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Spinach risotto is a creamy side dish that’s perfect for the whole family. Tender fresh spinach is folded into risotto for a vegetarian recipe everyone will love!
When it comes to quick and easy meals, risotto is probably not what comes first to mind. But it’s ready faster than you might think!
Risotto is a staple in our house no matter what season it is. Just change up the vegetables, whether you want to make zucchini risotto in the summer or butternut in the fall.
This spinach risotto is a great option for any season because it uses fresh baby spinach that is easily available year-round.
Add some crusty bread and you have a complete meal!
Why you’ll love spinach risotto
Simple method – If you can stir, you can make risotto. You can even have kids learn how to make this easy recipe.
Economical – No expensive cuts of meat needed here. This meatless dish is great for the pocketbook.
Guest-worthy – Cooking for just the fam? That’s OK! You deserve a dinner that seems fancy even on weeknights!
Customizable – Want to add more veggies or some meat? No problem! It’s easy to swap in your favorites or serve them on top.
A short grain rice mainly used for risotto, arborio is available at most grocery stores. Be sure to buy the plain arborio, not boxes of flavored “risotto.”
For this recipe, I recommend using fresh baby spinach. It does not need to be cut up before adding to the risotto, so you can’t beat the convenience!
You can also use large spinach leaves, but be sure to chop it into small pieces. One standard bunch of spinach should be enough for this recipe.
For fresh spinach, remember that as it cooks it will reduce in volume quite a bit. If you decide you want to add more spinach, go for it!
You can also use frozen chopped spinach if you like. Be sure to thaw it completely and drain as much of the excess water as you can before adding to the risotto.
If using bagged frozen spinach, thaw it directly in the bag and then poke a few holes in the bag to drain out the water. Squeeze the bag to get it all out!
Use vegetable broth to keep this recipe vegetarian. We’ll have it simmering in a pot as we make the risotto.
Don’t heat the broth in the microwave. It’s important to keep it simmering while the rice cooks — we don’t want to add cold broth to the hot rice, as it can slow down the cooking process and prevent the risotto from achieving the signature creamy, tender texture.
Wine is optional in risotto, but I love to use it. It helps deglaze the pan and adds wonderful flavor to the dish.
Use a wine that you enjoy drinking, not “cooking wine.” Because we only need ¼ cup, you’ll have plenty leftover to serve with dinner.
The alcohol in the wine will cook off, so this recipe is suitable for all ages. However, if you prefer, you can easily skip the wine and just use a little extra broth for deglazing the pan.
How to make creamy spinach risotto
Start by warming your broth in a saucepan. I set it over medium heat and then reduce as needed to keep it warm.
In a 5-quart pot, saute chopped shallot in olive oil over medium heat until translucent. You can also swap in onion if you prefer.
Stir in rice and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring constantly. You’ll notice the outer edge of the rice become more translucent while the center stays white.
Deglaze the pan with the wine, if using, Then, add 2 cups of the warm broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth about ½ cup at a time as the rice continues to cook.
Make sure you stir often to prevent the rice from sticking and allow it to cook evenly.
After about 15 minutes, taste the rice to see how cooked it is. Stir in the spinach, and keep adding broth, stirring, and cooking until the rice is tender but not mushy and spinach has wilted.
Stir in butter, lemon juice, and grated parmesan cheese, then taste and add salt and pepper to your liking.
The risotto will thicken more as it stands, so it’s best served immediately, with more cheese sprinkled over the top.
Leftover spinach risotto can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Reheated risotto will not have the same creamy texture as it absorbs more liquid as it sits. However, it’s no less delicious!
You can reheat it slowly in a saucepan with a little extra broth, or in the microwave to enjoy as is.
Or, use it to make your own arancini balls.
Want risotto for breakfast? Try my bacon and egg risotto, made in the Instant Pot!
I absolutely love this creamy spinach risotto recipe and you will too! It’s such a great comfort food and family-friendly dish.
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced shallot or onion
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 1/4 cup white wine, optional
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pour the broth into a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- In a larger saucepan, heat olive oil over medium. Add shallots and cook until translucent and tender.
- Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-4 minutes, or until the grains are mostly translucent around the edges and only the center is white. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, if using.
- Pour in 2 cups of the warm broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Make sure the rice isn't sticking to the bottom of then pan. Add more broth 1/2 cup at a time as you continue to stir and the rice absorbs the liquid.
- After 15 minutes of cooking, add the spinach and stir. It will wilt as it cooks. Continue to add broth, stirring and cooking, until the rice is tender but not mushy.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter, lemon juice, and parmesan. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately with extra cheese.