Okay, people. If you are looking to make a meal that is seriously going to impress a dinner crowd, then this is the one for you.
My mom used to make this saffron risotto allll the time. It was the food that I always asked her to make me every year for my birthday.
Yeah, I was that 8 year old girl who, instead of asking for pizza or spaghetti, asked for saffron risotto for her birthday.
But for good reason! This meal is absolutely delicious. It is warm, savory, creamy, and so hearty. It’s basically a hug for your soul.
I even had risotto in Italy and I can say with full confidence that this recipe is still better.
When I first became vegan in the middle of college, my first thought was that I’m gonna have to give up my favorite meal!!!
But fear not, anything you can do, we can do vegan.
My mom is actually the one that veganized this recipe and made it taste just as good, so I definitely have to give her the credit on this one.
But it is so good that I knew I had to share it with all of you.
The best part about this dish is the process of making it. It definitely needs to be babysat and stirred often, but I like to think that the best hosts are the ones that are able to talk to their dinner guests while happily whipping up whatever’s in the kitchen!
As a kid, I remember my mom slowly but surely stirring up this risotto on the pan while my sister and I sat at the barstools waiting for it to be done.
We watched as the saffron worked its magic and the warm, buttery yellows started to get brighter and brighter with each stir.
The only “downside” to this meal is that you can’t really leave it alone. It must be stirred every few minutes. But that’s okay, because this meal is best made with love anyway. And a glass of wine for you to drink while it’s cooking, of course.
This recipe is the “doubled” version, but I think it’s a normal amount considering how much I eat of it… and if you’re cooking for a group of people. But if you just want to make some for 2-4 people, then you can half the recipe. But I highly advise against that… since you will want to eat this for the rest of the week, of course.
So, let’s get to the recipe!
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 stick vegan butter OR 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 2 cups white wine (Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio work best)
- 64 oz. vegetable broth
- 2 big pinches of saffron
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large deep skillet, heat the vegan butter or olive oil over low-medium heat, then add the onion and saute until translucent
- In another large pot, heat the vegetable broth and saffron over low-medium heat
- Add the Arborio rice to the onion and stir for 2 minutes, until the rice is slightly browned
- Stir in the nutritional yeast
- Once this is mixed together, add the wine
- Add one ladle of broth to the rice and start stirring
- Continue to ladle and stir (about once every minute or so) until the rice is creamy and most of the liquid is absorbed (this takes about 30 minutes)
- At this point you can add in the salt and pepper to taste
- Turn off heat and let sit for 5 minutes
*This recipe is the doubled version, so it's great if you're cooking for some dinner guests or want leftovers. But if you just want to make a small amount for 2-4 people, then please half this recipe. However, we usually still use 1 whole onion when halving the recipe!
*The wine choice for this recipe is somewhat important as the rice will yield a slightly different flavor depending on the type of wine you use. We prefer using Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. But it definitely doesn't have to be a super expensive bottle.
*If using a low-sodium broth, you may need to add some extra salt towards the end of the cooking time.