Saffron risotto with roasted vegetables

I love this vegan take on risotto. It is creamier than any other risotto I’ve had, thanks to the addition of cashew cream and nutritional yeast. It can go with any roasted vegetables, just use what is in season.  The combination in this recipe of cherry tomatoes, asparagus, zucchini and aubergine is highly recommended though as goes so well with the thyme and the saffron.

Saffron risotto with roasted vegetables
 
Ingredients
  • THE ROASTED VEGETABLES
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 eggplant/aubergine, sliced
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 to 15 medium sized asparagus, chopped into 2 cm long pieces
  • A little olive oil (to drizzle over)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • THE RISOTTO
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil (or enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan/pot you are using)
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • 1.5 liter water
  • 2 tbsp. powdered vegetable stock (or follow package instructions to prepare 1.5 litres of vegetables stock liquid...and then add just a little bit more. We want lots of flavour.)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 500 grams /approx. 2.5 cups risotto rice (arborio)
  • 0.5 grams saffron
  • 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for ten minutes
  • ¾ cup soy milk
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
  • Salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare by turning the oven to 180 degrees, soaking the cashew nuts in hot water, and slicing/chopping all vegetables (including the garlic and onion).
  2. Place the zucchini, eggplant, tomato and asparagus pieces in a large oven tray. Drizzle over the olive oil and sprinkle over the salt and the thyme. Place in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Immediately start with the risotto. Heat up a pan and add the olive oil, the onion, the garlic and the thyme. Let it fry for two to three minutes on low heat until fragrant.
  4. In the meantime, mix the water and the powdered vegetable stock in a pot and bring to boil. Then add the wine and turn the stove to lowest heat so it's no longer boiling, but stays hot.
  5. Add the rice and the saffron to the garlic/onion/thyme mix in the pan. Then quickly add your first cup of the wine/vegetable stock liquid and stir until more liquid is needed. Then add another cup, stir some more. Continue this process, stirring often and adding cup by cup of liquid, so it doesn't burn.
  6. In-between stirrings, remove the soaking water from the cashew nuts, add the soy milk and blend until smooth with a hand mixer. Then stir down the nutritional yeast into the cashew cream. When adding the last bit of hot vegetable stock to the risotto, also add the cashew/nutritional yeast cream and stir it down (let this take a minute, so it fully blends in). Add salt and little bit of fresh black pepper to taste.
  7. Remove the vegetables from the oven and place them on top of the risotto and serve immediately.

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