Orange Risotto with New England Cranberry Sauce

I am a huge fan of rice puddings! I love the creaminess and simplicity. It's not too sweet. It can be dressed up or down. It can be flavored any number of ways, and the plant-based version is just as delicious as the dairy version - and better for you. I wanted to play with these ingredients a bit more though - and I still had cranberry sauce to use up...

Why not a dessert risotto? Well-excucuted risotto is always such a romantic, endearing dish, and not at all as complicated as it sounds. The added benefit? Cold left-overs become a completely different and equally scrumptious treat!

Decision made. Let's get crackin'!

My New England Cranberry Sauce already has some orange juice and zest in it, but I want the rice to carry the subtle flavor of oranges too - plus, the color is gorgeous.

Total Time: ~35 minutes Prep Time: 2 minutes Cook Time: ~30 minutes (plus 15 minutes to make the cranberry sauce)

Here's what you will need for 8 servings: PRINT HERE

6 cups unsweetened nut milk (I use cashew)

1 can coconut milk, 13.5 fl oz

1/2 cup (or less) pure maple syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp non-dairy butter or coconut oil (I use non-GMO organic Earth Balance)

1 cup Arborio rice

1 large orange, zested and cut in half (save out a few larger strands of zest for garnish)

1 cup New England Cranberry Sauce, room temperature and stirred if thick


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the first four ingredients (milks, syrup and vanilla) over medium heat until the mixture just begins to simmer (small bubbles around the edges of the pot). Reduce heat to low and keep hot.

2. In a larger saucepan, heat non-dairy butter over medium heat until melted. Add the rice and cook until fragrant, about two minutes. Keep stirring while you do this.

3. Next, add the orange zest; stir to coat.

4. Now add the orange juice and stir until completely absorbed. (If your orange has seeds, juice it into a bowl and remove any seeds from the juice before adding to the pot.) I like to use a stiff rubber spatula or blunt wooden paddle for this job so I'm covering as much surface area of the bottom of the pan with each stroke as possible.

5. Once the orange juice has been absorbed (about 1-2 minutes), add about a cup of the milk mixture to the rice and continue stirring until fully absorbed. A ladle works well for this job. Keep stirring vigorously until almost all is absorbed (about 3-5 minutes).

6. Continue adding a cup of milk at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Wait until almost all is absorbed before adding the next cup. The rice mixture will increase in volume and become thicker and creamier with each addition.

7. Remove the pot from the heat and swirl in about half of the cranberry sauce. Spoon evenly into eight serving dishes. Top with remaining cranberry sauce and garnish with orange zest (optional). Serve warm or at room temperature. See step 8 for a second option.

8. Alternatively, spread the warm rice mixture (after swirling in the cranberry sauce) into a parchment lined metal or glass pan. Make sure your parchment is long enough to hang over the sides of the pan by several inches on two opposing sides so you can use them as handles to remove the mixture once firm. I split the batch and made four warm risottos and four cold risotto cakes, so the size pan you use will depend on how much of the mixture you will be chilling. For the chilled cakes, you will want the depth of the rice mixture to be between 3/4-1".

9. Do not cover the mixture. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours or up to over-night. The top should no longer be tacky. Remove from the pan, invert onto a cutting surface, peel off the parchment paper and invert back to original position so the less tacky side is still up.

10. You can now cut these into whatever shapes you choose. I used a thin shot glass dipped in hot water before cutting out each one. I considered coating these rounds in finely shredded unsweetened coconut or panko crumbs and frying them in the same fashion as croquettes, but I like the texture and flavor as they are. This would also add time, extra cost, clean-up and change the nutrient profile...which I like, right as it is. If you decide to take this extra step however, please share your results with me! I'd love to hear if you thought it was worth the indulgence.

The nutrition information is for 1/8 of the finished mixture (~ 2/3 cup or two 1" rounds).

If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear how you liked it! Snap a photo and tag me too, #chefcatherinebrown. I love seeing what you make!

DISCLOSURES: None. This post was not created in affiliation with any product or brand. The opinions expressed are my own. I will only write about products I use and trust.

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