Herbed Vegan Risotto with Zoodles

  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 3½ cups risotto
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Risotto is a classic Italian dish that involves stirring Arborio rice with broth and aromatic herbs until the grains break down to create a deliciously creamy texture. While it may require a little extra effort, this plant-based version packs just as much flavor as traditional recipes that rely on cheese and butter. The savory shallots, zesty parsley, and basil-like tarragon meld together in the creamy rice that’s topped with juicy tomatoes and crunchy zoodles. Add a crack of black pepper on top, and you’re ready to dig into a hearty bowl of Italian comfort food.

Tip: Whether you make your own or purchase prepared zoodles, give them a snip with kitchen shears for easier eating.

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • ⅓ cup chopped shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ cups dry brown Arborio or short grain rice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups thin zucchini noodles
  • 1 cup halved red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes


  • In a large saucepan heat broth and 2 cups water until simmering. In a 5-quart pot cook shallots and garlic over medium 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Add rice; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until rice is toasted, stirring occasionally. Increase heat to medium-high. Add simmering liquid, ¾ cup at a time, to rice mixture, cooking and stirring frequently until liquid is absorbed. Continue adding simmering liquid in this way until all liquid is absorbed. (This will take 40 to 45 minutes total.) Remove from heat. Stir in parsley and tarragon. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve risotto in bowls topped with zucchini noodles, tomatoes, and additional pepper. If desired, sprinkle with additional fresh herbs.

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This was an excellent risotto base! Subbed basil for tarragon.

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
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