For a cheesy, gluten free rice side dish, make some lemon risotto with parmesan and fresh basil. This cheese risotto recipe is easy to make!
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For a cheesy, gluten free side dish, make this lemon risotto with parmesan and fresh basil. Don’t let the thought of making this decadent, cheesy, creamy rice dish intimidate you, because our risotto recipe is easy to make!
If you enjoy rice, but want something with a creamier texture, risotto is a go-to dish! This one has light lemony flavor, and the fresh basil and parmesan transform it into something extra special.
reasons to make our lemon risotto
- It’s lighter and lower in fat than traditional risotto recipes. Many restaurants add a splash of cream and/or a pat of butter at the end of the cook time to add more flavor to the risotto. You don’t have to use fat to create a creamy, cheesy risotto.
- The ingredient list is short and simple. Just 10 pantry staples – there are no fancy, expensive ingredients needed!
- It pairs well with many different proteins – It’s perfect as a lighter side for chicken recipes like crockpot whole chicken, chicken cacciatore, and chicken piccata. If pork chops, pot roast, or shrimp are on your menu, make this easy healthy rice dish – it’s incredible with those proteins as well!
Healthy Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto was the first type of risotto that I ever made, but I wanted to try something that used lots of citrus and herb (my favorite flavor combo!) so I came up with the recipe for this Healthy Lemon Basil Risotto!
Ingredients for healthy risotto:
If you need or want to make some ingredient substitutions, look in the green shaded box, below this section.
You can find substitutions for all of these ingredients below in the green shaded box.
lemon risotto recipe variations
Rice: If you want to make this recipe using a short grain brown rice instead of white, you certainly can. Just be aware that brown rice requires more liquid and more time to cook than white. Arborio rice is the best rice for risotto!
Add Veggies! Soft vegetables like roasted peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms would be delicious additions to this recipe. If you’re a veggie lover, you might want to make our healthy pumpkin mushroom risotto, or this vegetable risotto!
Wine: You can omit the wine and substitute it with chicken stock if you prefer to not cook with alcohol.
Basil: You can substitute basil for your favorite herb. Parsley, sage or oregano will all be delicious! I highly recommend using fresh herbs!
Pumpkin: If you’re looking for other healthy risotto recipes – try this Healthy Pumpkin Mushroom Risotto
Gluten free risotto – Check the source of your wine to be sure it hasn’t been aged in an oak barrel sealed with wheat paste. The rice and all of the other ingredients in parmesan basil risotto recipe are generally considered to be gluten free. Just be sure to check ingredient labels to prevent cross contamination during processing.
What makes this risotto healthy?
- Less fat – traditional risotto is made with heavy cream, butter, and lots of cheese. I used less cheese and cooked the risotto low and slow in broth to achieve a rich texture without a ton of fat
- Minimal ingredients– This recipe only has 10 ingredients, all of which you probably already have in your fridge or pantry!
As we mentioned earlier, this side dish pairs really well with most meat proteins. If you want to serve a plant-based dinner, the cheesy risotto is delicious with legumes like beans and lentils, either stirred in or served on the side.
Helping you make quick and easy healthy dinners is our specialty!
tips for making lemon risotto
- Cook over low heat. Be sure to cook the risotto low and slow – this allows the starches in the rice to thicken the dish and make a creamy cheese risotto. Using high heat will prevent this from happening!
- Use a shallow, wide pan. The wider cooking surface area helps the rice absorb the cooking liquid more quickly.
- Stir continuously. Make sure to stir the rice constantly during cooking to avoid it from burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Be sure the broth is warm, and add it gradually. Again, so that the starches in the rice can be released properly into the broth, you want to be sure to only add about 1/2 cup of stock at a time. Wait for the rice to absorb one batch of liquid before adding the next.
- Use high quality cheese, and grate it fresh. Please avoid using parmesan from the green plastic canister. Use a block of real parmesan cheese, and grate it yourself for the best cheese risotto. 🙂
risotto recipe FAQ
With cheese, basil, and fresh citrus, we think our lemon risotto has a wonderful flavor! If you want to give the dish even more flavor, you could add some minced shallot, or substitute shallot for the onion.
Restaurants do a lot of par cooking of ingredients and dishes that normally take quite a while to prepare. By preparing risotto recipe just up to the point where cheese and dairy products are typically added, it can be chilled and kept in a refrigerator until it’s needed.
Refrigerator: This recipe will last in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Risotto is a dish that truly is best eaten immediately after it is made. Although it will stay fresh for a few days in a covered container in the fridge, it’s difficult to reheat without it becoming gummy or sticky.
Freezing: I haven’t tried freezing this risotto, but I don’t think it would work well. We don’t recommend it.
Reheating: If you have leftovers of lemon parmesan risotto, you can reheat them in a pan on the stove over medium heat. If the consistency is very thick, you can try to thin it out a bit by adding a couple of tablespoons of stock or water.
Healthy Lemon Basil Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup onions finely chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic minced (about 3 cloves)
- 1 cup arborio rice dry
- 2.5 cups chicken stock low or no salt
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest zest of 1-2 lemons
- 1/4 cup lemon juice juice of 1-2 lemons
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup fresh basil finely chopped
- Add in uncooked rice and chicken broth. Stir together, cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes over medium heat until the rice starts to absorb the liquid.
- Before serving stir in basil and enjoy!
- You can omit the wine and substitute it with if you prefer to not cook with alcohol
- You can substitute basil for your favorite herb. Parsley, sage or oregano will all be delicious! I highly recommend using fresh herbs!