Can we talk about how intimidating risotto is? I had never attempted to make this fussy dish until I was forced to in my culinary program. I dreaded making that recipe, sure that I would overcook or burn the rice and fail. To my delight, it wasn’t as difficult or time-consuming as everyone said it would be. Actually, it was one of my absolute favorite things we made. And I didn’t ruin it!
Traditional risotto is a rich, creamy, northern Italian dish made with supple grains of rice, butter, and wine. In my plant-based cooking program we used cashew cream to get the right consistency and the result was positively decadent. The only downside to making risotto the authentic way is that you have to stand over the stove and stir constantly for about 20 minutes. I’m all about hands-off cooking, so I was excited to see if I could make a creamy risotto in my Instant Pot.
While any Italian chef would probably call this “risotto” recipe an abomination, we call it easy, quick, and delicious. Instead of rice, we used farro for the base, made creamy with the help of a trusty can of white beans. We used great northern beans, but cannellini beans would also work really well.
This farro risotto is warm and comforting, but because it’s dairy-free feels light at the same time. It’s swirled with a fresh basil and kale pesto that will complement all of your favorite summer veggies like grilled zucchini, corn on the cob, and heirloom tomatoes. Get creative with your mix-ins! Bonus: you only need a half-cup of white wine for the recipe, which leaves most of the bottle for enjoying with your dinner. See what we did there?Print
This farro risotto is warm and comforting, but because it’s dairy-free feels light at the same time. It’s swirled with a fresh basil and kale pesto that will complement all of your favorite summer veggies.
- 2 Tbsp. vegan butter
- 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ cups farro, uncooked
- ½ cup dry white wine (or vegetable broth)
- 2 cups water
- 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ tsp. salt
- ⅓ cup kale pesto (plus extra for serving)
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
For the Kale Pesto:
- 4 cups kale leaves, torn
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ½ small lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- Set your Instant Pot to Sauté mode and melt the vegan butter.
- Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Slowly add the farro to the Instant Pot, stirring to coat the grains in the vegan butter/onion/garlic mixture.
- Once the farro is fully incorporated, pour in the white wine. Continue stirring until all of the liquid cooks off. Then add the water, white beans, and salt.
- Cancel Sauté mode and press High Pressure. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Place the lid on your Instant Pot, twist to lock, and make sure the steam valve is closed. It will take 10 to 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to build up pressure before cooking begins.
- While the farro risotto cooks, make the kale pesto. Add the kale, basil, sunflower seeds, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt to a food processor. As the pesto blends, drizzle in the olive oil. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor as needed. Scoop the pesto into a bowl and set aside.
- Once the timer goes off on your Instant Pot, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Then flip the quick release valve. Once all of the steam has released, unlock and remove the lid. Give the farro risotto a good stir and use the back of a spoon to smash some of the beans against the side of the pot. Adjust salt to taste.
- Add some of the kale pesto (I used a third of a cup) to the farro risotto and stir. Taste and add more pesto if desired. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, if using. Serve with additional pesto.
Store unused pesto in an airtight container in the fridge to eat with pasta, veggies, or tofu scramble.