This vegan & gluten free Pesto & Roasted Tomato Risotto is one of the tastiest dinners you’ll make. It’s amazingly creamy whilst being packed with flavour. Risotto is one of my favourite easy vegan dinners because it’s super simple and only requires a few simple ingredients, but the addition of fresh homemade pesto and rich roasted tomatoes takes it to a whole new level!
Risotto is such a staple meal in my household, so I always have risotto/arborio rice stocked up in my pantry. Then all you really need is onion, garlic, white wine, stock and some seasonal vegetables and you can whip up a delicious, cosy meal! During the autumn months I love to make Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto, but this Pesto and Roasted Tomato Risotto is perfect for spring and summer.
I’ve included a super easy vegan pesto recipe which is stirred into the cooked risotto at the end. It uses basil, garlic, pine nuts (but you can use any nut), extra virgin olive oil and nutritional yeast. You can choose to omit the nutritional yeast but I love that it adds a delicious subtle cheesy flavour to the risotto.
I like to use homemade vegetable stock when making risotto, but if you haven’t got any to hand then vegetable stock cubes work perfectly too! My favourite way to make stock is to save up my vegetable scraps from the week and toss them in a big pot with lots of water, garlic, onion and peppercorns and simmer for 1-2 hours, then drain. It adds the most incredible flavour to meals, especially this risotto! It’s also a great way to reduce your food waste.
- 3 tbsp vegan butter or oil
- 1 white onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 400g risotto / arborio rice
- 200ml dry white wine
- 2L veg stock – you may need more
- Optional – vegan cream
For the pesto:
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 tbsp pine nuts (or you can use cashews, sunflower seeds, walnuts etc)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
For the roasted tomatoes:
- 10-15 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Generous pinch salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 190C. Spread the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and place in the oven to roast for 20 minutes.
- Put the vegetable stock in a saucepan over a low heat to keep warm.
- In a large pan, melt the vegan butter over a medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for around 4-5 minutes until softened (not browned).
- Meanwhile, make the pesto – add everything to a food processor and pulse until it’s almost smooth (you want a bit of bite) and set aside.
- Add the risotto rice to the pan and stir so it’s coated with the butter.
- Pour in the wine and stir until it’s been absorbed.
- Add a ladleful of the stock and stir into the rice until it’s absorbed. Keep doing this until the rice is cooked (approx 25 mins)
- Once the rice is tender and cooked, stir in a little vegan cream if using, and 3 tablespoons of the pesto. Serve in bowls and top with roasted tomatoes and vegan parmesan – enjoy!