Main Dishes/ Vegan

Vegan Summer Vegetable Risotto

vegan summer risotto in a dark yellow bowl with a stainless steel spoon

The secret ingredient in this risotto is patience. You can’t rush this dish. Lightly brown the rice first, then add the water in small increments, stirring until all the water is absorbed before adding any more. If you try rushing it, the risotto will end up tough or gummy.

The object is to create creamy risotto with a slight resistance. My friend Jacqueline Murphy (who is Italian, despite her name) taught me how to make this dish. Slow cooking infuses each fat grain of Arborio rice with flavor. You add fresh summer vegetables at the end, allowing them to cook for a few minutes until they’re soft, but retain that light summer flavor.

I make this vegan risotto with water. You can also make it with chicken broth. It tastes great either way. My vegetarian child eats it garnished with chives or sliced scallions. I crumble bacon on top for the carnivores in my family.

I use fresh scallions, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant from my local farmer’s market to make this risotto. If I don’t have fresh thyme, I use dried. Both are delicious. Add the thyme with the first half-cup of water so the rice has plenty of time to absorb the thyme flavor.

Don’t try skimping on water. Five cups of water is required to create the perfect creamy texture of this risotto. Most of the water evaporates as the rice cooks, but the slow cooking is what creates the ideal texture and infused flavor of this dish.

Springhouse Turtle Eats

Vegan Summer Vegetable Risotto

By Springhouse Turtle Serves: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This vegan risotto is full of flavor from fresh summer vegetables, including tomatoes, eggplant, scallions and zucchini.


  • 5 cups water or broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup white part scallions, chopped (about 5 plump scallions)
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 5 cups water (or broth)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves (or 2 tablespoons fresh)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup green parts of 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup diced eggplant
  • 1/2 cup diced zucchini



In a medium saucepan, heat the water or broth over low heat to a low simmer.


Stir 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water, and let it simmer on very low heat.


In a large saucepan with a lid, heat the oils over medium-high heat until they shimmer.


Add the white parts of the scallions, dust with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.


Stir in the rice, and sauté until lightly browned.


Add 3/4 teaspoon salt, thyme and 1/2 cup of water or broth.


Stir constantly until all the water is absorbed. Continue adding water in 1/2 cup increments, stirring until the water is absorbed before adding the next 1/2 cup of water.


Add the rest of the vegetables with the last 1/2 cup of water. Stir well, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes.


Ladle the risotto into bowls, and serve immediately garnished with sliced scallions.

Scallions add a fresh flavor to this risotto. Use the white and green parts separately.

Chop the white parts of the scallions. Slice the green parts, and set aside.

Saute the white parts of the scallions in the heated oils.

Use one cup of Arborio rice.

Stir the rice into the oil and onions.

Sauté the rice in the oil and onions until the rice is slightly browned. The onions will be a darker brown color.

Add the heated, salted water to the rice in half-cup increments.

Stir the rice continuously until all the water is absorbed. Repeat until you have only half a cup of water left.

You can use red or yellow or even green tomatoes. The color doesn’t matter as long as they’re fresh and ripe.

The green parts of the scallions are sliced and added with the other vegetables with the final half cup of water.

I use eggplant and green zucchini in this dish. You could substitute yellow squash or more tomatoes.

Add the vegetables with the final half cup of water.

Stir for a minute or two, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

The risotto is finished when all the water is absorbed. It should have a creamy texture. It will taste fabulous! Garnish with scallion slices, and serve.

Springhouse Turtle Eats


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