Healthy Recipe: Winter Risottos

Paired with lean proteins, this winter warmer compliments many dishes with its intensity of flavor. Whether baked or cooked on the burner, this basic vegetarian risotto, with healthy greens and the brightness of lemon is a sure winner. We also have a great mushroom risotto as a second option.

Culinary Comforts Winter Risottos

Lemon, Pea and Asparagus Risotto



5 cups broth of your choice (vegetable or chicken work best)
1 Parmesan rind
Herbs of choice; basil, parsley, chives (whatever you have)


4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1-2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup asparagus pieces
5 Tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: sautéed chicken, shrimp or scallops



Place broth, rind, and herbs into a saucepan and bring to a simmer. You will need to keep this at a simmer throughout the cooking process.


Melt butter and olive oil in a pan over med-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until translucent; about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring until it starts to make a crackling noise and is well coated in the oil and onion mix. The plan is to ‘toast’ the rice and to keep it translucent.

Add 2-3 ladles of hot broth and stir to combine; when this is absorbed, add another ladle of broth and continue with this process for about 15 minutes. The risotto should be looking a little whiter and losing some of its transparency. Add the asparagus and stir; add another ladle of broth, and stir to combine. Continue as before for another 5 minutes. Add the peas, parmesan, salt, and pepper and stir cooking for another 3-5 minutes.

Taste the rice. It is cooked when it is still firm to the bite, though with outer softness. For a soupier risotto, add more broth and cook until the rice is soft to the bite.

Finishing: Turn off the heat, and add the lemon zest and juice. Rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Pair this with lean proteins which you can stir through at the end or serve on the side.


Yield: 8 servings w/chicken

Calories: 395
Total fat (g): 13
Protein (g): 22
Total Carbohydrate (g): 46
Total sugars (g): 3
Dietary fiber: (g) 2
Sodium (mg): 183

Oven-Baked Mushroom Risotto


¼ cup dried Porcini mushrooms
1 cup Cremini mushrooms, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 ¼ cups Arborio rice
¾ cup dry sherry
½ cup vegetable broth (or other)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tbsp grated parmesan



Preheat oven to 300 degrees and place 9” shallow dish into a warm oven.

Place the mushrooms into a bowl and cover with 2 cups of boiling water; soak for 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan, add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the fresh mushrooms and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes or until they have released their juices. While this is cooking, drain the Porcini mushrooms and reserve the liquid.

Add the rice to pan, pour in the sherry, the broth, and the mushroom liquid. Add salt and pepper and bring to a slow simmer. Pour into heated shallow dish and place uncovered, into the middle of the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then stir in the parmesan cheese and return to the oven for another 15 minutes. Consistency should be slightly soupy, and the rice should be soft to the bite.

Serve when hot and add extra parmesan cheese as desired.



Yield: 6 servings

Calories: 244
Total fat (g): 8
Protein (g): 5
Total Carbohydrate (g): 36
Total sugars (g): 2
Dietary fiber: (g) 1
Sodium (mg): 83

The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center has partnered with Bistro Elaia, University of Colorado Health and the CU Cancer Center to create cooking classes that teach you how to prepare healthier and tasty foods. Get ready to get creative in the kitchen and expand your culinary horizons. All classes are held at 5:30 pm in the Demonstration Kitchen on the first floor of our facility. RSVP for our next class here.

Culinary Comforts RSVP Asparagus Recipe Mushroom Recipe
Anschutz Health and Wellness Center