Lemony Mushroom Risotto Balls

Our first savoury ball for our 5 Days of Holiday Balls checks all the boxes. Creamy, lemony, mildly crunchy and flavourful. This ball will capture the tastebuds of vegans and omnivores alike. Make it gluten-free by simply using gluten-free breadcrumbs. Serve with a side of marinara et voilà! A tasty holiday appetizer everyone can enjoy.

Serves: 25-30 balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Chill time: 15 minutes


5 c vegetable broth
2/3 c white wine
2 garlic cloves minced
1 c onion diced (about 1 large yellow onion)
2 c portobello mushrooms thinly sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 c white mushrooms thinly sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 c fresh baby spinach finely chopped
1 1/2 c Arborio rice
Sea salt to taste
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c fresh basil finely chopped
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Bread crumbs (gluten-free if desired)*

*I typically make the risotto for dinner the night before then use the leftovers for the risotto balls. You will need about 1/4 c of breadcrumbs for every cup of risotto you have left.


  1. Prepare your vegetables: Mince garlic, chop onions, mushrooms, spinach and basil, zest the lemon.
  2. Heat broth in a pot and leave over low heat.
  3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium-low heat. Cook mushrooms until they have softened. Add spinach at the very end of your cooking time and set aside.
  4. In a separate large pot or Dutch-oven, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté onions over medium-low heat.
  5. Once onions have softened and look translucent, add the minced garlic.
  6. Add the Arborio rice and stir continuously coating it with oil. Once the rice begins to look translucent (you may hear some popping sounds and that’s normal), add the wine. You can increase the heat to medium at this point.
  7. Once wine has been completely absorbed by the rice, add a ladle (about 1/2-3/4 cup) of broth. Stir continuously until the broth has been absorbed.
  8. Continue adding one ladle at a time to the risotto making sure the broth is absorbed before adding the next ladle. This process should take about 20 minutes until the rice is tender but still slightly firm.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, remove from heat and stir in sea salt, nutritional yeast, mushrooms/spinach mixture with liquid, lemon and basil.
  10. Let risotto cool completely before the next step. You can do this by simply spreading it in a thin layer over a baking tray and placing it in the fridge.
  11. Mix in 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs for every cup of risotto to help the risotto bind together (or more as needed). Roll out balls about 2 inches in diameter.
  12. Cover a plate with a thin layer of cornmeal. Then coat the balls in cornmeal and set aside.
  13. In a skillet over medium heat, place a generous tablespoon of olive oil. Fry the risotto balls turning frequently so that each side becomes crispy. If your skillet gets too hot, reduce heat to medium-low.
  14. Once risotto balls are fried, serve hot with marinara sauce.

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