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Easy Pink Beet Risotto

Feb 11, 2023 | 2 comments

Get ready to fall in love with this vibrant, pretty in pink beet risotto. With creamy feta, zesty lemon, crunchy, toasty walnuts and a quick hack for cutting down prep time, this vegetarian dish is perfect for weeknights or special occasions.

Bright pink beetroot risotto in a white bowl, with feta, lemon peel and walnuts on top with a silver spoon.

Most recipes for beet (beetroot) risotto use raw beets, which you then have to roast for over an hour. While this is undeniably delicious – and wonderful when they’re in season – I love the ease of my version which uses pre-cooked beets. It cuts the prep time RIGHT down and means you can have it on the table in no time. And truly, I don’t think it makes a difference to the final risotto.

Risotto isn’t necessarily a quick dish to make – but it is very easy. I know it gets a bad rap, but that’s just because it’s a recipe you need to pay a little attention to as it cooks. But all that means is you have to stir. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to stir it CONSTANTLY. It’s perfectly fine if you step away for a minute (perhaps to grab yourself a glass of wine!)

The base risotto here is very simple and classic, but the addition of beets, creamy feta, walnuts and lemon at the end transforms it into something very special. While the vibrant pink colour of the beets is one of my favourite parts of this dish, the flavour combination is SO delicious. The beets bring a delicate sweetness to the risotto, which is balanced beautifully by the creamy feta, zesty lemon and toasty, crunchy walnuts. It’s VERY moreish and I hope you love it as much as I do.

This is also a lovely option for a date night (hello Valentine’s Day) and makes a seriously show-stopping dinner party main (plus I’ll share how to easily prep it ahead of time so you can enjoy your night with your guests!

Ingredients

There aren’t any fancy ingredients here – everything you’ll be able to find at a regular store, and I’ll share some easy swaps you can make if you like.

Ingredients for beetroot risotto laid out on a grey marble background and labelled.
  • Beets (beetroot). For ease, this recipe uses pre-cooked beets rather than requiring you to roast raw beets until tender. This cuts the prep time right down and is a great way to be able to make the recipe year-round. You can roast raw beets for this recipe though – you’ll need 3 whole beets, wrapped in foil and roasted for 1.5 hours at 360F/180C.
  • Rice. Arborio or carnaroli rice is what you need here, the recipe relies on rice with a high starch content to create that ultra-creamy consistency we’re after.
  • Feta. Use goat’s cheese if you like, or ricotta for a milder flavour. If you want something even stronger, creamy blue cheese is also delicious.
  • White wine. Use white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice if you don’t want to use wine. You could also use red wine.
  • Stock. I’m using vegetable stock, but you can use chicken stock if you like.

OPTIONAL: I LOVE adding fish sauce to basically, anything and everything. It just adds a unique depth of flavour (and isn’t fishy at all) and it’s one of my favourite secret, umami-boosting ingredients. If you’re not a fish sauce fan, or you’re vegetarian, you can skip it but you may need to add another teaspoon of salt.

How to make it

First, blitz your beets into a super smooth puree. I find my blender does the best job at this, but you could also use a food processor, or if you don’t have either, you can just chop the beets up super finely. Get your diced onion, butter and salt in either a wide, high-sided pan or a deep saucepan. You just want something that has high sides. Once that’s looking softer and the onions are more transparent, add the garlic and fish sauce if you’re using it, give it a stir, then add the wine and let it bubble up for a minute so the alcohol burns off.

Add the arborio rice and stir it through, and then you can start adding your stock.

Add a ladleful of hot stock to the pan with your rice, then stir until the stock is absorbed into the rice. At this point, add another ladleful of stock, then stir again. Continue like this, until you’ve used all but about a ladleful of the stock. Taste the risotto – the rice should now be ALMOST al dente (cooked, but with a little bite to it).

At this point, turn the heat off, then add the beet puree. Stir it through the risotto and marvel at the gorgeous colour change! Turn the heat back to low and add the last ladleful of stock, along with the parmesan. Let the parmesan melt on top of the risotto for a minute, then stir it through. This will just add another layer of lovely flavour and a creamier consistency to the risotto.

Remove the risotto from the heat and divide it between plates. Scatter over the feta, toasted walnuts, lemon zest and thyme leaves and eat right away!

Have any leftovers? Make cheesy, mozzarella-stuffed arancini balls! I like to add a little feta to the mozzarella in the middle when I’m using this risotto and serve it with my favourite 2-minute gochujang aioli.

How to make risotto ahead of time

This genius technique is something I learned during my time at Le Cordon Bleu in London, and is how they do it in restaurants.

  • Cook the risotto until you’ve added about 2/3 of the stock to the rice. At this point, spread the risotto out onto a baking paper lined oven tray and pop it in the fridge so it cools quickly and doesn’t continue to cook.
  • Then when you’re ready to serve, add it back into your pan and set it back over the heat, adding the remaining stock until it’s al dente. Continue with the rest of the recipe, adding the beetroot puree, parmesan, thyme and lemon.

This is the PERFECT hack for dinner parties or entertaining so you don’t have to be standing over the stove while your guests are around!

