Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe: A Warming Winter Dinner Idea

5 Servings
25 min

Need a warming winter dinner idea? This easy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners with family or a weekend dinner with friends. Plus easy and healthy alternatives to using bacon if you’ve made heart health a priority!

Healthy Alternatives to Bacon for Mushroom Bacon Risotto

Bacon is delicious. Like all things, however, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Especially where heart health is concerned. So if you’ve given up beef and pork, have gone totally vegetarian, or are simply taking a break from bacon because it’s impossible not to overindulge, here are a few healthy alternatives for the bacon in my mushroom bacon risotto recipe.

Tempeh Bacon for Vegetarian Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Tempeh bacon is a vegetarian alternative to bacon. It contains less fat and has zero cholesterol. While traditionally made from slightly fermented soybeans, tempeh bacon can be made using any type of bean including black-eyed peas, black beans and chickpeas. Not only is tempeh bacon a good source of fiber, it’s also high in both vitamin B6 and magnesium.

To prepare, simply slice then cook in oil over medium-high heat about four minutes each side.

Turkey Bacon for Healthier Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Turkey bacon is most definitely not bacon, but it’s not a bad substitute if you’re still eating meat. While still not totally healthy – I mean it IS still processed meat – it’s white meat rather than red meat. It also has HALF the amount of saturated fat as the real deal.A similar alternative to turkey bacon is duck bacon. Just be aware that duck bacon doesn’t get quite as crispy as the real deal.

Vegetable Bacon for Heart Healthy Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Eggplant, and other veggies properly seasoned, can take on that smokey flavor you get from bacon. Simply add some smoked paprika, dried Chipotle chili peppers or a savory sweet sauce to your vegetable of choice then grill, smoke or roast. Additions such as fresh, grated parmesan cheese as garnish once the dish is plated can make up for the loss of the “beefier” bacon texture.

To prepare a healthy alternative to bacon using eggplant, simply slice the eggplant then roast at 225°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crispy.

Tofu Bacon for Vegetarian Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Tofu bacon is another healthy alternative to bacon. It’s processed a bit more than tempeh bacon, however it’s high in protein. In addition, tofu bacon also contains all eight essential amino acids, and a notable amount of both calcium and iron.

To make it, you’ll need to start with really thin slices of tofu. (Otherwise you won’t get that bacon-like crunch.) Then marinate the tofu in a blend of 1 cup soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (you can freeze the rest in Tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray), 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s makes a vegan alternative), 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke and 2 cups water. Mix to combine than marinate thinly sliced tofu at least four hours to overnight.

Once you’re ready to cook your bacon tofu, simply strain the tofu slices from the marinade. Then fry the tofu in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. If desired, you can reserve the marinade for another veggie dish later.

This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme. You can make this winter dinner idea healthier by either omitting the bacon called for in the recipe or by substituting it with one of the healthy alternatives to bacon, mentioned above.

(Also be sure to try these Christmas food gift ideas this holiday season!)

Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe: A Warming Winter Dinner Idea
Recipe details
  • 5  Servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 20 Minutes Total time: 25 min
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Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe
  • 1 ⅔ cup arborio rice
  • 7 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil, divided
  • ½ to ¾ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1.5 cups freshly chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons quality salt
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • 5 pieces of crispy bacon (or bacon alternative)
  • 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat to cook the mushrooms (or heart healthy olive oil)
  • Fresh ground black peppercorns

Warm your broth of choice in a medium sized pot on the stove. Set aside.
Heat one Tablespoon of either avocado or olive oil over medium heat in a medium-large pot. Sauté the chopped onions in the oil until fragrant, then continue to cook until the onions have browned.
Add two additional Tablespoons of oil to the pot of sautéed onions. Then stir in the rice.
Stir the rice for about a minute in the oil. After a minute, ladle in one cup of warm broth.
Stir the rice often to ensure a creamy risotto.
Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add a second cup of broth. Continue stirring the onion and risotto mixture occasionally.
While the rice cooks, sauté the mushrooms in a nonstick pan with either bacon fat or olive oil and a couple sprigs of thyme. Then set aside.
Continue adding more broth to the rice as it cooks. Partway through stir in the salt and about eight leaves of fresh sage.
Once the rice grains are plump, creamy and completely cooked through it's ready. Stir in the bulk of the freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Spoon the mushroom bacon risotto onto plates or into bowls for serving. Top with the crispy bacon, sautéd mushrooms and remaining parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Rebecca D. Dillon
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