Want to impress your Valentine? Make this creamy vegan risotto with mushrooms and sausage.
Risotto isn’t difficult to make. But it does take a bit of babying. The effort is totally worth it – bite after luxurious bite.
Thank you to Herbivorous Butcher for sponsoring today’s post! The contents, photos, and opinions expressed are fully my own.
There’s a thick blanket of snow outside. And I am under a thick blanket of cotton inside…
This time of year, it’s hard to fight against the pull of cozy. A warm home, thick slippers, and a couple of purring cats are endlessly persuasive when the air is biting and gray.
So what’s a person to do on special occasions like Valentine’s Day? Bring the fun of going out to the comfort of your own kitchen!
Herbivorous Butcher: Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two
All year ’round, you can order from the Herbivorous Butcher on their website. They have a wide array of plant-based meats and cheeses (including the best vegan bacon out there!)
Their vegan meats and cheeses are also available in some stores, including grocery stores in the Iowa City area.
Plus, throughout the year they offer special packages online.
I was delighted when Herbivorous Butcher reached out about partnering for a few of their upcoming packages. I’m sharing what the packages include, as well as a recipe to go with each of them!
Today’s recipe is for creamy vegan risotto with mushrooms and sausage. You are going to love it! But more on that in a bit…
(Of course, even if you are unable to order the package or if you’ve missed the ordering deadlines, you can still make the recipes any time!)
Regular readers know that I’m a longtime fan of Herbivorous Butcher. No visit to the Twin Cities is complete without a stop at their brick and mortar location. Their plant-based meats & cheeses are artisanal quality.
So I’m beyond excited to share their Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two. It’s sure to make your loved one swoon! And yes, everything in these pictures is 100% vegan!
(Update: The Valentine’s Day package is no longer available. However, the grill pack is currently up for grabs. Check out the following link for information on the grill pack, along with recipes for barbecue side dishes.)
The Valentine’s Day pack includes:
- Two Filet Mignons (7 ounces each)
- Garlic Sausage (13 ounces)
- Havarti Reserva (5 ounces)
- Fondue Cheese (16 ounces)
- Two 1-minute mug cakes from Coconut Whisk
David and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a vegan cheeseboard – including Havarti Reserva and melty fondue cheese for dunking.
Can you believe the gorgeousness of that Havarti Reserva?
It’s made by reducing red wine, and then marbling it in the cheese sauce before it hardens. This buttery cheese has a mild flavor. And it spreads onto crackers like a dream.
Before I went vegan, I loved having birthdays and anniversaries at a fondue restaurant in Los Angeles. I’d get all of my friends to come out. And we’d make a meal of little bites dunked in melty cheese.
So it really took me back to get the fondue pot going for this velvety cheese dip.
To take this fondue experience to the next level, add a wide array of dippers. This seriously could be a meal all on its own!
Dippers for vegan fondue:
- Toasted bread chunks (I used garlic sourdough. Marbled rye would also be good!)
- Soft pretzels
- Herbivorous Butcher garlic sausage, browned in bite-sized pieces
- Tiny roasted potatoes
- Roasted Brussels sprouts
- Roasted cauliflower
- Cherry tomatoes
Regarding the soft pretzels, I recommend leaving them whole on the charcuterie board. Then you can just pull off a part before dunking. (Obviously read the ingredients first, but it’s usually not hard to find frozen soft pretzels that are vegan in the grocery store.)
For more ideas, just think of anything that would be improved with a ladling of salty, tangy cheese, and pop it onto the board.
Something I love about Herbivorous Butcher’s steaks & filets is that they can really take a good sear without drying out. In the summer, I cook them on the outdoor grill. In the winter, I take to the grill pan.
And my favorite part is getting a good, crusty exterior that you can crackle through. You don’t have to worry that it’s going to dry out the insides to get some color on the outside.
The filet is really thickly cut, which makes for an impressive looking entrée. You can serve it whole, or put it in slices on a plate.
I’m surprised again and again at the filling nature of their seitan. David and I usually split one filet between the two of us!
Vegan risotto with garlic sausage
To finish off this romantic meal, I made creamy vegan risotto with mushrooms and the Herbivorous Butcher garlic sausage.
Risotto has “special occasion” written all over it, because it does take a little more attention than your standard weeknight rice dish. However, it’s not complicated to make. It just means that you have to focus on the one thing you’re doing.
