I personally like to have at least 2 “meat-free” days a week, if not more sometimes. I often eat vegetarian but seldom do I cook a 100% vegan meal.
On my last trip to Nice in France I bought “einkorn” wheat, more out of curiosity than anything else. It is considered to be the oldest grain known in the history of agriculture, this superfood offers a variety of essential nutrients and a toasty flavour. Einkorn wheat once grew wild around the world, but, like many other heirloom grains, it was weeded out as farmers cultivated modern crops and easier-to-harvest varietals. Still, this ancient grain is prized for its nutrients, lower levels of gluten, and non-GMO status. You can read more about einkorn here.
Honestly, I have to take my hat off to those who practice veganism. On the off-set I knew I couldn’t use parmesan, butter or just any wine. Fortunately I am a lover of natural wine and although not 100% bulletproof, almost all natural wines are vegan and I personally know the wine farmer in Catalonia who makes the natural wine I have in my collection, it is as natural as it can possibly be! If you want to learn a little more about natural wine, I recommend this fun but honest article.
Anyhoo, back to my vegan risotto. So, einkorn makes a hearty stand-in for Arborio rice in this unique version of risotto. What I like about this recipe is that even the corn cobs are used to make the stock. I have used fresh corn but I do realise that it is not always easy to find in Norway, it kills me to say this but the sous-vide corn packets can be used as a substitute. (Please do not use canned corn for this recipe!)
Butter is replaced with extra-virgin olive oil and then we have the vegan Parmesan cheese. I have found this amazing recipe by The Minimalist Baker and although it doesn’t taste 100% like Parmesan cheese it is a great substitute. Also, if you have never tried Nutritional Yeast on your popcorn, you are missing out! It is my favourite flavour to add and you can source the cheesy tasting yeast here. (I am not sponsored at all when I make reference to where you can purchase items, just sharing some of my favourite items to use)
Well, I wish you happy cooking and enjoyment!
- 2 x ears fresh corn, husks and silk removed
- 3-4 Tbsp x extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups x leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
- 1 cup x einkorn (substitute with arborio, orzo, pearled barley or pearled farro)
- ½ cup x dry white wine
- 1 cup x cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 Tbsp x basil, sliced thinly and extra for garnish
- 1 tsp x lemon zest
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- • For the vegan Parmesan cheese (You will need ½ cup)
- ¾ cup x raw cashew nuts
- 3 Tbsp x nutritional yeast
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp x garlic powder
- Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernels off the cob, cutting as close to the cob as possible. Set the kernels aside and reserve the cobs.
- To make the corn stock scrape down the sides of the cobs to release any additional corn and juices over a pot.
- Break the cobs in half and add to the saucepan with 8 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes before starting the risotto. (Keep the stock warm while you cook the risotto.)
- Heat the olive oil in a separate large heavy-based pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the leeks and sauté until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the einkorn and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Increase the heat to medium and gradually add the corn stock, about 1 cup at a time.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, and adding more stock as the einkorn absorbs it.
- When the risotto has been cooking for about 15 minutes, add corn kernels and season with salt and pepper.
- Continue cooking, adding stock as necessary and stirring often until the einkorn is tender, 10 to 15 more minutes.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and stir through.
- The risotto is done when the einkorn grains are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat, stir in ½ cup vegan Parmesan, basil and lemon zest.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
- To make the vegan Parmesan cheese, place all the ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until you have a fine meal.
- Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.