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Margherita Risotto

An elegant and flavorful way to impress your friends with the tastes and colors of Italy.

  • Author: Dr. Rosane Oliveira
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 1x
Print Recipe


  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
  • 1/4 cup shallot, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, fresh, minced
  • 3/4 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup basil, fresh, torn
  • 1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan (optional)
  • Black pepper, freshly ground, to taste


  1. Over medium heat, warm vegetable broth in a small saucepan until simmering (but not boiling).
  2. Meanwhile, place a burner-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add shallot and dry sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.
  4. Add Arborio rice to the same saucepan.
  5. Cook for 1 minute then add white wine (or vegetable broth). Cook another 1-2 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Add hot vegetable broth 1/2 cup at a time. Stir regularly to avoid burning. Simmer (but not boil) until the broth has been absorbed, then add the next 1/2 cup.
  7. Continue for 15-20 minutes or until rice is al dente. There may be unused vegetable broth.
  8. Remove from heat. Add tomatoes, spinach, basil, and Vegan Parmesan (if desired).
  9. Stir and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  10. Spoon risotto into bowls. Serve.

Notes: This classic Italian recipe is traditionally prepared with white wine, which gives the rice added flavor. However, vegetable broth may be substituted. Also, for a different spin, try using sun-dried tomatoes in place of Roma tomatoes. It is best to use a burner-sized pan when preparing risotto so it is heated evenly and the rice has a chance to rub together to create starch, which makes the dish creamy. The vegetable broth should be pre-heated so cooking time is not slowed. Make sure the heat is adjusted so the rice is simmering but not boiling. Stir almost constantly to avoid sticking and burning, but take periodic, brief breaks so the rice does not become gluey. Only add as much vegetable broth as needed for the rice to reach al dente texture. Vegetables should always be added at the end, off the heat, to prevent them from becoming mushy.

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Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD

President & CEO, Plant-Based Life Foundation | Dr. Rosane Oliveira combines a lifelong passion for nutrition with 25 years of genetics research to create programs that help people develop healthy habits on their journey towards a more plant-based lifestyle. She is a Visiting Clinical Professor in Public Health Sciences and was the founding director of the first Integrative Medicine program at the UC Davis School of Medicine. She completed her postgraduate studies in Brazil and did her postdoctoral training in immunogenetics and functional genomics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.