Asparagus Leek Risotto Recipe

Asparagus Leek Risotto - Gluten-Free and Vegan
Creamy asparagus risotto  for spring.

May I just take a moment and express my deep appreciation for risotto? And tender-crisp spring asparagus? A week like we've had triggers a need for comfort food- but not the heavy, spice laced comfort food of winter. Something fresh and light and creamy. Asparagus risotto to the rescue. It's been a roller coaster week for us. From opening a bottle of Veuve Clicquot to learning that our buyer had run into a snag. He missed the deadline for obtaining a mortgage. We remain hopeful and knee deep in book stacks and boxes, however. He's still trying. Still interested.

And us? We're practicing our best zen detachment.

With bourbon.

Asparagus Leek Risotto - Gluten-Free and Vegan
One of my favorite risottos- simple and elegant.

Asparagus Leek Risotto Recipe

My risotto is a vegan risotto. No butter. No cheese. If you aren't dairy/casein free like I am, you could add grated Parmesan at the end of cooking. But honestly? I did not miss the cheese. I loved the fresh creamy taste of this vegan risotto. Clean and subtle. It tasted like Spring.


A bundle of thin asparagus- about 16 to 20 spears
4 cups fresh hot water or very light broth
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
2 inches or so of a leek, diced fine
1 cup raw organic Arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley


Wash and slice the asparagus, cutting on the diagonal about 3 inches down from the tip (you don't want your asparagus too long). Pour a scant amount of water into a skillet and quickly blanch the asparagus- when it turns bright green, remove it from the pan, and rinse with very cold water to keep it from cooking longer. You don't want soggy asparagus. Set aside.

To make the risotto:

Heat the water or light broth in a separate sauce pan, and keep it warm.

In a heavy medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium heat, and sauté the diced leek for a minute. Add the uncooked Arborio rice and stir well, until the rice is coated. Stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add the white wine and stir until most of the wine is cooked off.

Pour in 1 cup of the hot water or broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring frequently for 7-8 minutes.

When most of the liquid is absorbed, add the remaining cups of hot water or broth 1 cup at a time, stirring and simmering until each cup of liquid is absorbed before adding the next one. (The whole process should take about 20-25 minutes; 22 minutes is my goal for al dente; if you cook risotto too long or with too much liquid it may get gummy.)

When the final cup of liquid is absorbed gently add in the blanched asparagus, cover and set aside for a few moments before serving. Risotto likes to rest a bit.

Warm up four serving bowls. Spoon the risotto into the bowls, and garnish with some fresh chopped Italian parsley.

Serves 4.

Asparagus Risotto

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Karina's Notes:

Some cooks like to toss in the asparagus near the end of cooking the risotto, but I prefer my asparagus a bit more crisp-tender. If you like yours softer, add it in near the end of the cooking and stirring phase.

Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice near the end to add some citrus. Change out the chopped Italian parsley for fresh mint, if you like.

Spoon leftovers into a gratin dish and reheat for twenty minutes. We baked our leftovers drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, with pieces of wild salmon added.

More spring risotto recipe inspiration from fellow food bloggers:

Asparagus Risotto from Cooking with Amy
Spring Risotto with Lemon, Asparagus and Peas from Pink of Perfection
Baked Asparagus Risotto- No Stirring from Chez Lou Lou
Asparagus Lemon and Feta Risotto from Eat Like a Girl
Asparagus Risotto from Simply Recipes
Asparagus and Meyer Lemon Risotto from Baking Bites

Recipe Source:

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  1. Well now I have to change my menu for this week! This looks amazingly fresh and good!

  2. Anonymous15:15

    OMG, Karina, I am sooo sorry for you. I was so happy for you you could finally move to California, and now... Keeping my fingers crossed for you, harder than ever :-)

  3. Karina - my fingers are crossed and I'm holding my breath for you - but in the meantime -what a BEAUTIFUL dish you've made!

  4. MMMMmmmmmmmmm, sounds/looks so yummy!

    Sorry for your home sale woes. And Mercury doesn't go into retrograde for two more weeks! Even those nasty shadow days don't start until the 23rd. Go figure.

    Lots of luck and bourbon!

  5. That does sound wonderfully delicious and simple.

  6. Oh my...this is making me smile! And swoon!

    Fingers/toes/eyes crossed that this comes through and you will be moving soon!

  7. moonwatcher00:40

    This looks so beautiful and delicious, Karina, as does the previous carrot soup. I am putting both on my "to make" list. I'm sorry to hear about the snag and hope it can be ironed out soon. In the meantime, here's to a healthy juxtaposition of Zen detachment and Bourbon to get you through the gauntlet!

    all the best,


  8. it's so spring-like! love asparagus.

