter

Asparagus and Lemon Brown Rice Risotto {vegan, gluten-free}

Serves 3-4
Cook time 1 hour
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan
Meal type Main Dish


  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4-5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 asparagus spears, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter, vegan or regular


Step 1
In a small saucepan, heat broth over medium-low heat.
Step 2
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan. Add diced shallot and cook on medium heat until translucent. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Now add in the brown rice, stir for a minute to toast. Pour in white wine, lemon juice, and lemon zest and stir.
Step 3
Once the rice has absorbed up all the liquid, begin by ladeling in 1 cup of broth. Continue to stir the rice and let it absorb most of the liquid. Once it is mostly absorbed, add another ½ cup of broth and continue to repeat.
Step 4
About 30 minutes through cooking, add in the chopped asparagus. The rice will still be pretty hard at this point, but that’s ok! Continue to add broth, stir, and repeat until rice is al dente (just cooked). The rice should be creamy, but not chewy or mushy. Add in a pinch of salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir until the butter has melted into the risotto. Your hard work is done, so dig in!



Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


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