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:

& 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 salmon!

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

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

  • 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)
  • 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.

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

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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