Risotto is a classic Italian dish that has become a staple at my home. This creamy vegetable risotto recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
Yet, it’s packed with flavor from fresh summer vegetables and herbs.
This risotto is perfect for those who need to eat gluten free due to celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Plus, since it’s dairy-free and vegan, it’s perfect for those who cannot consume milk as well.
Keep reading for everything you need to know to make this perfect vegan risotto dish including ingredient substitutions and trouble shooting tips, or use the jump to recipe button below to go right to the printable recipe.
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Why you’ll love this creamy vegetable risotto recipe:
- This is a simple and easy vegan risotto recipe which honestly makes a complete meal on its own.
- Since this risotto omits butter and cheese, it’s definitely a healthy vegetarian risotto option with way less saturated fat without sacrificing flavor!
- It also makes a great side dish for meat lovers.
What is risotto?
Risotto is a traditional Italian dish made from rice, stock, and different types of vegetables. In Italy, risotto is typically served at room temperature and is often eaten as a first course.
Risotto is a great dish for someone with celiac disease or gluten intolerance because it relies on rice which is naturally gluten free.
However, when ordering it at a restaurant or looking for a pre-made risotto or risotto kit in store, there is always a risk that gluten-containing ingredients may be added.
Can you make risotto without cheese?
While many risotto dishes use parmesan cheese (or something similar), traditional risotto does not actually rely on cheese to make it creamy.
The starches from the Arborio rice accomplishes that on its own!
Because of that, this recipe will not even use vegan cheese to get this creamy texture.
What vegetables go into risotto?
Honestly, almost any vegetables would taste great in risotto!
Traditionally, risotto may contain peas, artichokes, spinach, mushrooms, or tomatoes.
In this creamy vegan risotto recipe we’re using tomatoes and zucchini for a delicious combination of summer vegetables.
Ingredients for this gluten free risotto recipe
Most of these ingredients can be found at your local grocery store, but you’ll find great deals on Arborio rice, olive oil, gluten-free spices and even wine at Thrive Market.
To make this risotto without cheese you’ll need:
- arborio rice. Check out this post for a bunch of gluten-free arborio rice options.
- vegetable broth. You can also sub this for water and gluten-free vegan bouillon cubes. I really like BOU.
- dry white wine. If you don’t want to use wine, you could use more vegetable stock here, but it will reduce the complexity of the taste.
- olive oil.
- diced yellow onion.
- minced garlic.
- salt & black pepper.
- cherry tomatoes.
- fresh basil leaves.
Optionally, you may also want some toppings for your risotto such as some pine nuts to roast, extra herbs, or some vegan parmesan cheese.
For oil-free vegan risotto, omit the olive oil and sauté the rice and vegetables in a bit of water or vegetable broth.
How to make vegetarian risotto
The term “risotto” comes from the Italian verb “riso”, meaning “to boil”. This refers to the cooking method used to make risotto, which involves boiling the rice in water, along with other ingredients.
In this recipe, we’re boiling this rice with some delicious seasonings and veggies.
First, prepare your vegetables by mincing the garlic, dicing the sweet onion, slicing the zucchini into half-moons, halving the tomatoes, and cutting the basil into thin ribbons.
In a large pot, heat half of the olive oil on medium heat, adding the onions and garlic and cooking until softened.
Add the rice and cook for 1 minute, stirring, until the rice begins to turn translucent.
Add the white wine and stir to be sure no rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add just over half of the broth, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook until the liquid is absorbed stirring regularly. This should take just over 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining broth, and cook for 2-3 more minutes stirring regularly. Remove from the heat and set your pan aside while you prepare the vegetables.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over high heat. Add the zucchini and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened and some brown spots appear. Remove the zucchini from pan and leave the oil.
Add the halved tomatoes and cook for 30 seconds to a minute until they start to soften. Remove from the pan.
Stir about 3/4 of the vegetables and basil right into the risotto. Serve immediately and top with the remaining vegetables and basil.
If needed, season with salt and pepper to taste.
How to serve your creamy vegetable risotto
Serve your risotto rice topped with fresh chopped herbs like more basil or fresh parsley and some fresh-ground black pepper.
You can also top this gluten free risotto recipe with roasted pine nuts for an even more complex texture.
If you really crave that cheesy taste, sprinkle a bit of vegan parmesan cheese! Either way, it will taste delicious!
How to store leftover risotto
This risotto will stay good in the fridge stored in an airtight container for about 3-4 days.
Freezing your risotto will likely change your leftover risotto too much to retain the perfect risotto texture.
Creamy Vegetable Risotto
- 1 skillet
- 1 heavy bottom pot
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 1/4 cups vegetable broth or water + bouillon
- 3/4 cup dry white wine or more vegetable broth
- 4 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1/2 yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1 large zucchini
- 8 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves ribbon cut
- Prepare your vegetables by mincing the garlic, dicing the onion, slicing the zucchini in semi-circles (1/4 in thick), halving the tomatoes, and stacking the basil lives and slicing into thin ribbons.
- In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until softened.
- Add the rice and cook for 1 more minute, stirring frequently, until the rice begins to be translucent on the edges.
- Immediately add the white wine and stir to ensure no rice sticks. Cook for 1-2 minutes and add in 1 3/4 cups of the broth and the oregano, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce heat slightly and cook for 12-14 minutes until the liquid is absorbed, stirring regularly.
- Turn the heat to low and stir in the remaining broth. Cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring regularly. Remove from the burner and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the sliced zucchini and cook for 1-2 minutes before flipping and cook for an additional minute until just cooked. Remove zucchini from pan but leave the oil.
- With the pan still on high heat, add the sliced tomatoes. Cook for 30 seconds to a minute until starting to soften. Remove from pan.
- Stir cooked zucchini, tomatoes, and 3/4 of the basil gently into the risotto.
- Serve immediately and top with remaining basil.
- ingredient and equipment suggestions & substitutions,
- tips for modifying the recipe, and
- frequently asked questions
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