Lemon Risotto with Asparagus & Peas

A healthy weekend meal that's spring on a plate: tender, yet crunchy, green vegetables over bright, creamy lemon rice. Gluten-free. Vegan option.

Lemon Risotto with Asparagus and Peas // loveandlemons.com

This dish to me is spring on a plate: tender yet crunchy green vegetables with bright, creamy lemon rice. The part you don’t see in this tidy photo is the arguing and bickering that went on behind the scenes.

Jack isn’t (yet) the biggest fan of asparagus or peas, and he threw a mini tantrum when I quickly tossed in handfuls of both of these vegetables near the end of his risotto-stirring duty. I can’t recall exactly how it went because it was a fight about nothing (the good ones always are) but some of the remarks that flew around were “come on you just think you won’t like it!” and “now you’re just cooking for the blog!”, and “really you’re going to walk out that door over peas!

It really was a pointless argument because in the end he loved this meal (I win), but I’m not one to gloat…

This really is one of the most delicious risottos we’ve made. There’s a technique in this recipe that is absolute genius. I can’t take credit for it, but I’m excited to share it nonetheless. When your stirring is all done… the part where you would normally add more butter or handfuls of cheese to create your final creamy risotto texture, stir in a whisked egg yolk instead. It creates the most luscious texture and rich flavor without all the extra butter and cheese. It’s so delicious you’ll even be able to sneak in a few extra green vegetables.

lemon risotto with asparagus & peas

Serves: serves 2
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 3 cups veggie stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter (I use non-dairy butter)
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 1 small lemon, zest and juice
  • ½ cup peas (or however much you like)
  • 1 cup asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 basil leaves, chopped
  • handful of sprouts
  • salt & pepper
  • sun dried tomatoes (optional)
  • shaved parmesan or pecorino (optional)
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • water or more stock, if needed
  1. Put veggie stock in a pan on the stove and simmer.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat butter, oil, onion, garlic, and a few pinches of salt. Cook until onion is soft, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add rice, stir together, and let the rice toast for about 1 minute.
  4. Add white wine and half the lemon juice and let it cook, stirring for about 2 minutes until the wine is somewhat evaporated.
  5. Add stock, one ladle full at a time, stirring continuously. When stock becomes mostly cooked down, add the next ladle full. This process should take about 20 minutes. Add more stock or water if necessary. During the last few minutes of this process, add in asparagus and peas.
  6. Remove pan from heat. Mix in sun dried tomatoes, remaining lemon juice, lemon zest (reserve a bit for garnish at the end), beaten egg yolk, and cheese (if using). Stir together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add more hot stock if necessary to reach your desired consistency.
  7. Scoop into bowls and garnish with lemon zest, sprouts, basil, red pepper flakes & grated cheese, if you like.
adapted from Leite's Culinaria




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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Laura

    Hi, I’m excited to make this recipe as it perfectly fits what I have on hand right now. Do the peas and asparagus go in raw, or should they be cooked first?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Laura, raw (peas from frozen) in the last few minutes, they cook quickly so a few minutes in the hot risotto will cook them. They’re done when they’re bright green and tender. I like my asparagus with a bit of a snap, before it becomes mushy.

      • Laura

        Thank you! I just made this this weekend and it was excellent!

        • Jeanine Donofrio

          I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Poli

    Hi there. I made this risotto last night. What a treat!!! I added leaks with the onions in the beginning. Fantastic. Will definitely make it again. Your website is very beautiful and I cant wait to try more recipes! 🙂

  3. Mary Kate

    Can I pull this off w/ regular brown rice?

    • jeanine

      I’ve never tried making risotto with brown rice, so I can’t say 100%… but I’ve made farro risotto recently which was delicious, so I’m inclined to say that brown rice would be fine. Let me know!

  4. Brain Goetzinger

    Asparagus has been used as a vegetable and medicine, owing to its delicate flavour, diuretic properties, and more. It is pictured as an offering on an Egyptian frieze dating to 3000 BC. Still in ancient times, it was known in Syria and in Spain. Greeks and Romans ate it fresh when in season and dried the vegetable for use in winter; Romans would even freeze it high in the Alps, for the Feast of Epicurus. Emperor Augustus reserved the “Asparagus Fleet” for hauling the vegetable, and coined the expression “faster than cooking asparagus” for quick action.^

    Have a look at all of the most recent posting at our very own web blog

  5. Beth Price

    What a luscious photo with those bright spring vegetables. We’re so pleased that we were able to provide a bit of inspiration. Check out some other recipes from the book in “Cook: In a Class of Your Own” – all the recipes we tested were keepers. You have a lovely blog and we will be dropping by again.

    • jeanine

      wow, thank you! 🙂

  6. Jeanine, this risotto is calling my name. I love the seasonal veggies! Glad to hear you won the argument (sorry Jack). Asparagus and Peas should never be ignored!

  7. What a great idea! 🙂 I’m going to go buy some fresh asparagus tomorrow and make this dish this upcoming weekend. Looks fantastic!

    ps. love your stories *hehe* So cute!

  8. This looks so delicious! Just printed it out… It’s on the menu for tomorrow’s dinner. 🙂

  9. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com

    Looks wonderful! I’m excited to see everyone diving into the spring asparagus this week. Fresh veg for all!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.