Lemony Risotto with Fresh Herbs & Garlic

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A wooden serving spoon in a large skillet of lemon risotto

It’s probably obvious by now — we LOVE risotto. It’s comforting, incredibly versatile, and surprisingly easy to make! This Lemony Risotto is all of those things, plus bright, fresh, garlicky, herby, and perfect for spring!

It’s vegan and gluten-free but does not skimp on creaminess! We love it for a weeknight meal when we’re feeling fancy but needing something easy. Just 10 ingredients required for this flavorful, satisfying dish. Let us show you how it’s done!

An ingredient shot of arborio rice, coconut milk, shallot, lemon, garlic, thyme, dill, parsley, white wine, and turmeric

History of Risotto

Risotto is a rice-based dish that’s believed to have originated in Milan, Italy. The first version was called Risotto alla Milanese, and it was traditionally made with butter, onion, white wine, stock, salt, saffron, and Parmesan. Since then, many flavor variations have been created. One of those is lemon risotto and the following is our plant-based take!

How to Make Vegan Lemon Risotto

The ultimate dairy-free risotto starts with a flavorful broth! First we combine water and coconut milk for a creamy broth base, then add fresh herbs to infuse the broth with herby goodness! Turmeric is optional for a “lemony” color.

Creamy broth for risotto made of water, coconut milk, turmeric and fresh herbs

For even more flavor, we sauté shallots and garlic in some vegan butter. Then we add a bit of lemon zest, sautéing to help it “bloom” and bring out the natural oils for BIG lemon flavor! A splash of white wine helps get all the caramelization (flavor!) off the pan and adds depth and sweetness to the dish.

Sautéing garlic, shallots, and lemon zest in vegan butter

Then bit by bit, our lovely lemon and herb risotto comes to life! We add broth, mix, and wait, then we add broth, mix, and wait… We love how therapeutic stirring a risotto can be. Once the rice is creamy and tender, we add our fresh herbs, and we’re done!

Hands stirring fresh parsley and basil into a creamy lemon risotto

We hope you LOVE this lemon risotto. It’s:

Bright
Flavorful
Salty/sweet
Comforting
Fresh
& SO versatile!

It’s perfect for making ahead (the yummiest leftovers) but is also a gorgeous dish to serve fresh! We love pairing risotto with asparagus, vegan meatballs, or baked salmon or cod.

More Vegan Risotto Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Lemon and herb risotto served with roasted asparagus

Lemony Risotto with Fresh Herbs & Garlic

Creamy lemon risotto with fresh herbs and garlic! All the flavor of classic risotto, made vegan & gluten-free. Just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Overhead shot of a bowl of lemon risotto topped with fresh herbs
4.85 from 13 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3 Days

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ cups water
  • 1 (14-oz.) can light coconut milk
  • 1 pinch ground turmeric (optional, for color)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (we used Miyoko’s // or sub olive oil)
  • 1 medium shallot, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (~1/2 medium lemon // plus more for serving)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup tender herbs of choice (such as parsley, basil, dill, and/or chives // plus more for serving)

Instructions

  • BROTH: In a medium saucepan, combine water, coconut milk and turmeric (if using). Stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low to keep the mixture warm. Add thyme sprigs to infuse the broth with herby goodness!
  • RISOTTO: Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Add vegan butter (or olive oil) and shallot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until somewhat translucent — about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and lemon zest and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and add the arborio rice and salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring to coat. Add dry white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Using a ladle or measuring cup, add warmed broth 1/2 cup (120 ml) at a time, stirring almost constantly, giving the risotto little breaks to come back to a simmer. The heat should be medium, and there should always be a slight simmer. You want the mixture to be cooking but not boiling, or it will get gummy and cook too fast.
  • Continue to add broth, stirring to incorporate, until the rice is al dente — cooked through but still has a slight bite. This whole process should only take 15-20 minutes (time based on original recipe // adjust if altering number of servings).
  • Once the rice is cooked, stir in the lemon juice and fresh herbs. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more salt for balance, lemon juice for brightness, or herbs for freshness and flavor.
  • To serve, divide risotto between serving bowls and garnish with extra herbs and lemon zest (optional). Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat, adding vegetable broth or water as needed to rehydrate. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with the lesser amount of salt and with fresh basil.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 300 Carbohydrates: 42.5 g Protein: 4.5 g Fat: 11.7 g Saturated Fat: 9.4 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 327 mg Potassium: 65 mg Fiber: 2.4 g Sugar: 2.3 g Vitamin A: 290 IU Vitamin C: 6.2 mg Calcium: 21 mg Iron: 0.5 mg

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  1. Courtney says

    My first time making risotto of any kind and it turned out delicious! I did not end up using all of the broth and was thankful the direction for it being ‘done’ was to check for a slight bite. I topped my finished risotto with roasted asparagus (oil, salt, and pepper). Definitely making this again!

  2. Sara-Ann Cook says

    So good! Risotto has always seemed unattainable to me, but this ended up perfect even with my subs. I only had full fat coconut milk so i did a little less than a can and subbed with a little more water. Not sure if that’s right but it worked just fine. I didn’t end up using all of the broth but I just added until it was the right texture and it came out perfect! I also added some vegan parm at the end with the lemon and a drizzle of high quality olive oil on top. It was one of my favorite dishes i’ve made in a long time!!

