Posted by: thehungryrunner | March 19, 2008

A Healthy Spring Risotto Recipe

Those who know me know that I LOVE risotto.  And oddly enough, I actually prefer the taste and texture of my own “healthier” renditions of the various risotto recipes.  I typically add plenty of vegetables (my favorite being canned pumpkin, but that’s a recipe for another day), and enjoy letting the flavor of those as well as fresh herbs help give dimension to the dish, with just a little bit of cheese to retain that satisfying creamy “bite.”One of my favorite risotto recipes is my Lemony Spring Risotto.  I haven’t made it yet this year, but am looking to do so within the next week or so, given it’s such a nice way to welcome the warmer season:

Evamarie’s “Fitness Friendly” Lemony Spring Risotto

  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced into small pieces
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1-3/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1 quart fat-free chicken broth, plus 1 cup additional water
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (a Pinot Grigio works well, as does a Sauvignon Blanc)
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, bring the broth and water to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.  In a large nonstick saucepan sprayed with cooking spray, turn the heat on medium, then add half of the chopped onion and the garlic; drizzle 1 teaspoon of olive oil over it all and stir well.  Cook for about 10 minutes over medium heat until the onion softens, stirring often.  Add the arborio rice and another teaspoon of olive oil and stir well to coat.  Stir the rice over medium heat until the outer edges of the grains are translucent and there’s a white dot in the middle (about 2 minutes).  Add the wine and stir for about a minute.  Begin adding 1/2-cup increments of the hot broth, stirring after each one until it’s been absorbed by the rice.  In the meantime, bring a nonstick frypan sprayed with cooking spray up to medium heat, then add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, the other half of the chopped onion and the mushrooms, along with a little freshly ground black pepper.  Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms are tender, then turn the heat down to keep warm until the rice is finished cooking.  Getting back to the rice, once you’ve added the final 1/2 cup of hot broth, remove the rice from the heat and stir in the mushroom/onion mix, the fat-free cream cheese, the Parmesan, the lemon juice and grated rind, and the parsley.  Mix well until the cheese is integrated and melted.  Taste, add salt and pepper to your liking, and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

Light, zingy, creamy and flavorful — the best of all worlds!



  1. OMG -this was so yummy. I love that it was a healthy recipe too. I had the risotto along with some grilled swordfish and asparagus. I can’t wait to try different veggies and maybe some shrimp. For those who avoid risotto recipes because of all the stirring, the result was totally worth it!

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