Peel the onions. Slice one of them finely and set aside. Slice the other two onions in half and then into thin crescents. Set aside but keep separate from the finely chopped onion.
In a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the vegan butter and 1 tbsp light olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the onion crescents and reduce heat to medium low. Fry the onions for around 10-15 minutes, adding a pinch of salt half way through and stirring occasionally. You need to let the onions brown but don’t let them burn or dry out. If you notice the onions drying out, add a few tbsp water to the pan and lower the heat slightly. Cook the onions until they’re golden brown and sweet smelling.
Once the onions are caramelised, transfer them from the pan to a small plate and set aside.
Place the sautée pan back over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and bring to temperature. Add the finely chopped onion and fry lightly for a minute or until soft - don’t let the onions brown. Add the garlic and fry for a further few minutes, adding a splash of water if necessary.
While the onion and garlic fry, place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low.
Add the risotto rice to the frying onions and garlic. Gently cook the rice with the onions for a minute or so, stirring often. Using a large ladle, add just enough of the vegetable stock to cover the rice. Stirring often, allow the rice to cook until the stock is almost completely absorbed.
Repeat the process, adding just enough of the hot stock to cover the rice before allowing it to cook off and absorb gradually.
While the risotto cooks, place the soy milk, tapioca starch, nutritional yeast and lemon juice into a clean jar and shake well. Set aside.
Once all the stock is added, test the rice. It should be al dente, but shouldn’t leave a floury or grainy mouthfeel. Season the risotto with the sea salt and pepper as needed, followed by the chilli flakes. Add the caramelised onions and stir well to combine.
Reduce the heat to low before adding the tapioca starch mixture. Stir well until the risotto is smooth and creamy. Remove from the heat and serve with a sprinkle of chives and your favourite vegan parmesan.