Bright pink beetroot risotto in a white bowl, with feta, lemon peel and walnuts on top with a silver spoon.

Got a question?

What’s the secret to creamy risotto?

It really is as simple as stirring your rice! Arborio or carnaroli rice is laden with starch, and that starch creates a lovely creamy consistency when it’s ‘agitated’ as the grains rub against each other (aka, when they’re stirred). That’s why it’s important you stir risotto.

Can I use raw beetroot?

Yes! This recipe is a wonderful way to make use of beetroot when it’s in season. You’ll need 3 for this recipe. I like to trim the stalks from the beetroot, and then wrap them individually in aluminium foil. Pop into the oven and roast for about an hour at 200C/400F fan, or until you can easily pierce them with a knife. Leave them to cool slightly, then unwrap and you should be able to easily take the skin off with your hands. Then just chop them up ready to be pureed for the recipe.

What’s the best way to store and reheat risotto?

Store the risotto in a covered container in the fridge for up to five days, then just reheat either in the microwave (heat it in 1-minute intervals) or on the stovetop over low heat. The rice will keep absorbing liquid as it sits so you’ll want to add a little water (1 or 2 tablespoons) as you heat it, just to loosen it up.

What can I serve with the risotto?

To up the protein levels of the risotto, add some grilled chicken or tofu, or you can serve it with roasted vegetables, a simple green salad, or some lovely fresh bread, like my easy no-knead chilli cheese focaccia. I also like to mix through spinach leaves when adding the parmesan at the end to add some extra nutrients.

Watch how to make it

Like this recipe? Here are some other easy pastas to try

If you make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you! You can leave me a comment below.

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Bright pink beetroot risotto in a white bowl, with feta, lemon peel and walnuts on top with a silver spoon.

Easy Pink Beet Risotto


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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Get ready to fall in love with this vibrant, pretty in pink beet risotto. With creamy feta, zesty lemon, crunchy, toasty walnuts and a quick hack for cutting down prep time, this vegetarian dish is perfect for weeknights or special occasions.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 ready-cooked beets (not packed in vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 1/4 cups arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4.5 cups vegetable stock, hot
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • A handful of fresh thyme leaves

Instructions

  1. Make the beet puree. Blitz your beets in a blender or food processor until a smooth puree forms. If it’s getting stuck, add a little water to help it get moving. You should end up with about 3/4 cup. Set it aside for later, then start the risotto.
  2. Cook the onion and garlic. Melt the butter in a large, high-sided pot or pan, and add the diced onion and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, until the onion is softening nicely and starting to change colour (it’ll look more transparent). At this point, add the garlic and fish sauce, then stir for another minute. Pour in 1/2 cup of wine and let it bubble up for a minute so the alcohol cooks off. Add the rice and stir until every grain is well coated.
  3. Stir the risotto. Add the hot vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time and stir as the stock absorbs into the rice. Once it’s absorbed, add another ladleful. Continue in this way until the rice is JUST about al dente (cooked but still with a bite to it). At that point, you should have roughly 1 ladleful of stock left. Turn the heat off, then add the beet puree, lemon zest and juice, then stir it through the risotto (and marvel at the glorious colour!). Turn the heat back on to low, then add the last ladleful of stock and the parmesan. Let the parmesan let it sit on top of the risotto for a minute to start melting, then stir it through.
  4. Garnish and serve. Divide the risotto between plates, then top with a good crumbling of feta, toasted walnuts, the remaining lemon zest and thyme leaves.

Notes

INGREDIENT NOTES: Don’t use ready-cooked beets sitting in vinegar – this will alter the flavour of the risotto. You can roast raw beets if you prefer (this is great when they’re in season!) Trim the stalks from 3 large beets, then wrap them individually in aluminium foil. Roast them at 400F/200C fan for about 1.5 hours, or until you can easily pierce them right through with a knife. Let them cool, then remove the skin (this should be easy and they should kind of slip off if they’re soft enough. Chop them up then blitz them into a puree, and continue with the recipe. Use goat’s cheese or ricotta instead of feta if you like, and use chicken stock if you’re not vegetarian. If you don’t want to use wine, use apple cider vinegar or more lemon juice. If you don’t use the fish sauce, add another teaspoon of salt.

STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: The risotto will keep well in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The rice will keep absorbing liquid as it sits, so when you reheat it, add a little water to help loosen things up (start with 1 tablespoon). You can reheat it gently on the stovetop over low heat, or in the microwave at 1-minute intervals.

HAVE LEFTOVERS? Make mozzarella-stuffed arancini! These moreish fried risotto balls are an amazing snack or party bite, and they’re the perfect way to use up a little leftover risotto. I love to add feta to the gooey mozzarella centre for arancini using beetroot risotto.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Category: rice
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

Welcome!

I’m Kate, the creator behind Dished. I love creating flavour packed, simple (ish) recipes for you, designed for every day and special occasions.

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2 Comments

  1. Alexis

    Delicious – was worried it would be too beetrooty but was perfect!!






    Reply
    • Kate Alexandra

      Yay!! Yes exactly – it’s really not strong at all x

      Reply

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