Usually, when thinking about risotto, butter, cheese, and cream are instantly what comes to mind. Risotto is deliciously creamy, the flavors meld together, and it melts in your mouth.
It’s the ultra comfort food.
Can You Still Achieve Those Creamy Results Without Dairy?
YESSSS. You one thousand percent still can.
All that’s needed are a handful of simple ingredients and you’ll be well on your way to making creamy, dairy-free risotto bursting with flavor…
Every. Single. Time.
Once you learn to let the ingredients and flavors take center stage, you won’t even notice the lack of dairy.
Ingredients for Dairy-Free Risotto
- I recommend avocado oil, refined coconut oil (won’t have a coconut flavor), or extra virgin olive oil.
- learn how to make your own here
- yellow or white onions work well
- a starchy, Italian short grain rice that lends a creamy texture to dishes when cooked in liquid
- whatever spices you’re using to season your add ons
- always salt and pepper, to taste
Dairy-Free Risotto Flavor Pairings
The flavor pairings are endless when it comes to risotto, dairy-free or not. To bulk it up and act as the main course instead of a side dish, I recommend adding vegetables to it, along with a protein.
I’d recommend using no more than 1-2 vegetables (aside from the onion) plus your protein, and a garnish if you’d like. Season it however you wish.
Ingredients that work well in risotto (there’s no right or wrong way, it all comes down to preference here):
- Bacon, Chicken, Chorizo, Crab, Clams, Eggs, Mussels, Prosciutto, Scallops, Shrimp, Lobster, Top Sirloin
- Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Butternut squash, Corn, Fennel, Garlic, Kale, Mushrooms, Peas, Pumpkin, Scallions, Shallots, Sorrel (leafy green with a tangy lemon flavor), Sundried tomatoes (technically a fruit), Zucchini blossoms
HERBS & SEASONINGS
- Basil, Chili powder, Chives, Maple syrup, Mustard seeds, Nutritional yeast, Paprika (sweet or smoked) Parsley (flat-leaf), Pepper (black), Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, Truffles
ACID (brightening of flavors):
- Lemon, Lime (zest), Wine (dry red or white)
How to Make Creamy Dairy-Free Risotto
- 2 tbsp avocado or olive oil, divided
- 2½-3 cups vegetables of choice
- ½ yellow or white onion diced
- 1½ cups arborio rice
- 5 cups bone broth or stock chicken, beef, or vegetable
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- extra seasonings, to taste
- cooked protein of choice (optional)
- Heat up a large pan over medium heat.
- Cut vegetables of choice into uniformly small pieces, so they cook faster and evenly.
- Once pan is hot, add 1 tablespoons of oil and add vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and other dried spices (if using). While vegetables are cooking, dice onion, and set aside. Remove vegetables from pan once cooked through, but not mushy and set aside, covered.
- Add another tablespoon of oil and add the diced onion, cooking until it's translucent.
- Now, add in all the rice, mixing it together with the cooked onion, and letting it lightly toast to develop flavor for just about a minute.
- Reduce the heat to low and add 1 cup of the broth into the rice and onion mixture, stirring occasionally.
- Once the rice has absorbed nearly all the broth, add another cup of broth and continue with this process until you’ve used all the broth and the rice has reached your desired consistency.
- Add the cooked vegetables back in and your cooked protein of choice (see notes below if using scallops). Mix thoroughly to incorporate.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Enjoy!
- No matter what flavor combinations you make, the base and the method for doing so remains the same.
- Use leftover protein from a previous meal to make this dish even easier.
- Cooked protein:*If using scallops for your protein, I recommend serving them on top of your risotto. Because they’re delicate, they won’t hold their shape if mixed in with the vegetables.
- My current favorite risotto pairing is butternut squash, shredded beef (top sirloin), chili powder, s+p. It’s simple yet indulgent.