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Asparagus Risotto Recipe With Lemon Zest

Last Updated on January 17, 2024

Taste an elegant yet vibrant culinary experience with this asparagus risotto recipe with lemon zest. It strikes a balance between the earthy essence of fresh asparagus and the zesty brightness of lemons, all mixed in a creamy risotto.

asparagus pea risotto

Whether you’re an aspiring home cook or a seasoned chef, this recipe promises to elevate your cooking repertoire.

Join me as we delve into creating a recipe that celebrates cooking finesse and classy ingredients, making it an ideal choice for special occasions and everyday delights.

Asparagus Risotto Recipe With Lemon Zest – Why You’ll Love This Recipe

how to cook risotto rice
  • It’s a great side or main dish for any occasion and season. You can serve this and impress your guests. I’ve made this during romantic dates, elegant birthdays, or when you feel like treating yourself to something rich and hearty.
  • Easy to prep – You can have a luxurious meal in 30 minutes.
  • Made with simple ingredients that can easily be found.
  • It has a creamy, buttery taste with the earthiness of asparagus and bright zesty lemon.
  • Highly customizable. You can add other ingredients to suit your taste.

Ingredients

To make risotto, you have to start with rice. Arobrio rice is the best one to use for this recipe as it can absorb liquid quickly.

When this variety of rice absorbs liquid, it activates and releases its high starch content, making our risotto creamy and buttery. Stirring it also helps in making our risotto creamy as well. 

I really love the addition of asparagus in this recipe, as it gives our risotto an earthy element.

When paired with the citrusy taste of the lemon, it brightens up the whole meal.

how to make riso
  • 1 cup/200g arborio rice
  • 2 ¼ cups/530ml vegetable broth, divided
  • ¾ cup/175ml dry white wine (or more vegetable broth)
  • 2 tbsp/30ml olive oil
  • ½ med/135g yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves/10g garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp/3g salt
  • ½ tsp/1g ground pepper
  • 2 tsp/2g fresh thyme, washed and chopped (stem removed)
  • 2 tsp/4g lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 8 oz/225g asparagus, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup/165g cooked white beans, drained (*optional)

To serve: fresh ground pepper, fresh thyme, nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan

How To Make Asparagus Risotto

arborio rice how to cook
how to cook arborio rice
  1. Mince the onion and garlic and set aside. Trim the ends from the asparagus at their natural breaking point. cut the spears into 1½”/4cm long pieces and set aside.*
  2. In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions for 2 minutes or until semi-translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
  3. Add the arborio rice into the pot and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly until the rice becomes translucent on the edges. Pour the white wine and stir. Take any arborio rice grains stuck to the pot while stirring. Cook for 2 minutes to boil off the alcohol.
  4. Add 1¾ cup/415ml broth into the pot and season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes until the rice absorbs the liquid. Stir regularly to activate the rice’s starch.
how to make risotto
  1. Turn the heat to low and pour in the remaining ½ cup/65ml of broth (More broth is needed if you feel like it’s dry). Add the asparagus, lemon zest, and white beans. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more, stirring regularly until the asparagus is cooked and tender. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and grated vegetarian parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. This step is optional. Serve while hot, and the rice still has a bite or al dente. 

Notes:
*Thicker pieces of asparagus will take longer to cook. To help it cook faster, you can blanch the chopped asparagus in boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds, then add them back to the risotto at the end to finish.

What Is Asparagus

a bunch of asparagus

Asparagus is a versatile non-starch vegetable that is high in protein. It belongs to the lily family (Liliaceae).

It is also known for its long, slender spears with tightly closed, pointed tips. It is valued both for its unique flavor.

The edible part of asparagus is the young shoot or spear that emerges from the ground as the plant grows.

Asparagus comes in different colors, including green, white, and purple.

what is Asparagus

It has a mild, earthy, and slightly nutty flavor. The taste can vary slightly based on the color of the asparagus, with green asparagus having a more pronounced flavor than white asparagus.

Asparagus can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be boiled, steamed, grilled, roasted, or even sautéed. The cooking time can vary depending on the thickness of the spears.

This plant is typically harvested in the spring and is considered at its freshest state when the spears are young and tender.

The spears are usually cut or snapped at ground level to encourage further growth.

Spring and Fall are also when it’s mostly available and can be found in farmer’s markets, supermarkets, and groceries. In some regions, you can find it at markets all year round.

Health Benefits Of Asparagus

Asparagus is low in calories and an excellent source of essential nutrients such as high in fiber, vitamins K, vitamin C, and A, and minerals such as folate, potassium, and iron.

