Creamy Risotto with Pan-Seared “Scallops” + Risotto Cakes

I won a box of mushrooms on Instagram! I have never won a contest for anything in my life so it was really fun to win a box of mushrooms from Hokto Kinoko. They sent me four different kinds of mushrooms – Eryngii (aka King Oyster mushooms), Maiktake (aka hen-of-the-woods), Bunashimeji and Bunapi. They are so much fun to cook with because they are so versatile and take on whatever flavors the dish calls for. This is the first thing I made – – I turned the stems of the King Oyster mushroom into “scallops” and served them over risotto!

The stems of King Oyster mushrooms are fat and wide and when they are pan-seared, they take on a kind of pleasant chewy texture. They look like sea/bay scallops but they don’t exactly taste like them. I am not into eating fish vegan food, just tasty vegan food, but I do like to try to replicate the essence (and the look) of a classic dish but with a modern, vegan spin. Feel me?

So for these scallops, I score the bigger ones (which would kind of be like sea scallops) and leave the little ones as is (which would kind of be like bay scallops) and pan sear them in [vegan] butter and olive oil. When the first side is nice and brown, I flip them over and sear the other side. Then I add a splash of fresh lemon juice, some salt and fresh parsley to make a quick pan sauce.

You can serve these scallops over rice or pasta or get “fancy” with this creamy risotto. But, if you have my cookbooks (Wait, That’s Vegan?! and The Vegan ABCs Cookbook) you know that risotto is the perfect secretly-not-fancy dish to serve when you want to impress someone. Date night? Dinner party? Or impress yourself and make it for lunch. Risotto sounds complicated but it is so easy you won’t believe it and it takes about 25 minutes to make. And, if you have leftover risotto, you can make risotto cakes for a bonus recipe the next day!

Creamy Risotto with Pan-Seared “Scallops” + Risotto Cakes

Servings 4


Pan-Seared "Scallops"

  • 4 King Oyster mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Creamy Risotto

  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, pressed
  • 1 Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk (or other creamy plant milk)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Risotto Cakes

  • Leftover risotto, cold
  • 1 chickpea flour "egg" (1 tablespoon chickpea flour + 3 tablespoons water, whisked)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower oil, for frying


Pan-Seared "Scallops"

  1. Cut the King Oyster mushrooms into 1/2" rounds and score the larger sized ones with a paring knife.

  2. Heat a skillet over medium low heat. Add the butter and olive oil and melt together. Add the scallops and sear them on the first side. When they are nice and brown, carefully flip them over. Baste with the butter in the pan.

  3. Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice and toss around. Season with salt and add fresh parsley and let it crisp up.

Creamy Risotto

  1. Boil water. Take off heat and set aside.

  2. Add olive oil to a big pan with sides. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until the shallots are translucent. Season with salt.

  3. Add the rice and cook until the rice is starting to become translucent.

  4. Add the wine and use a wooden spoon to agitate the rice and cook until the wine is absorbed.

  5. Add a ladle or two of water to the rice. Cook until the water is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add another ladle of water, stir occasionally and cook until absorbed. Keep going until the risotto is creamy and al dente. You may not use all of the water.

  6. Add the cashew milk and mix into the risotto. Season with fresh parsley.

Risotto Cakes

  1. Scoop the risotto and form a patty. Dredge in the chickpea flour egg and then coat with the breadcrumbs.

  2. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the risotto cakes and cook until browned on both sides.

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