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Vegan Lemon Asparagus Risotto

When I first started getting into triathlon, I went and saw a Naturopath. He told me that I should avoid dairy like the plague and so ever since then, I’m one of those guys that asks for almond milk instead of two per cent. For years I gave up some of my favourite foods because they were traditionally loaded with dairy, risotto being one of them.

It wasn’t until recently when my girlfriend decided to cut out all animal products that we started to look into alternatives for both her and I. One night we decided to try our hand at a vegan risotto and since then, it has become a staple meal…assuming we have the time to make it (give yourself around an hour from start to finish.)

Below is our take on a lemon asparagus risotto. This recipe makes quite a lot (think lots of leftovers for a quick, easy meal post-training!) so make sure you use a deep enough skillet pan.



1 bunch of asparagus spears trimmed and chopped

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (*can use olive oil but we prefer grapeseed oil as it does better at high temperatures)

1 cup onion, diced

1 shallot, diced

2 cloves of  garlic, minced

2 cups arborio rice

1 cup white wine

1 whole lemon cut in half

1 tablespoon lemon zest

8 cups vegetable stock

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup nutritional yeast *optional

photo (8)

  1. Create your own vegetable stock using cubes – cheaper and takes up less space in your kitchen. Set it aside but keep warm.
  2. Boil pot of water and throw in your chopped asparagus. Quickly remove asparagus after 2 minutes and run under cold water. I just learned that this process is called Blanching. Who knew? Set aside asparagus to be used later.
  3. In a large skillet add grapeseed oil and sauté onion, shallot, and garlic on medium-high heat.
  4. Add 2 cups of arborio rice and stir constantly. Once the rice has become somewhat translucent add the wine, lemon zest, and squeeze in half of a lemon (watch out for seeds). Stir until wine has been absorbed. Lower to medium heat.
  5. Add 1 cup of vegetable stock to the rice and stir until stock has been absorbed then add a 2nd cup and stir. Continue this processes until you have used 7 cups of stock.
  6. Just before adding your last cup of vegetable stock, add in the asparagus, juice of the 2nd half of lemon, salt and pepper. Stir all ingredients and then add in the last cup of broth.
  7. Optional: add 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast to give the risotto a cheesier flavour.
  8. Eat, fuel, and enjoy!