Plant-based meat alternatives are absolutely rocking the vegan scene right now, but sometimes, it’s best to go with the classics: whatever happened to good ol’ risotto, the creamy, hearty, rice-y dish that just happened to be vegetarian?

Chef Chanthy Yen of Nightshade, one of Vancouver’s newest plant-based restaurants (and winner of a 2021 Bib Gourmand award by the Michelin Guide), has offered up a mushroom and yuzu risotto recipe that you can dress up or down. Don’t have yuzu juice on hand? Lemon juice will do just fine. Really want to impress your dinner party guests with an elevated appetizer? Add truffle to the mix. Here’s how to make it.

This appetizer serves 4.

Mushroom and yuzu risotto from Nightshade restaurant's chef Chanthy Yen.
Mushroom and yuzu risotto from Nightshade restaurant’s chef Chanthy Yen.


1 cup Japanese short grain rice

1 shallot (small diced)

1 garlic clove (minced)

2 thyme sprigs (picked)

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons olive oil/seasoning oil

2 cups mixed mushrooms (picked or sliced)

3 ½ cups stock (of any kind)

¼ cup wine (cooking wine/rice wine)

2 tablespoons butter (olive 0il alternatively)

1 tablespoon yuzu juice (can substitute lemon)

1 Thai basil sprig (picked and torn)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Additional, optional ingredients:

Mixed herbs
Marinated or pickled mushroom
Shiso flakes


Make It

In a pan, begin to sweat the shallot, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf until the alliums are translucent. You can achieve this on medium heat. Once translucent, add the mushrooms and begin to cook until softened.

Next, add the Japanese short grain rice and stir until the rice is nicely coated. Then, pour in the wine, followed by half of the stock. Gently stir until it reaches a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes.

Once the rice is softened, begin to add the remaining stock and let cook for another 5 minutes.

Begin to adjust your seasoning and stock/wine if needed, and add butter, Thai basil, yuzu juice, and any other ingredients you wish. Keep stirring until you have achieved a glossy and creamy, risotto.

Garnish as you wish and enjoy!