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Vegan Caramelized Onion and Bacon Risotto

This sweet and smoky caramelized onion risotto is a warming, comforting winter meal.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: caramelized onion, Italian, onion, pasta, risotto, vegan
Servings: 4 servings


  • Sauté pan
  • Deep heavy-bottomed pan (or Dutch oven)


  • ½ cup vegan bacon

For the Caramelized Onion

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced

For the Risotto

  • ¼ teaspoon white cane sugar optional
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • kosher salt to taste
  • ½ cup white wine dry
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock hot
  • 2 ½ cups water hot
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning dried


  • Prepare vegan bacon: If you are using packaged bacon, cook until crispy, following package instructions. If making homemade bacon, prepare in advance and set ½ cup aside.
  • Caramelize Onions: In a sauté pan, warm 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil develops a sheen, turn the heat to low and transfer the sliced onions to the pan.
  • Cook onions over low heat, stirring occasionally (but not too often, or else the onions will not brown!). To ensure even caramelization, cook the onions for a longer period time over low heat. If you would like to aid the caramelization process, you may stir in ¼ teaspoon of sugar at this time.
  • Once the onion is caramelized, after approximately 30 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Prepare Rice: While the onions are caramelizing, heat a heavy-bottomed pot (such as a Dutch oven) on a separate burner over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil.
  • Once the oil becomes warm, turn up the heat to medium-high and add all of the rice and stir occasionally to toast.
  • When the rice becomes slightly toasted, add minced garlic and salt and stir for an additional minute, until garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Deglaze the pan with white wine. Stir until all of the white wine completely evaporates.
  • Once the wine has evaporated, add the first ½ cup to 1 cup of cooking liquid. Stir semi-often. This will help pull starches from the rice and thicken the mixture.
  • Continue to add liquid, ½ cup to 1 cup at a time, waiting until each previous addition is fully absorbed before adding more liquid. Stir frequently. During the cooking process, adjust the heat as needed to ensure that the risotto is always simmering.
  • At the 15-20 minute mark, start checking the risotto for doneness. It will be complete when the rice reaches al dente.
  • When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and mix in nutritional yeast and Italian seasoning.
  • Gently stir in caramelized onions and prepared vegan bacon.
  • Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and top with extra bacon, if desired.


Adapted from Food and Wine