For this risotto, I used Arborio rice. It is a plump grain that holds its shape, and has a starchiness that lends itself to risotto.
But this vegan risotto is not just creamy from the rice alone. I also finish it with cashew cream. It’s almost like vegan risotto meets mushroom alfredo.
It makes for a really indulgent, full-bodied dish that feels downright decadent.
How to make creamy vegan risotto
Start by browning bite-sized pieces of seitan sausage in a large skillet. Then move them to a plate for later.
Then sauté mushrooms in the skillet until they release their juices and brown. Push them to one side of the skillet, and add onions and garlic. Sauté until fragrant.
Add the Arborio rice, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Get everything fully coated.
Then it’s time to start slowly adding in vegetable broth – one or two ladles at a time from a pot of warm vegetable broth on the stove.
With each ladling of broth, allow the rice to fully soak it up before adding another. Keep stirring. As it cooks, the risotto will start to thicken.
Keep adding ladle after ladle of broth until you run out. This will take about 25 minutes. By the time you finish, the rice should be al dente.
Add cashew cream to the pan (made with raw cashews and water). Also add the seitan sausage back into the pan. Combine everything and let it cook for about a minute more.
The risotto should be creamy and luxurious, but not overly wet.
Serve this creamy vegan risotto with seitan filet mignon, and a green vegetable like steamed broccoli or grilled asparagus.
Have leftovers? Repurpose your risotto into vegan arancini. Leftovers have never been better.
How to place an order for the Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two
Herbivorous Butcher is no longer offering the Valentine’s Day Dinner for Two. However, you can find their other packages, as well as their a la carte menu items, on their website.
They ship to all 50 states & Puerto Rico. They do not ship internationally.
Creamy vegan risotto with mushrooms & sausage
- 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons raw cashews*
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth**
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil or other neutral-flavored high heat oil, divided
- 1 cup 6 ounces chopped seitan sausage (I used Herbivorous Butcher garlic sausage), small to medium bite-sized pieces
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms sliced
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Pepper to taste
- Make the cashew cream. Put the raw cashews into a high speed blender with 1/2 cup of water. Blend until it is completely smooth, a thick cashew cream. Set aside.
- Bring a small pot of vegetable broth to a low heat on the stove. You'll come back to it in a bit.
- Bring a large non-stick skillet to a medium heat with one teaspoon of oil. Brown the seitan sausage pieces in the skillet to give them some color on both sides. This should just take a couple of minutes. Remove the sausage pieces from the skillet, and transfer them to a plate for later.
- Add a half teaspoon of oil to the skillet, as well as the sliced mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Allow the mushrooms to release their liquid and brown in the skillet. Once the mushrooms are brown on one side, flip them. (Moving the mushrooms too often will slow their browning.)
- Once the mushrooms have some nice color, push them to one side of the skillet. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the empty side of the skillet, along with chopped onions & garlic. Saute the onions and garlic for a couple minutes, until fragrant. Then stir them together with the mushrooms.
- Add Arborio rice, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and a grind of black pepper to the skillet. Use a spatula to fully incorporate all of the ingredients. Cook for a minute or so.
- Now it's time to start incorporating the warm broth. Add one or two ladles of warm broth to the skillet. Stir the Arborio rice mixture almost constantly. The ingredients in the skillet should be at a low simmer. You don't want everything to boil off quickly, but you also don't want the heat so low that it takes forever to cook.
- Once the rice has fully absorbed the first round of broth, add another ladleful and allow that to be absorbed, continuing to stir often. Keep going in this manner - ladle by ladle - until all of the broth is used. (Once the broth is gone out of the small pot, remember to turn off the heat.) As it cooks, the risotto will start to thicken. It should take about 25 minutes for all of the broth to be absorbed into the rice. Take a bite. The rice should be perfectly al dente. (It's unlikely, but if it still feels too hard, you can add a splash more of water to the rice until it reaches the right texture.)
- Now it's time to add the cashew cream. Pour the cashew cream into the skillet, and fully combine. Add the browned sausage to the skillet as well. Allow the risotto to cook for a minute or so longer, and for the sausage to warm up again. The risotto should be velvety and rich. Taste for salt & pepper, and add more if necessary. Serve right away.
Recipe video music: https://www.bensound.com/royalty-free-music
This is a sponsored post with a brand that I use in my own home. Posts like these help me keep fresh recipes coming your way!