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Cooking With Zara - Vegan Friendly Risotto!

June 16, 2017

Hello blog readers! It's time for another Cooking With Zara post, this one is post 5! In the past I've posted 4 other Cooking With Zara posts which you can find here;

So today I made a vegan risotto and the post below will be talking you through the step by step method of how I went from a few beans and some rice to this:
Okay, so first up here are the ingredients you will need;
  1. 1 Cup of risotto rice
  2. Half a can of kidney beans in water
  3. Half a can of butter beans in water
  4. Half a can of chickpeas in water
  5. A large bell pepper
  6. A fresh chilli
  7. Fresh parsley (A small handful)
  8. 2 cloves of garlic
  9. Olive oil
  10. Vegetable stock (1 cube)
  11. Cayenne pepper (A teaspoon)
  12. Spinach leaves (a handful will do)
  13. Half a white onion diced
  14. Chopping board and knife
  15. Pan
And here is the method you need to create the perfect risotto!

Step 1
Peel your garlic and onion and dice them into small pieces and place them on your chopping board. I usually crush my garlic with my knife to help peel off the skin more easily as it can be a bit fiddly and sometimes a little annoying. Also chop your pepper and your chilli into small diced pieces and put them with your garlic and onion, you can choose how much chilli to use but I use a whole one today seeing as I enjoy a really spicy kind of risotto.

Step 2
Your fresh parsley is what should be added to your pan with a bit of oil on a medium heat, you can let your oil heat up while you're chopping your ingredients above. The parsley will give the oil an overall flavour that will be transferred onto the vegetables, beans and rice. A handful of this should do and remember to give it a little rinse as not all stores will do this before they package it and it is a must if you have grown your own and have gotten it out of the garden. 

Step 3
Next, the beans and chickpeas. Now I enjoy these because they are what gives the risotto a creamy texture while they cook and they are very good for you! I accidentally photographed the kidney beans in chilli sauce instead of the ones in water that I have so ignore the chilli sauce part of the photo, those aren't the ones I usually use. I might give it a try one day though, it sounds...different!

Step 3
When it comes to draining your beans and chickpeas I recommend using a sieve or colander to really make sure there isn't any excess canned water in there, although beware the kidney beans will leak purple coloured, bean smelling water into your sink and I cant think of a single person who would be happy about that...
You wanna use about half of each can as it really bulks out the risotto and makes it more filling without being too high in calories, plus I really like beans and chickpeas so the more the merrier!

Step 4
If, like me you have a million and one containers in your home store your leftover beans in them and pop them in the fridge for the next use. But be careful because I've noticed they only keep for a few days once opened and they REALLY stink your fridge out when they go off, no really its horrifying I actually wanted to move house it smelt that bad in there once. Lesson learned, moving on!

Step 4
Okay so you've got your beans, your chickpeas, your garlic, your onion, your chilli and your pepper nicely cooking in a pan with olive oil and fresh parsley. So far so good! Now you wanna cook this mixture for about five minutes on its own on a medium heat to really get everything warmed up and meshing together, that parsley should be giving your mixture a gorgeous taste every minute that its cooking. If you don't like parsley then you can always toss in some rosemary, mint, chives or any herb you like.

Step 5
Now for the rice, this is the brand of rice I'm using at the moment and this is from Lidl. But risotto arborio rice is found almost any supermarket either in the international section or the rice and pasta section. You wanna take about a cup of this because it swells up in water a LOT and too much makes it so filling it'd take a few days to finish it, the first time I made risotto for myself I used two cups worth and it took all day to finish it because there was way too much mixture - so watch your measurements here!

Step 5
Go ahead and add that to your pan with your veggies and such, perhaps putting in a tad more olive oil to make everything stick to one another without sticking to the pan and burning. Stir this in and cook it on a medium heat for about five minutes, stirring is essential here because you don't want it to clump and stick to the bottom of the pan. This is also where you add your spinach, now spinach cooks very quickly so I would add a handful of spinach leaves right before you add the vegetable stock. Make sure to stir it regularly!

Step 6
Making the stock: Any vegetable stock will do but I use the Knor one from Lidl because its cheap, it gives food a great flavour and their cubes are pretty big so sometimes you only use half. Boil some water in a kettle and add your stock cube to the hot water in a heat proof jug and stir it until the cube disappears. If you don't stir this properly it'll clump at the bottom and wont go into your food so just use a spoon or a fork to check for any lumps or sticking to the jug, if its all good then you can add it to your mixture!

Final step
So there we have it, everything you will need in one pan simmering away. Once you've added the stock give it a good stir and pop the lid on the pan, at this point you can leave it for about ten minutes and go do something else (like washing up the dishes you've made!) but don't go too far in case it starts to bubble a bit too much. After ten or so minutes come back and give it another big stir making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan. Do this for another ten minutes and it should be done. Alter heat where needed.

Here you are, one bowl of vegan risotto cooked to perfection. You can add any salts, peppers or dressings to it as you see fit and as a personal recommendation a glass of rose wine goes fabulously with a bowl of this stuff! Happy cooking!


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  1. It looks delicious and the steps were super easy to understand. I can't wait until I can try out all these recipes!