vegan no-rice chard risotto.

Irrational kitchen fear confession: I have been terrified of risotto since I started cooking (which unofficially was as an adolescent, but especially since moving out and having free-run of a kitchen). For whatever reason, something about the creamy consistency and fear of undercooking [or overcooking] the rice has always held me back from preparing it. It always just felt so complicated and fancy-pants... not something I could do.

Sound familiar? I hear this almost every day in my practice and can absolutely sympathize. It can be entirely intimidating to take on something brand new - especially when the expectation is that you'll eat and enjoy it at the end - with no clue how it will turn out.

But like everything, conquering these kinds of fears by just jumping into them anyways can be really satisfying. And like anything, I've discovered, there is usually a better, or less-intimidating way, to make it happen. 

Enter this recipe from Green Kitchen Stories, a fabulous vegetarian blog, which landed in my inbox last week from the good people at Organic Authority. [If you're not subscribed to their weekly email, I would highly recommend! It's always packed with great organic-living ideas, recipes, and happy-planet news.] Risotto with no rice? Well that seems a little easier to wrap my brain around. I guess removing the most complicated element [which isn't that complicated] made the whole undertaking feel less intimidating; so much so, in fact, I decided I'd try to veganize the recipe last night using what we had on hand.

Chard Risotto w text

Typically, risotto is rice cooked in broth with added butter, wine, and onion. Non-vegetarian versions can contain meat- or fish-based broths; I always opt for a vegan bouillon or homemade stock. Green Kitchen's version uses white beans instead of rice, but because I had a batch of quinoa already prepared in the fridge, I swapped that in for the beans. (Efficiency and economizing, it seems, was another intimidation-crusher. Awesome.)

Also, GK's version contains mascarpone cheese, which I swapped out for almond milk + nutritional yeast + a pat of vegan butter (an on-the-fly substitute). It was definitely more liquid than mascarpone would have been, but worked nicely in a pinch.

The consistency of the dish was great -- Michael approved (yay), and was a little shocked by the magical pot of risotto on the stove. I think we may have a repeat dish in the future. I particularly love the combination of creamy quinoa with the slightly crunchy chard stems; plus, the burst of green and pink from our enormous chard leaves made it extra visually appealing. The lemon made a huge difference, too, so definitely don't skip the lemon juicing + zesting.

Decadent dinner success!

Turns out: risotto isn't that scary! I may even have enough of a handle on it now to try it next time with rice {gasp!}

Pair this with some grilled tempeh, or perhaps toss in a handful of white beans and you'll have a solidly balanced meal with perfectly portable leftovers. Your co-workers will be so envious.

Have you ever overcome kitchen intimidation and made something you didn't think you could?

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vegan no-rice chard risotto
Serves 3
A creamy vegan risotto made with almond milk and quinoa. The chard packs a delicious punch of salty crunch and provides tons of beneficial potassium and Vitamin K. Gluten-free.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
25 min
  1. 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  2. 2 tbsp olive oil
  3. 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  4. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 2 large leaves rainbow chard; large stems removed + chopped; leaves and small stems sliced into 1" ribbons
  6. 2 cups cooked white quinoa
  7. 3 tbsp almond milk
  8. 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  9. 1 tsp Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  10. 1/2 lemon, juice & zest
  11. 1 pinch dried thyme
  12. salt and pepper to taste
  1. 1. In a small sauce pan, bring broth to a boil; remove from heat and set aside.
  2. 2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion, garlic and chard stems. Sautee until softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. 3. Add one cup of broth, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  4. 4. Add chard leaves, quinoa, and remaining broth. While these cook (about 2 minutes), combine almond milk and nutritional yeast in a small bowl.
  5. 5. Add almond milk mixture, vegan butter, thyme, lemon juice, salt and pepper to the pot and stir to combine thoroughly.
  6. 6. Remove from heat, then top with some grated lemon zest before serving.
Adapted from Green Kitchen
Adapted from Green Kitchen
From The Ground Up Wellness
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Posted in dinner, gluten-free recipes, health coaching info, homepage featured, recipes, side dishes
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    1. […] spring, I conquered my fear of risotto [read about it here]. This is a continuation of my adventures in overcoming […]

    2. […] this year, I posted a risotto recipe right after I conquered my fear of making it. As it turns out, it’s become one of my favorite […]

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