Let’s make Chicken and Vegetable Risotto! Cozy, comfy, and creamy without even a hint of dairy. One of my favorite meals for sick days or new mamas. (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)
Originally posted October 2013. Re-tested, photographed, and updated Aug 2018.
We’re in the middle of monsoon season here in the desert, which means more (read: any) cloudy days than usual. Whenever there are clouds in the sky, I get craving some cozy comfort food, and this Chicken Vegetable Risotto is one of our family favorites.
It’s the the meal I make when someone’s sick or when it’s cold (or cloudy) outside. It’s also great for new moms and friends who need a meal for dinner. It’s a great alternative to chicken soup. It’s simple, cozy, and comforting.
I’ve got a few tips and tricks that make this easy recipe faster and easier (and more dairy free–ha!) than traditional risotto, with all the luxurious creaminess you’re used to. And it all starts with simple ingredients…
Simple Ingredients For Chicken Vegetable Risotto
- A Little Olive Oil. This will help you sautee the veggies & toast the rice a bit.
- Onion & Bell Pepper. A savory base that adds SO much flavor to this chicken risotto! I love to use a mix of colorful bell peppers for more color, but you can absolutely just pick one color (red bell pepper, orange bell pepper, yellow bell pepper), if you prefer.
- Arborio Rice (aka Risotto Rice). This plump, short grain rice is classic for risotto. It thickens risotto with its starchiness and gets a lovely texture when cooked.
- Chicken Broth. Or vegetable broth, or beef broth! Whichever you have on hand or works best for you. We love them all! Bone broth can add an extra protein boost, so we usually reach for that.
- Cooked Chicken. A great use for leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken! You can shred the chicken or cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- Frozen Peas. They add a pretty pop of color, along with more fiber and even some protein!
- Green Onions. I love this note of freshness right at the end.
- Plenty of Salt & Pepper. The seasoning is simple, but works!
Optional Extras: You can absolutely add some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if it works for your dietary needs. It’s delicious!
How To Make This Risotto, Step By Step:
- Start By Cooking The Veggies. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat 3-4 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and saute 4-6 minutes, until just translucent. Add garlic clove (if using) and cook 1 minute more.
- Toast The Rice & Add Broth. Add rice to the pot and stir to coat well, adding a little extra oil if necessary. Toast the rice slightly over medium heat, then add chicken and all 8 cups of broth.
- Cook & Stir. Stir frequently over the next 20-30 minutes, or until the rice is tender and creamy. It’s okay to walk away during the first 10-15 minutes, but you’ll want to stay close during the last 10 or so minutes. Add additional broth or water, if necessary.
- Finish The Risotto. When the risotto is creamy and tender, stir in frozen peas and green onions. Add more salt and pepper, to taste. Enjoy right away & store leftover risotto in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days.
Tips & Tricks For The Best Chicken Vegetable Risotto
Why do you add the broth all at once?
In traditional risotto recipes, you add the broth about 1/2 cup at a time, slowly stirring the entire time until the risotto is creamy and the grains of rice have softened. BUT. Tyler Florence posted on his Instagram feed how he’s started making risotto by stirring the rice and all the liquid at once, rather than adding 1/2c of broth at a time to the rice. It’s SO much simpler, a little faster (about 15 minutes faster!), and the same (if not better) creamy results! It’s totally changed my life.
More Veggies To Try
You can absolutely add more veggies to this if you like. One of my favorite additions is a few handfuls of whatever greens I have in the house (usually spinach). I stir the greens in right at the end, and the residual heat from the risotto wilts the leaves and helps them blend right in. Other yummy add-in are carrots or mushrooms, which I add right at the beginning with the onion and bell pepper.
Notes for Kids & Picky Eaters
Some kids have texture issues with different veggies (mine do!). You can help off-set this by grating (or even pureeing) your onion instead of dicing it. The grated onion will blend in a LOT better texturally with the arborio rice. Also, if your kids eat carrots, they may find it easier to eat the bell peppers if you stick to orange peppers. For some reason, they don’t seem as “scary” as the brighter reds and yellows. Or, you can swap in carrots in place of the peppers for a slightly different flavor.
Vegetarian or Vegan?
You can still make this! Omit the chicken and up the veggies (add 1 cup diced carrots and 1 cup minced mushrooms) in with the bell pepper and onion and use vegetable broth.
⭐ Don’t forget to leave a star review and comment below when you make our Dairy-Free Chicken Vegetable Risotto recipe. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!Print