Instant Pot Vegan Farro Risotto with Saucy Cherry Tomatoes

Risotto is one of my all-time favorite foods, but I’m always looking for ways to offer more nourishing alternatives to comfort-food favorites. This version uses whole-grain farro instead of white rice and gets its creaminess from a cheesy white bean puree.

Plus, this version relies on the The Instant Pot to take care of most of the cooking, which means you don’t have to stand over the stove constantly stirring for 30 minutes!

This risotto tastes creamy and rich (despite being 100% wholesome), and the saucy cherry tomato sauce cuts that richness perfectly by bringing a zingy, acidic flair.

Instant Pot Vegan Farro Risotto with Saucy Cherry Tomatoes

Ingredients

Farro

  • 1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup semi-pearled or pearled farro

  • ⅓ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

  • ½ cup coconut milk from a carton (“drinking milk)

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ cup fresh basil, finely slivered

White Bean Puree

  • 1 (15-ounce) can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 3/4 cups cooked cannellini beans)

  • ½ cup coconut milk from a carton (“drinking milk)

  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast

  • Juice and zest from 1 medium lemon

  • 2 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Saucy Cherry Tomatoes

  • ½ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • ½ cup canned tomato sauce

  • ¼ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio 

Directions

1. COOK THE FARRO: Select the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot, and, after a few minutes, add the olive oil. Once the olive oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to turn golden, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until very fragrant, about 1 minute.

2. Add the farro to the pot, stirring to coat all the grains. Cook for 1 minute.

3. Add the white wine to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom. Simmer until the wine has evaporated, about 3 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk, thyme and ¾ cup water; season with salt and pepper. Secure the lid and set the pressure release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook (manual) setting at High Pressure and set the cook time to 10 minutes.

5. Once the timer goes off, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes and then perform a quick pressure release.

6. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE WHITE BEAN PUREE: Add the cannellini beans, coconut milk, nutritional yeast, lemon zest and juice, miso paste and salt to the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender and process until you have a smooth and creamy puree with no pieces of beans remaining.

7. MAKE THE SAUCY CHERRY TOMATOES: Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the thyme and cherry tomatoes, and cook until the tomatoes burst, gently pressing down on them to help the process, 6 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; stir in the tomato sauce and white wine. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer. Cook until the wine has mostly reduced and the smell of alcohol has dissipated, about 4 minutes.

8. Once the pressure on the Instant Pot has been released, open the pot and remove the thyme sprigs. Select the Sauté setting. Stir in the white bean puree until it has melted into the farro, about 1 minute. Stir in the 1 tablespoon lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adding a pinch or two of salt as needed. Serve the farro immediately topped with the saucy cherry tomatoes and fresh basil.