Spinach risotto is a classic creamy Italian dish. But, in this vegan recipe we show you how to get the same effect but without lactose and keeping it heart healthy!

Spinach Risotto

A typical Italian risotto is full of butter, cream and cheese! Of course these taste great, but there is a way to get the same creamy texture and flavour without using cows milk and animal fats. Nor, do you have to use highly processed 'vegan cheese'. 

make it creamy

Here's how you swap

For butter (use to fry the risotto rice) use Serriana Olive Oil.
For the cream (added late) use cashew nuts soaked in water and then blended. See below:
For the cheesy topping (final step) use mushroom based nutritional yeast.

These three changes give you a dish just as creamy, if not more so. And, it's completely heart health too.

soaked cashew nuts - the unprocessed vegan cream alternative

How to cook spinach risotto


150g of Cashew nuts (soaked in water)
1.2 litres of vegetable stock (or you can use water and vegetable stock cubes)
500g of cleaned fresh spinach (if you buy fresh, you'll need to cut the dried ends off the stalks
200g Serriana Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A large handful of brown mushrooms (if possible, if not any will do)
2 large onions or 1 large leak
6 garlic bulbs
175ml of tart / young white wine
350g Risotto rice
2 Lemons (juice and a little skin)
Ground black pepper
Nutmeg (lots of it)
2 large dessert spoons of nutritional yeast
A bunch of fresh thyme or 2 dessert spoons of dried thyme soaked in a little olive oil.


Step 1. Soak 150g of cashew nuts. Place nuts in a bowl and add 300g of water.

Step 2. Heat your stock and blanch your spinach. Heat 2 litres of vegetable stock (or, water with two stock cubes added) and when nearly boiling add all the (washed and prepared) spinach leaves for 30 seconds just to quickly blanch it. I then add the cleaned spinach stalks and blanch those for a couple of minutes.

Step 3. Put the spinach in a food blender with 50g of Serriana Extra Virgin Olive Oil. And blend it. 

method continued...

Step 4. Place 150g of olive oil in a large heave pan and slowly fry the mushrooms - as they begin to crisp scoop them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and put them to one side.

Step 5. Add onions and leeks to the oil and fry very slowly (for about 30 mins). Use a lid on your skillet / large pan to ensure the moisture stays in. Effectively, you are caramelising the onions to bring out their sweetness.

Step 6. Add the risotto rice and fry lightly for a few minutes (keep stirring)

Step 7. Add all the white wine and fry until the wine has fully evaporated - this is the best bit as the cook and you may be tempted to inhale the wonderful cooking smells!

Step 8. Add stock simmering stock to the rice in four equal parts - wait until the stock is nearly absorbed each time before adding more stock (you'll need to keep stirring).

Step 9. Add the juice of two lemons and a little bit of the yellow lemon skin. Grate nutmeg and black pepper and then add the nutritional yeast.

Step 10. Add the blended spinach. Then blend the  cashew nuts in their water and add that too.

Step 11. Add the fried mushrooms and mix.

Step 12. Top with fresh thyme. Or, if using dried thyme, sock the thyme in a little bit of Serriana Olive Oil to rehydrate first.

Spinach Risotto vegan

How to serve and preserve

Serve your risotto straight away - it will get too starchy if you leave it for too long!

And yes, it is best eaten all in one sitting!

Spinach Risotto

Of course, Spinach Risotto goes really well with a bright, tart, fruity white wine. Here is Spain, we get these typically come from the Galicia region.

If you enjoyed this dish of Italian Spinach Risotto - why not check out more olive oil recipes here?

Did you know that some there are over 37 different varieties of spinach? You can check them out here... You can use any for this recipe, but I tend to prefer the thicker leaf variety.

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