Creamy Asparagus Flowered Risotto

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2 min read
Summary

Creamy, satisfying, and nourishing, this quick-to-come-together risotto will be a crowd-pleaser for friends and family because it wins in all categories from texture to flavor to presentation. The combination of cashews and nutritional yeast creates a creamy cheesiness, while the asparagus and spinach give this a lovely green hue as well as loads of nutrition. Garnish with asparagus tips and vibrant edible flowers just before serving!

Yields4 ServingsPrep Time15 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time45 mins

Creamy Asparagus Flowered Risotto

Ingredients

Cheesy Sauce
 ½ cup cashews (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes or room temperature water for 1–2 hours)
 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
 1 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
 ½ tsp garlic powder
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 ½ cup water (more as needed)
 1 lb asparagus (see directions)
 1 cup organic spinach (roughly chopped)
Rice
 1 tbsp avocado oil (optional)
 1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced (approximately ¼–⅓ cup)
 1 cup organic short-grain brown rice (dry, rinsed)
 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
 2 cups vegetable broth (unsalted, preferably homemade)
 2 cups water (see Chef’s Notes)
Garnishes
 crushed red pepper flakes ((optional) to taste)
 ¼ cup edible flowers (of choice, see Chef’s Notes)
 4 lemon wedges

Directions

1

Make the Cheesy Sauce: Add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt (if using), and water to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside, leaving the cheesy sauce in the blender (you’ll add to this in just a bit!).

2

Prepare the asparagus: Slice off the first 3 inches of the asparagus tips and set aside. For the remaining asparagus stems, cut them into 1-inch pieces and set them aside separately from the asparagus tips.

3

Bring a large stovetop pot filled with water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips first, cooking for one minute then removing with a slotted spoon, placing the asparagus tips on a plate. Set aside.

4

Add the remaining chopped asparagus stems to the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove the asparagus stems with a slotted spoon and place directly in the blender with the cashew cheese.

5

Add the spinach to the blender as well and blend until smooth. You’ll need a spatula to push down the spinach and asparagus in between blending to get it smooth. Set aside.

6

Make the Rice: Empty the asparagus water out of the stovetop pot, then heat it over medium-high heat. Add the tablespoon of avocado oil, if using, as well as the shallots and rice, cooking for 1–2 minutes until the shallots are fragrant and the rice starts to crackle. If you’re not using oil, simply dry sauté on medium-high heat without oil.

7

Add 1–2 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth as needed to deglaze the pot.
Add the white wine vinegar and cook for another minute until the vinegar has evaporated.

8

Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

9

Add another cup of broth and simmer for an additional 7 minutes.

10

Add the remaining cup of water and simmer for another 5–7 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the rice is al dente.

11

Transfer the asparagus puree from the blender into the pot with the rice and stir to combine. It may seem like too much liquid at first, but note that this risotto thickens as it sits.

12

Divide the risotto between bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips, crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and a few edible flower petals. Serve with lemon wedges.

Chef's Notes

Substitutions
If you cannot find nutritional yeast, use 1 Tbsp of organic mellow white miso or chickpea miso in its place.

Use organic wild rice in place of brown rice.

Instead of spinach, use parsley or basil for an herb-flavored risotto.

Use white or yellow onion in place of shallots.

Amount of Water to Add
The risotto rice should be al dente after adding the 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of water. However, if you’d like it more tender, then add another ¼–½ cup of water as needed until you reach the desired consistency.

Nut-free
Use raw sunflower seeds in place of cashews

Edible Flower Options
Flowers that would compliment the risotto include hibiscus, rose, nasturtium, cornflower, and carnations. We used a combination of them!

Prep Ahead
Prepare the asparagus tips and stems ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before making this recipe.

Make the cheesy sauce and asparagus/spinach cream ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before making this recipe. It’ll thicken, so you’ll want to reblend and may need to add another ¼–½ cup of water to the mixture.

Storage
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 30 days.

Ingredients

Cheesy Sauce
 ½ cup cashews (soaked in hot water for 30 minutes or room temperature water for 1–2 hours)
 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
 1 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
 ½ tsp garlic powder
 ¼ tsp salt (optional)
 ½ cup water (more as needed)
 1 lb asparagus (see directions)
 1 cup organic spinach (roughly chopped)
Rice
 1 tbsp avocado oil (optional)
 1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced (approximately ¼–⅓ cup)
 1 cup organic short-grain brown rice (dry, rinsed)
 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
 2 cups vegetable broth (unsalted, preferably homemade)
 2 cups water (see Chef’s Notes)
Garnishes
 crushed red pepper flakes ((optional) to taste)
 ¼ cup edible flowers (of choice, see Chef’s Notes)
 4 lemon wedges

Directions

1

Make the Cheesy Sauce: Add the cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt (if using), and water to a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside, leaving the cheesy sauce in the blender (you’ll add to this in just a bit!).

2

Prepare the asparagus: Slice off the first 3 inches of the asparagus tips and set aside. For the remaining asparagus stems, cut them into 1-inch pieces and set them aside separately from the asparagus tips.

3

Bring a large stovetop pot filled with water to a boil. Add the asparagus tips first, cooking for one minute then removing with a slotted spoon, placing the asparagus tips on a plate. Set aside.

4

Add the remaining chopped asparagus stems to the boiling water and cook for three minutes. Remove the asparagus stems with a slotted spoon and place directly in the blender with the cashew cheese.

5

Add the spinach to the blender as well and blend until smooth. You’ll need a spatula to push down the spinach and asparagus in between blending to get it smooth. Set aside.

6

Make the Rice: Empty the asparagus water out of the stovetop pot, then heat it over medium-high heat. Add the tablespoon of avocado oil, if using, as well as the shallots and rice, cooking for 1–2 minutes until the shallots are fragrant and the rice starts to crackle. If you’re not using oil, simply dry sauté on medium-high heat without oil.

7

Add 1–2 tablespoons of water or vegetable broth as needed to deglaze the pot.
Add the white wine vinegar and cook for another minute until the vinegar has evaporated.

8

Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

9

Add another cup of broth and simmer for an additional 7 minutes.

10

Add the remaining cup of water and simmer for another 5–7 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the rice is al dente.

11

Transfer the asparagus puree from the blender into the pot with the rice and stir to combine. It may seem like too much liquid at first, but note that this risotto thickens as it sits.

12

Divide the risotto between bowls and garnish with the asparagus tips, crushed red pepper flakes, if using, and a few edible flower petals. Serve with lemon wedges.

Creamy Asparagus Flowered Risotto