  9. Can I tell you I have been thinking about making an asparagus risotto all week! This recipe is just in the nick of time.

    Good luck with the house-selling...I can only imagine how frustrating it must be.

  10. Funny - I just made an asparagus and leek risotto last week too! It's the time of year, I guess. Instead of parsley, I added a pinch of nutmeg. And then, though it sounds weird, we all ended up putting a few tiny dots of hot sauce on our servings. It brought out the flavor of the nutmeg and leeks really nicely.

  11. risotto! oh my goodness...a perfect welcome for spring with the asparagus...
    I hope everything works out good for you! hold on there!

  12. hoping the buyer gets his morgage.

    Question on the 2" of leek. White part or all green part?

    thanks! sounds delicious.

  13. Asparagus risotto, sometimes with a few shrimp mixed in, is one of my two all-time favorites (mushroom is the other). Love the idea to mix it with leeks for added sweetness.

    Now I am going to wave my magic wand and make the house woes go away.

  14. mmm, this dish is giving me a comforting hug in my mind! i love it. it's just what i need this weekend!

  15. Great looking dish! Can't wait to try it.
    And for the record....bourbon is never wrong.

  16. Really a fantastic sounding dish. As for the house, I am still keeping my fingers crossed!

  17. Love the simplicity of this, and anything that tastes like Spring is appealing to me!

  18. Glad you all enjoy these simple, rustic dishes. Thank goddess for risotto.


    Bridget I start with the white tip of the leek- and usually get a bit into the light green.

    Thank you all for your kind support- the house sale officially failed. Back to square one.

    After two years trying to sell, I'm like a kid riding in the back seat.

    Are we there yet?

    Karina xox

  19. I confess that I've never made risotto, but this recipe looks very doable and it's definitely asparagus season. So, win-win. :-)

    I'm terribly sorry about the house deal falling through, but if that fellow wanted it, maybe there's another right behind him. Fingers crossed for you, Karina.


  20. Hi Karina,
    Just wanted to congratulate you on your tastebook and contiued success. i always know where to find yummy answers to my questions.
    really inspirational.

  21. Just discovered you through twitter and came to your blog. Thanks for the wonderful recipes and information. Plus greetings from a fellow New Mexican! Roberta

  22. The presentation looks Japanese to me for some odd reason. Could be the ceramic ware you used and the way you very neatly arranged the asparagus spears on top of it!

  23. I just made this dish and it was De-Lish. My husband gasped. I served it with some local Long Island flounder that we got at the FM today.

    Only difference was I used a chicken/vegetable stock that I'd made from our last Hudson Valley bird. I found that I needed to add a little bit more stock (in my case H20 b/c I was out of defrosted stock) than the recipe called for -- might have just been my kernels.

    Thanks for the wonderful suggestion!

  24. Your risotto looks so creamy, and the green asparagus on top makes a beautiful picture. It looks delicious!

  25. Sorry about the house and hoping things change soon for the better.

    Simple dishes like this make the best meals! Made a version of this for dinner tonight with asparagus, some green onions, peas and diced zucchini. (Must admit that I added some Parmesan)

    I'm a bit late in thanking you for the link to my Baked Risotto recipe. Thank you!

  26. Karina,

    Your food blog is a God send. My sister was diagnosed with Celiac a few years ago and made that transition mostly okay, but just last week was told she needs to go on a full IBS diet as well. So no dairy or eggs or red meat on top of no gluten. She made this the other day and was so excited to still be able to make "good food" that meets her diet restrictions. I'm going to make the Chicken Corn Chowder this weekend and have her and her husband over for dinner. Thank you so much for the experimenting that you do, and sharing it with the rest of us. :D

    Oh and this lovely jem of a recipe isn't listed on your GF/CF list. Did I miss something on the ingredient list? Or did it just get skipped when you put the list together?

  27. Thanks, everyone- glad you enjoy risotto as much as I do. xox

    Becca- Thanks- and thanks for heads up on the index omission- this is indeed a gluten-free casein-free recipe (all my recipes since the summer of 2007 are GF/CF). Just added it. xox

  28. Hayke08:18

    made this a couple days ago-it was delish!!! My kids (ages 2 and 3) gobbled it down.

  29. I made this last week and absolutely loved it! Thank you for posting the recipe.

  30. Natalie15:41


    You have been such a source of inspiration and delight - I thank you a million times over as does my gluten free daughter who is so much happier since your recipes appeared on the scene. How you capture the light in such an extraordinary way in all of your photos is magical.
    Sadly my efforts are often far from picture perfect, but tasty nonetheless!

    Have you tried cooking risotto in a pressure cooker? I am an avid convert after many years of childless meditative stirring. However with two young children around I abandoned risotto for some years until the magic of seven minutes in a pressure cooker opened the door once more... will be trying this one soon!