  3. Lauralee says

    We had this for dinner tonight. It took me longer to prep and cook it, but that could just be risotto inexperience. Everyone agreed this will be a repeat dish.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad everyone enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing your experience, Lauralee! xo

    • Minal says

      I would like to make this recipe oil free
      Do you think if I omit the butter or oil, would it still be ok ?

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        That should work! You can either sauté the shallot in water or a little of the coconut milk. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sharon, It should, but we haven’t tried it and definitely recommend arborio for best texture. Brown rice will likely be gummy and take far longer to cook. But if you try let us know how it goes!

  4. Lizzie says

    Thank you for this! I just made it and it was lovely, I loved that you add coconut milk! I added peas and next time will try mushrooms or asparagus!

  5. Britney says

    I made this with your cod and spring vegetables recipe……wow! My first time making risotto and it won’t be my last. My mom licked her plate! Thank you!!

  6. Brianna says

    I made this with mint and thyme and it was so incredibly flavorful! Be careful as a little lemon goes a long way but the fat and acid balanced out well.

  7. Alex says

    Oh my goodness, this was to die for! The lemon was heavenly and added so much more flavor than I imagined. For herbs I used a combination of flat parsley, thyme, basil and rosemary and garnished with parsley. I didn’t have any bottled white wine so used cooking white wine and reduced sea salt to a pinch. I will frequently be returning to this recipe, especially when I have herbs to use up. Another fantastic recipe from Minimalist Baker!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Whoop! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Alex. Thank you for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications! xo

  8. Sabrina says

    I made this, it was creamy and delicious. I don’t drink wine so I used vegetable broth instead but either then that I followed the recipe exactly. Super simple and quick!

  9. Samantha says

    Loved this recipe! I omitted the turmeric simply because I didn’t have any. I doubled the recipe as a side for Easter brunch, and I did not take into account that doubling the recipe would also double the time that it takes to make. So, a word of caution for anyone planning on doing that! I found that it was worth the wait :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Haha, love it! Thanks for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Samantha! Glad you enjoyed!

  10. EileenB says

    Wow, so good and was very easy and quick. I made this for Easter dinner with some roasted asparagus and got rave reviews. I was a bit skeptical about the coconut milk, but you really can’t taste the coconut in the finished recipe, just the creamy goodness. Adding to the permanent file! Thanks so much.

  11. Julie says

    Made this and served with new Cod recipe on the site – easy, creamy and delicious! Great instructions. Made as written – perfect. Will make again!!

  12. michelle says

    I made this for Easter dinner exactly as the recipe suggests, I only had chives for the herbs, but everyone loved it, I will absolutely make it again!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Woohoo! Thanks for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Michelle. So glad everyone enjoyed!

  13. Alison says

    SO good! Followed directions (including all ‘optional) and it was so delicious. Added a bit more garlic and threw in parsley and mint at the end because that’s what I had. The mint/parsley mixed with lemon was 11/10!!

  14. Bec says

    THIS! Needs more than 5 stars, it is incredible! Made it for dinner last night and the only regret I have is not making more. Thank you for another No Fail recipe. We can always count on your recipes to be excellent.

  15. Meredith S says

    Would you be able to recommend which herbs you like? I see what the options listed, but have no idea which would be best with asparagus and the lemon. I’d love to know what your go to is. Thank you! Looking forward to trying this.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Meredith! We used a little of each of the herbs listed for the most flavor. We think parsley and basil are most important, though!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Christine, we’d suggest using vegetable broth in place of the wine. Hope that helps!

  16. Leslie L says

    Hi there! This recipe sounds great but I’m allergic to coconuts. What should we look for in alternative milks to use and can you name a few that you think would work well? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Leslie, homemade cashew cream would be the next best option. Otherwise, a neutral-flavored milk like plain rice or almond milk, but it won’t be as thick and the flavor does vary by brand so we can’t guarantee it will work!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Andie, we haven’t tested making risotto in the Instant Pot, so we aren’t sure, but think it would work. Let us know if you try it out!

      • Jae says

        You have the patience of a saint, truly. I would go crazy answering these questions that have already been answered or with inane questions about substitutions.
        Thank you for the delicious recipes and clear instructions!!

  17. kristi says

    I love my instant pot , so could i put the rice and liquid into instant pot and cook according to Arborio rice timetable?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kristi, we haven’t tested making risotto in the Instant Pot, so we aren’t sure, but think it would work. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ron, we haven’t tested making risotto in the Instant Pot, so we aren’t sure, but think it would work. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Jeff, we enjoyed the richness of coconut milk in this recipe, but feel free to sub another milk!

      • Frank says

        Because of severe arthritis, the stirring would be impossible for me. I have already made very successful risottos in my Instant Pot, with no stirring, so do you think this method would work with this delightfully sounding recipe of yours?t

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Frank, we haven’t tested making risotto in the Instant Pot, so we aren’t sure, but think it would work. Let us know if you try it out!