I'm always looking into developing easy recipes to try out, and this one definitely fits the bill. This Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Risotto recipe is both quick and easy to make but still has plenty of flavors. Best of all, it's perfect for a casual dinner party or even a romantic night in. Give it a try!
You're going to love this tomato basil risotto recipe.
We have always enjoyed making risotto, as it is our go-to dinner when we really have no clue what to have for dinner and just have an onion and maybe one or two fresh vegetables in the kitchen.
Our mushrooms risotto is one that we do either with dried mushrooms or fresh ones, just like this one.
We also make the famous Risotto Alla Milanese, which only needs a fresh onion; the rest we can find in our pantry.
It can also make a great side dish, in small portions.
🤔 Why you will love it?
You can make risotto with ingredients you have available in your pantry. Fresh ingredients needed: one onion and optionally fresh basil.
- It takes less than 30 minutes to make.
- Everything is made in one skillet.
- It is cheap.
- No fancy cookware is needed.
- It is a crowd-pleaser.
- Naturally gluten-free and vegan.
- Apt for most of the dietary restrictions.
- Carnaroli Rice (or Arborio Rice): Known for its high-starch content, this rice variety gives the risotto its signature creamy texture. Plus, it absorbs flavors like a champ, making every bite a flavor bomb.
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes: These little gems add a concentrated burst of tangy sweetness. They're like the sun-dried essence of summer in your risotto.
- Tomato Paste: This adds depth and richness to the dish, elevating it from good to "can't-stop-eating-this" great.
- Onion: The foundation of any good risotto, it adds a subtle sweetness and complexity. Think of it as the backstage crew that makes the stars shine.
- Garlic Cloves: A flavor powerhouse that brings a touch of aromatic goodness.
- Nutritional Yeast (or Parmesan Cheese if Vegetarian): Nutritional yeast brings in that cheesy, umami flavor without the dairy. It's like the vegan fairy godmother of your dish.
- Vegetable Broth: Not just a liquid but a flavor enhancer. It's the canvas on which all the other ingredients can paint their flavors.
- Olive Oil: It's the Mediterranean kiss that adds a silky, luxurious feel to your risotto. Also, it's heart-healthy, so it's like a hug for your arteries.
- Dry White Wine: Adds acidity and complexity, making the dish pop. It's like that unexpected plot twist in your favorite TV show.
- Fresh Basil: A sprinkle of green and a burst of herbal freshness.
Optional: ground black pepper and fresh cherry tomatoes.
Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.
Finely chop the onion and garlic.
Add dried tomatoes to veggie stock.
Put the vegetable stock to simmer with the chopped dried tomatoes in a medium saucepan.
Make sure you keep using hot broth throughout the cooking process to keep the rice temperature constant.
In a medium or large skillet, stir the chopped onion with two tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat until the onion looks translucent. Then add garlic.
Add the carnarolli rice, and stir frequently with a wooden spoon until it dries out.
Pour the white wine (⅓ cup white wine), until the wine is completely absorbed.
Add tomato paste to the chopped hydrated tomatoes, and stir frequently.
As soon as it dries, pour about one cup of vegetable stock. Keep stirring constantly. Reduce to low heat, add the tomato paste, keep adding the vegetable broth, and let the rice absorb it as soon as you notice that the rice starts to look dry.
Add the nutritional yeast, let it melt while stirring the tomato risotto, and add the basil leaves.
Top tip: Remember to keep stirring frequently while you add the hot broth throughout the whole cooking process, and add more as it gets absorbed by the rice; this is where the secret to making risotto is.
Finally, add some extra basil leaves and stir until the rice is cooked al dente. Drizzle some extra olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Let the risotto rice sit for a couple of minutes before serving to consolidate the flavors.
Optionally serve the risotto with extra nutritional yeast, homemade vegan parmesan cheese, or grated cheese.
💡 Tip on using dried tomatoes
Here in Italy, where we buy our tomatoes at the farmer's market, there are often different kinds. We usually go for the cheaper ones that are about 7.5 euros (8.5 dollars) for 2.2 lbs (1 Kg), since the other varieties cost twice as much.
The last time we asked the Nona (granny seller), she recommended we keep going for the cheaper option because they are more "Saporito" = tasty.
The other ones are more delicate in flavor and sweet.
BUT: you have to be careful; sun-dried tomatoes are often made with less or more salt, and these are SALTY, so we don't use any salt on our risotto, as they have plenty.
So, adjust salt and pepper to your liking at the end of the cooking process.
Carnarolli vs Arborio rice
As they say here in Italy, the best risotto is made with carnarolli rice, but arborio rice is also acceptable short-grain rice.
In fact, before arriving to live in Northern Italy, where risotto was born, I used to make risotto with arborio rice until I was repeatedly told that it was the second option if I could not find Carnarolli rice by any means.
I tried to compare the two several times, and yes, I can tell that you will definitely make a creamier risotto if you go for Carnarolli.