It is also a good source of antioxidants and has been associated with improved digestion, heart health, and blood sugar regulation.

It also contains compounds that may support healthy brain function.

(Source: health.com)

Other Asparagus Recipes And Articles

If you want to learn more about asparagus, what it tastes like, and what other properties it has before you include it in any of your dishes, you can read this: What does asparagus taste like?

And if you want to try another asparagus recipe, you can try this one out: Grilled asparagus in foil

It’s an easy-to-make recipe that makes the asparagus the star of the show. It’s also healthy and packed with flavor.

Tips, Variations, And Substitutions

how to make risotto rice

Always add your liquid one cup at a time while stirring. This will let you activate the creaminess of the rice while keeping it al dente.

You can serve this with roasted vegetables and mushrooms for a complete meal.

You can also add 1 tablespoon or 2 of vegan butter or soy margarine during the sauteing of the rice and let it coat the grains. This will give another layer of creaminess to the dish.

🥒 Parsley – This can be used to garnish the risotto at the end as it doesn’t have a strong flavor and won’t overpower the risotto.

🥒 Mushrooms – Add this if you want a meaty texture to your risotto. They are also a great source of protein.

🥒 Lemon juice – Squeeze a little of this at the end of the cooking process to give this recipe a more intense citrusy-fruity taste.

🥒 Leek – No onion? You can add this one to give it still an oniony-sweet taste. Saute this with the garlic to bring out its flavor.

🥒 Nutritional Yeast – has the taste of cheese. So, if you don’t have any vegan cheese, this can take its place.

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pea and asparagus risotto

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. WHAT MUSHROOMS CAN I USE FOR THIS RECIPE?

You can use different kinds of these tasty spores or a combination of any. There are a lot of choices out there, but the ones I commonly use are oyster, button, porcini, and cremini.

Use your imagination, and don’t be afraid to experiment, as each of these mushrooms has different tastes and textures that can go well with our risotto.

2. HOW CAN I TELL FRESH ASPARAGUS FROM BAD ONES?

Check the color, and it should be a vibrant green color.

See the spear end as well. It should be closed tight and not withered or in bloom.

Also, check the stems to see if they bend and snap easily. Lastly, the base should be moist and shriveled or dry.

3. HOW TO MAKE THE BEST ASPARAGUS RISSOTO?

Don’t wash the arborio rice as it activates its properties. Also, pick the freshest asparagus and lemons you can find.

Lastly, never rush cooking your risotto to give the rice time to cook properly and absorb all the flavors.

asparagus pea risotto

Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Experience a rich meal with this asparagus risotto recipe with lemon zest. It's a creamy springtime vegetarian dish that's perfect as a side or main dish.
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 605kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • cups vegetable broth divided, more if needed
  • ¾ cup dry white wine (or more vegetable broth)
  • 2 tbsp yellow onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme washed and chopped (stem removed)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
  • 8 oz asparagus trimmed and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked white beans drained (*optional)

To Serve

Instructions

  • Mince the onion and garlic and set aside.
  • Trim the ends from the asparagus at their natural breaking point. cut the spears into 1½”/4cm long pieces and set aside as well.*
  • In a large, heavy bottom pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Saute the onions for 2 minutes or until semi-translucent. Then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Stir constantly to avoid burning.
  • Add the arborio rice into the pot and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly until rice becomes translucent on the edges.
  • Pour the white wine and stir. Take any arborio rice grains stuck to the pot while stirring. Cook for 2 minutes to boil off the alcohol.
  • Add 1¾ cup/415ml broth (see note) into the pot and season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to very low and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes until the rice absorbs the liquid. Stir regularly to activate the rice's starch.
  • Turn the heat to low and pour in the remaining ½ cup/65ml of broth (More broth is needed if you feel it's a bit dry). Add the asparagus, lemon zest, and white beans. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes more, stirring regularly until the asparagus is cooked and tender.
  • Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh thyme and grated vegetarian parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. This step is optional.
  • Serve while hot and the rice still has a bite to it or al dente. (Note)

Notes

(Note) If you cook a large quantity, the cooking time may vary.
PS. Adjust the amount of veggie broth in the instructions if you multiply the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 115g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 1653mg | Potassium: 920mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1520IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 140mg | Iron: 11mg

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2 thoughts on “Asparagus Risotto Recipe With Lemon Zest”

  1. 5 stars
    Love the taste and texture, however, I had to add more veggie stock at the end.

    Besides that, I will definitely make this again.

    Reply

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