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Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Creamy roasted red pepper risotto is a comforting, easy weeknight meal that’s layered with flavor and is very adaptable.

A flavorful, creamy risotto base that’s a blank canvas for you to build on. Blending the roasted red bell peppers into the broth creates a beautiful red-orange color to the rice dish.

I love to add leftover cooked protein to switch it from a side dish to the main dish, but you can serve it however you’d like. Or adding in extra cooked vegetables from the fridge that need to be used up. It’s very flexible.

Ingredients

  • Vegetable broth or chicken stock/broth – infuses flavor into the rice. Even better if it’s homemade bone broth.
  • Roasted red peppers – use jarred for ease.
  • Olive oil and dairy-free butter (or unsalted butter) – using both adds more depth of flavor.
  • Onion – yellow or white.
  • Arborio rice – also known as risotto rice, is a starchy, Italian short-grain rice that creates a creamy texture when cooked in liquid.
  • Acidity – such as lemon juice or red wine vinegar for brightness.
  • Kosher salt – to taste.
  • Freshly cracked black pepper – to taste.
  • Fresh basil leaves – for garnish.

How to Make Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

Step 1. Make the red pepper puree. Shake off any excess water from the jar of peppers and add them to a blender with the vegetable or chicken broth. Blend until completely smooth then transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan over medium low heat to keep warm.

Step 2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and one tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the diced onion for a few minutes until it’s translucent in color, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt.

Step 3. Add in the rice. Stir to combine it with the cooked onions and then let it toast lightly to develop flavor for about a minute.

Step 4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add 1 cup of the warmed roasted red pepper broth to the rice and onion mixture. Stir frequently and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid, add another cup and continue with this process until you’ve used up all the red pepper broth.

Step 5. Taste to make sure the texture of the rice is al dente (has a slight bite to it). Stir in the red wine vinegar or lemon juice and the last tablespoon of butter. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

Please remember that recipes are just a starting point.

How can you make this roasted red pepper risotto using what you already have? Here are some ideas…

  • No jarred roasted red peppers? – you can use homemade roasted peppers with the skins removed or use about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of roasted butternut squash or roasted carrots.
  • No butter? – use all olive oil. 
  • No onion? – use another allium such as shallots or leeks.
  • Add-ins – white wine, sauteed cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese (dairy free or traditional), extra cooked vegetables, cooked protein, fried egg, etc.

Helpful Tips

Constant stirring is necessary to help release the starches in the rice. This is what contributes to its creamy texture.

It’s important not to rinse the rice when making risotto. You want all that starch to go into the risotto, so don’t rinse it before adding it to the pan.

Use a blender or an immersion blender, not a food processor to blend the peppers and broth. There’s too much liquid for a food processor and it’ll come out the sides. Learn about the difference between a blender and a food processor.

More Risotto Recipes

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Risotto

5 from 3 votes
A large skillet of roasted red pepper risotto with fresh basil leaves on top.
Creamy roasted red pepper risotto is a comforting, easy weeknight meal that's layered with flavor and is very adaptable.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serving Size 4 – 6

Ingredients
 

  • 16 oz jar roasted red peppers
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons dairy free butter (or unsalted butter) divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ medium onion diced
  • 1 ½ cups arborio rice do not rinse
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • fresh basil leaves or minced fresh parsley to garnish
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Make the red pepper puree. Shake off any excess water from the jar of peppers and add them to a blender with the vegetable or chicken broth. Blend until completely smooth then transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan over medium low heat to keep warm.
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the diced onion for a few minutes until it's translucent in color, stirring occasionally. Season with a pinch of salt.
  • Add in the rice. Stir to combine it with the cooked onions and then let it toast lightly to develop flavor for about a minute.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low. Add 1 cup of the warmed roasted red pepper broth to the rice and onion mixture. Stir frequently and cook until the rice has absorbed nearly all the liquid, add another cup and continue with this process until you’ve used up all the red pepper broth.
  • Taste to make sure the texture of the rice is al dente (has a slight bite to it). Stir in the red wine vinegar or lemon juice and the last tablespoon of butter. Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

Notes

See the blog post for helpful tips and step-by-step photos.

Make It Your Way: Substitutions & Variations

No jarred roasted red peppers? – you can make homemade roasted peppers or use about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of roasted butternut squash or roasted carrots.
No butter? – use all olive oil. 
No onion? – use another allium such as shallots or leeks.
Add-ins – white wine, sauteed cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese (dairy free or traditional), extra cooked vegetables, cooked protein, fried egg, etc.
5 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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