Saffron Risotto is a traditional Milanese dish. It’s called Risotto Milanese. It is a simple yet incredibly rich and creamy dish with a base of saffron. Here is my veganized version.
This Vegan saffron risotto is a veganized version of the famous Risotto alla Milanese uses Nutritional Yeast in place of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and Olive oil in place of Butter, and we are not adding the traditional beef marrow (osso bucco) into the hot stock.
From Milan to the World.
As famous as this Milanese risotto is in Italy, it has not made it to most of America’s countries. It is relatively simple to find Risotto in any Italian restaurant, but not this Milanese dish with Saffron.
To this day, I don’t know why this classic Italian Risotto Recipe has remained a novelty for many, including me. However, given that it is delicious, saffron is widely used in Paellas due to our history with Spain.
There are many different risotto recipes with various ingredients. Still, they are all based on rice of an appropriate variety, such as Carnaroli or Arborio, cooked in a standard procedure that I will explain in the preparation.
As said before, Risotto requires constant attention. Do not pre-rinse, boil or drain the rice, as doing so would remove much of the starch necessary for a creamy texture.
I will start by saying that I will not call this dish Risotto Milanese since Italians are particular about what can be called what. So, although I am only changing two ingredients to make it vegan, I will name it Recipe for Saffron Risotto or Zafferano Risotto in Italian.
If you love the hearty saffron flavor, don't forget to try our Saffron Garbanzo Cheesy Stew.
Check our Sun-dried Tomatoes Risotto recipe, lemony winter risotto, or our creamy mushroom risotto, and the springtime and Easter favorite, the Lemon Asparagus Risotto, for more easy-to-make versions of this Italian favorite!
Vegan Saffron Risotto ingredients.
- Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice
- Vegetable stock
- Extra-virgin olive oil or vegan unsalted butter
- Dry white wine
- Nutritional yeast (or vegan parmesan cheese)
See quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card.
To make risotto Milanese, follow these simple instructions.
- Finely chop the onion. Then add onion into the skillet with extra-virgin olive oil (or unsalted butter) on medium-low heat. Stirring occasionally.
- Add rice and cook on medium-high heat. When the rice starts to brown, add ? cup of dry white wine for risotto (sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio are excellent options), and let the rice absorb.
- Bring to medium heat and cook rice, gradually add warm stock in small amounts. Stir constantly.
- Add the saffron. When the rice is half-cooked, add the saffron powder or saffron threads and stir until the rice looks evenly yellow. Add remaining stock little by little, always stirring frequently.
- Mantecatura. Add the remaining olive oil and the nutritional yeast when the rice is cooked "al dente."
- Adjust and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Let it rest for two minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
Hint: if you are using saffron threads, first highly toast them on a pan and then let them rest in the water for a couple of minutes. Then, you can use it to hydrate the rice.
It’s been about fifteen years since I started making Risotto, back in those days when I lived in Argentina. As you may know, their Cuisine was widely influenced by Italian Cuisine, given the intertwined history between them. That same history is the one that has brought us to start this new adventure in Italy.
The first Risotto I made and then perfectioned over time was a Mushrooms and Caramelized Onion Risotto. Today I make it with my eyes wide shot.
Risotto is not hard to make; it requires some patience and strictly sticking to the steps. I used to find it hard because I tend to mix, add, touch, stir, and taste everything while cooking.
Here the key is to keep stirring your rice and adding stock little by little, nothing less, nothing more!
It’s the same reason I stayed away from baking for a long time.
The good thing about learning how to make a risotto is that you can make a risotto out of thin air once you have got your technique right, and I am not exaggerating. You can make a risotto out of vegetable broth and any fat such as butter or olive oil.
📚 More risotto recipes
Craving more risotto recipes? Some of our favorite risotto recipes are the classic saffron risotto from the Lombardy area where we live, easy garlic risotto, the roasted pumpkin risotto, butternut squash risotto, and the autumn-time favorite mushroom risotto.
If you try this Italian risotto recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag a photo #ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Saffron Risotto | Vegan Risotto alla Milanese
- 1 cup carnaroli rice or arborio, 7 oz or 200 grams
- 1 onion medium, chopped
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil good quality Extra Virgin, butter if want to make it traditional and vegetarian
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 6 tablespoons nutritional yeast Cheesy kind, Grated Parmesan Cheese to make it Traditional and Vegetarian
- ⅓ cup white wine dry, such as sauvignon blanc or pinot gris
- Finely chop the onion and stir fry with extra-virgin olive oil (or unsalted butter) on medium-low heat. Stirring constantly, don't let the onion burn.
- Add the rice and stir. When the rice starts to get brown, add ⅓ cup dry white wine, and let the rice absorb it.
- Bring to medium heat and cook rice, gradually add warm stock. Stirring frequently.
- When the rice is half-cooked, add the saffron and stir until the rice looks evenly yellow. Add remaining stock little by little, always stirring frequently.
- Add the remaining olive oil and the nutritional yeast when the rice is cooked "al dente."
- Adjust and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Let it rest two minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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