Smoked Risotto with Mushrooms and Asparagus

Fall is coming, checks calendar...whoa, Fall is here! Having just moved from San Diego to Massachusetts, I'm experiencing a real Fall for the first time in 13 years. The days are getting noticeably shorter, the nights are getting colder, and my breath can be seen in the morning while walking the dog. It's a perfect time of year for soups, stews, and hearty dishes that warm your kitchen and your belly.

This recipe takes advantage of a simple stove top smoker, details on how I smoke will be coming soon. Smoking the risotto gives the dish an extra level of flavor, an almost sweet umami punch that makes you want to keep digging into the dish over and over again. For the risotto, 15 minutes of smoking time was enough to impart the flavor and 1.5 tablespoons of wood chips was the perfect amount. Once the smoking was done, the real cooking started.

Start heating up your broth over medium heat (I add the bits of the asparagus stems that I trimmed to the broth to help give more flavor). Finely chop the onion along with thinly slicing a quarter pound of white button mushrooms and sauteed together for 5-10 minutes in a tablespoon of Earth Balance butter over medium high heat until the mushrooms start to brown. Then add the garlic, pepper, and risotto to the pan and toss around to coat the rice in the oil.

As soon as the garlic get fragrant, toss in the wine (some for the pan, some for your belly), and lower the heat to medium, and the risotto was stirred until all the liquid had either absorbed or evaporated. Ladles of simmering vegetable broth were added one at a time, with regular stirring, until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding the next broth addition.

After about 10 minutes, start heating your vegan sausage of choice in a small pan over medium heat with a small splash of oil. Turning every few minutes until browned and heated through. When the risotto has been cooking for 15 minutes, add the slivers of asparagus stems and nutritional yeast along with the lemon juice. Stir to incorporate and add the last tablespoon Earth Balance. Taste and adjust seasons if needed.

When everything is finished (5-10 minutes longer), ladle the risotto onto a plate or shallow bowl, top with the asparagus tops, and add the sausage.


  • 1 cup risotto
  • Half an onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 pound of mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 pound of asparagus, tops removed for garnish, thinly slice stems
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (divided)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Your favorite vegan sausage