Vegan Pesto Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

GFGluten Free

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This Vegan Pesto Risotto is creamy, cozy, and bursting with bright flavor! Pair it with quick-roasted tomatoes for a decadent but easy main course.

Need a new date night meal? Or maybe you’re just feelin’ yourself and want to get fancy. Either way, this Vegan Pesto Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes ticks all the boxes: she’s creamy, cozy, herb-y, and dang delicious.

Risotto is a northern Italian rice dish that’s traditionally cooked with broth, wine, butter, and parmesan until it’s nice and creamy. While it’s not traditionally vegan, it’s very easy to make plant-based by using vegetable broth, dairy-free butter (or olive oil), and vegan parmesan.

two plates of vegan pesto risotto topped with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil on marble countertop

INGREDIENTS FOR VEGAN PESTO RISOTTO

ingredients for risotto in small white bowls on marble countertop

This recipe has two main parts — the pesto-infused risotto, and the quick-roasted (but still delicious) tomatoes. I like to use my Nut-Free Vegan Pesto, but you can use a store-bought pesto if you’d like to save some time.

  • For the Tomatoes: all these cherry tomatoes need is a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then they’re good to go in the oven! I love how the tomatoes burst in the oven and the skins caramelize, leaving a deep, sweet, and juicy flavor.
  • For the Risotto: arborio rice gets infused with buttery olive oil, shallot, white wine, and pesto-infused vegetable broth while it simmers away on the stovetop. Then we’ll finish it off by stirring in even more pesto (yes please) and a sprinkle of dairy-free vegan parmesan.

HOW TO MAKE PESTO RISOTTO

side by side photos of cooked risotto before and after pesto is stirred in

Want to make amazing risotto? My top tips are to (1) keep your vegetable broth warm, and (2) seach for “l’onda”, or “the wave”. You only want to add more liquid to your risotto after a spoon dragged through the dish creates a dry line, followed by a wave-like motion of the risotto to fill it in.

  1. Warm your broth (and a little bit of pesto) on the stovetop in a separate pot. In the meantime, roast your tomatoes in the oven.
  2. Sauté the shallot in olive oil, then add in the arborio rice and toast for a few minutes. Deglaze with white wine, then simmer until the alcohol cooks off.
  3. Gradually add the warm broth to the risotto in small increments, stirring frequently. The rice will begin to plump up and absorb the flavors of the broth, while also creating a creamy sauce.
  4. Stir in the leftover pesto and some vegan parmesan, then serve topped with roasted tomatoes.

plate of pesto risotto topped with tomatoes on wood cutting board on marble countertop

This Vegan Pesto Risotto is truly a year-round treat. It’s cozy enough to serve on a chilly day, but the bright flavors from the pesto make it appropriate for warmer weather as well. The juicy roasted tomatoes make things even more delicious, and I love how they add a pop of fresh sweetness to the rich, creamy, and cheesy rice.

If you’re looking for more risotto recipes, you’ll also love this Hearty Mushroom Risotto, this Creamy Pumpkin Risotto, and this Sweet Pea & Corn Risotto!

two plates of vegan pesto risotto topped with roasted tomatoes and fresh basil on marble countertop

Finally, if you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I love seeing your delicious recreations 🙂

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Vegan Pesto Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes

This Vegan Pesto Risotto is creamy, cozy, and bursting with bright flavor! Pair it with quick-roasted tomatoes for a decadent but easy main course.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 Minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons high-quality extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over tomatoes
  • 6 cups (1.4 L) low-sodium vegetable broth (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup Nut-Free Vegan Pesto, divided (or use store-bought)
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cups (380 gArborio rice
  • 3/4 cup (180 mL) dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) vegan parmesan cheese, grated*
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Roast the Tomatoes: Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the tomatoes on a baking tray, then cover them with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt. Bake for 30 to 35min, until the tomatoes have burst and their skin has browned.
  2. Warm the Broth: Add the vegetable broth and 1/4 cup of pesto to a large pot and mix well. Keep this liquid over medium-low heat while you cook the risotto.
  3. Sauté Aromatics: Add the olive oil to a large (separate) pan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until translucent. Then, add the arborio rice to the pan and mix well. Toast the arborio rice for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice becomes more translucent. Toasting the rice adds more flavor to the final dish.
  4. Deglaze: add the white wine to the pan to deglaze it, scraping off any burnt bits (a.k.a. flavor!) from the bottom of the pan into the wine. Simmer for 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan or been absorbed by the rice.
  5. Make the Risotto: Start by adding 3/4 cup (180 mL) of the warmed broth to the pan with the rice. Reduce the heat to Medium-Low and stir the mixture frequently, to ensure all grains of rice are cook evenly. Once you can drag your spoon through the mixture and it leaves a dry path, add an additional ½ cup of warm broth. Repeat this process with the remaining broth.
  6. Quality Check: Begin to taste the Risotto for doneness at around the 14 minutes mark, though it may take 20-25 minutes to cook in total. The Rice will be creamy but have a slightly al dente texture once finished.
  7. Make it Green & Cheesy: Once the Risotto has cooked, turn the heat off and stir in the remaining pesto and grated vegan parmesan; season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
  8. Serve: Serve warm; Divide the risotto onto serving plates, then top with roasted tomatoes, plus anything else as desired. Risotto is best enjoyed fresh, but leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and are best reheated on the stovetop with an extra splash of vegetable broth.

Notes

  • Substitutions: white wine can be replaced with equal parts vegetable broth. Vegan parmesan can be replaced with 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, or 1/2 cup of this Rosemary Garlic Cashew Cream for an extra boost of flavor! There is no substitution for arborio rice; you can use another rice if you wish, but it will not be as creamy.

Keywords: pesto risotto, basil risotto, dairy free risotto, vegan risotto

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. I have never left a comment on the internet ever, but my flatmate and I just made this and I have to share my joy. It’s by far the best risotto I’ve ever had and I’m a big risotto fan. Here is a quote from my flatmate.
    ‘The idea that God created the universe so we could enjoy this risotto is the best argument for gods existence I’ve ever heard. Food like this makes you connect with a higher power.’

    What can I say. Excellent excellent lemon excellent.

  2. I am in loooove with this recipe. The first night I had it with my boyfriend, I spent the entire meal talking about how good it tasted lol. Such simple ingredients and easy to make yet packed with flavor. Can’t wait to make it again!

  3. This recipe is seriously delicious!! I used Pinot Grigio and the vegan pesto from Trader Joe’s (also garlic because I didn’t have shallot). It was absolutely worth the constant stirring 🙂

  4. This is just gorgeous I can’t wait to try it! I have to say Caitlin I’ve been making your recipes for about two years now and the obvious care you take in experimenting with your ingredients to make the meals flavorful and perfectly balanced is just so above and beyond! I appreciate this so much – every recipe is just spot on. Thank you!!