Poor Man’s Risotto

I do not think risotto is actually expensive, but I know this recipe is cheap, easy, and pairs well with two buck chuck red wine.


  • Any rice.  I used brown rice
  • Seasonings.  I used Vegebase which is AMAZING!  I highly recommend the investment.  But any seasoning you have available that makes you think of Italy works.
  • Frozen vegetables.  I used HEB mixed vegetable blend but literally any frozen vegetable package will work.  Bonus points if it is a “steam in bag” frozen vegetable variety.
  • Vegan cheese.  This ingredient is optional but definitely helps with the gooey effect. I used two week expired mozzarella that was surprisingly not moldy.
  • Vegan ricotta.  I used Tofutti brand.  It has yet to expire and is a nice thing to keep in the fridge for creaminess in an instant.


  1.  Measure out rice and put in rice cooker or pot for cooking rice. For one portion use 1/4 cup.  If cooking for more than one person or if you want leftovers use any measurement that is greater than 1/4 cup.
  2. Wash rice.  Do not skip this step!  I add water to the rice, stir it, and pour out the water.  I repeat this step twice.
  3. Add seasonings to the rice.  I dumped an unknown amount of Vegebase into my rice.  You can add whatever seasonings taste good to you.  Eyeball it or add 1 tsp of each seasoning you want.  This step has a lot of room for creativity and experimentation.
  4. Add water and cook rice based on packaging instructions.  If the package does not have instructions than Google your rice grain and how to cook it.
  5. Microwave frozen vegetables.  For the “steam in bag” vegetables, follow instructions on the package.  For other frozen vegetables steam in the bag anyways.  They should be cooked after 6-8 minutes.
  6. Open frozen vegetable bag and pour in vegan cheese.  Stir the vegetables and cheese in the bag and let sit while the rice is cooking.  If not adding cheese then sit back and relax until your rice is finished cooking,
  7. Once rice is cooked dump vegetables into rice and stir.
  8. Portion out the amount of rice and vegetables you want into a bowl.
  9. Add a dollop of vegan ricotta cheese to your bowl and stir.  This step turns the simple rice and veggies into an imitation risotto.
  10. Add any seasonings that you may need if the final result is not as flavorful as you want.
  11. Enjoy and do not forget to tell me what risotto you created!
  12. poormanrisottocookerpoormanrisottoPicture one is the finished product in my pink rice cooker.  Picture two is with the dollop of ricotta and drizzle of hot sauce. Btayavon!

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Grew up in a Jewish household in Cleveland, Ohio. I was vegetarian for ten years, and then moved to Austin, Texas in 2014 for my PhD in analytical chemistry. After one year of vegan exposure I transitioned to a vegan lifestyle and have never felt better. I hope to teach how inexpensive and rewarding veganism is for all you kvetchers out there.

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