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Pretty In Pink: Vegan Red Beet Risotto

  • 1/4
    Vegan Red Beet Risotto
  • 2/4
    First cook the onion until soft and golden, then add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent around the edges.
  • 3/4
    Add beets and lemon zest after 10 minutes.
  • 4/4
    Cook until the rice is al dente and creamy.

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Sep 21, 2016

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Vegan Red Beet Risotto

I admit the vibrant magenta hue is a little unusual for savory food, and you wouldn’t be wrong to bookmark the recipe for a Halloween dinner party. But under the surface lies a super comforting, well-tuned dish made from a few basic ingredients. Their pretty color aside, the beets also contribute a laundry list of nutritional and health benefits, including being a blood-cleansing, energizing, mood-enhancing, natural aphrodisiac. 


  1. Serves 2–4
  2. 2 small red beets
  3. 5 cups vegetable stock
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. ¼ cup yellow onion, peeled, minced
  6. 1¼ cups Arborio rice
  7. ¼ cup dry white wine
  8. ½ teaspoon salt
  9. Zest of 1 lemon
  10. 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast seasoning
  11. Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


Cut the tops and root off the beets and scrub well under running water. Place them in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15–25 minutes, depending on size. Drain, and when cool enough to handle, peel and cut into a ¼-inch dice.


Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Lower the heat to low and let simmer.


Heat the oil in a wide, heavy sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and golden around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent around the edges, about 3 minutes.


Add the wine, salt, and ½ cup of the stock. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding stock in ½-cup batches and cook, stirring constantly, until each batch gets absorbed. After 10 minutes, add the beets and lemon zest. Continue adding the stock, stirring, and cook until the rice is al dente and creamy, about 15 minutes.


Remove from the heat, and stir in the nutritional yeast. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, and serve.


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