You can use fresh tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or San Marzano tomatoes. Just make sure you pick juicy tomatoes.
I often do, but this recipe was built with two things in mind:
- Make a delicious meal, with a minimal amount of fresh produce, for those days when your fridge is almost empty, but you still have an onion around.
- Making this delicious tomato risotto recipe, even in wintertime, we cannot make a fresh summery tomato risotto.
I often add a couple of charred cherry tomatoes to our tomato risotto when I still have some fresh tomatoes.
If you use fresh tomatoes, like San Marzano tomatoes, dice and add to the risotto immediately after adding wine.
You can also make this red sauce risotto with tomato sauce if you don't have concentrated tomato paste but have some Italian passata.
The tomato sauce will be consumed and reduced as you cook the risotto, creating the same effect.
You can use dried basil instead of fresh basil to make this tomato basil risotto, the result will be slightly different, as the fresh basil aroma is unique.
Still, you can definitely replace it with one tablespoon of the dried stuff.
If you are using tomato puree instead of tomato paste, you can also go for a tomato basil puree, so you have your basil fixed for additional convenience.
We have chosen to use nutritional yeast to make this tomato risotto vegan, and nutritional yeast is the best vegan tool to get that cheesy flavor that we all love.
If you are a vegetarian, you can replace it with the same quantity of grated parmesan cheese.
Extra-virgin olive oil
Same as above. Risotto is usually made with butter at the beginning of the process and a little butter at the end for the "mantecatura" (to give the finished dish an even creamier texture).
We use olive oil to keep the tomato risotto vegan because olive oil pairs well with tomatoes and fresh basil.
Tomatoes and tomato-based products have been linked to better skin health and decreased heart disease and cancer risk.
Tomatoes can improve a variety of foods, but they may also benefit your entire body. These nutrients can also help your skin's health and decrease wrinkles and inflammation.
But it is fully replaceable with vegan butter or margarine.
It is recommended to use a dry white wine variety such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot grigio. Although not considered a dry wine, I have successfully made my risottos with Ribolla Gialla, a mineral, fresh, and slightly fruity wine variety.
🥢 How to serve
We love scraping the goodness out of our plates, as every Italian does. Bread will always be on an Italian table... a good one.
🥡 Storage and Reheating guide
After you've satisfied your risotto cravings and you're looking at leftovers like they're a hidden treasure—fret not! Transfer the remaining risotto into an airtight container. Make sure to pop it in the fridge within two hours of cooking. It'll stay delicious for up to 5 days. Factoid: Rice stored properly in the fridge doesn't lose its nutritional value quickly.
Reheat & Eat:
When you're ready to dive back into creamy heaven, take your risotto out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. Spoon it into a non-stick pan and add a little splash of plant milk to revive its creaminess. Heat it on medium-low, stirring occasionally, until it's warmed through. Pro tip: Rice reheats best when it's not bone-chillingly cold.
Freeze the Feast:
Got more than you can chew? Risotto freezes surprisingly well for up to one month. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or zip-top bags. Label them with the date so you won't play the "guess the age" game later.
Thaw & Chow:
When you're ready to defrost, you've got two game plans:
- Thaw it in the fridge overnight and follow the above "Reheat & Eat" steps.
- Go straight from freezer to stovetop. Just place the frozen risotto in a non-stick pan, add a little more plant milk, and gently reheat on low until it's hot and creamy.
Enjoy round two—or three—of this delightful dish without compromising on taste or texture!
📚 More risotto recipes
Although considered a "primo piatto" or appetizer in Italy, risottos make the perfect vegetarian main dish.
Risottos are put together in 30 minutes or less with a few ingredients, so it is a great idea to have a good repertoire of risotto recipes.
These are a couple of our favorites also on this site.
The Risotto alla Milanese, is a great option for those who like Traditional Italian Cuisine.
Fall season? Why don't you put your mushrooms to good use with a Creamy Mushroom Risotto?
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Creamy Tomato Risotto Recipe
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste organic tomato concentrate
- 2 oz dried tomatoes 50 grams, chopped
- 1 cup carnarolli rice or arborio rice, 7 oz, 200 grams
- 1 onion chopped, or 3 spring onions
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 5 cups vegetable broth hot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus, optional extra to serve
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast or homemade vegan parmesan cheese
- 8 leaves basil fresh, more to garnish
- ⅓ cup white wine dry, optional
Optional for garnishing:
- 10 cherry tomatoes charred
- salt and pepper to taste or chili pepper flakes
- Broth Prep: Put your vegetable stock to simmer. If using store-bought granulated veggie stock, follow packaging instructions. Add the chopped dried tomatoes to hydrate in the broth.
- Onion & Garlic: Peel and finely chop your onions. Mince the garlic cloves.
- Risotto Base: On medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent, then add garlic. Add the risotto rice, stir until lightly toasted. Pour in the wine or ⅓ cup of vegetable broth, stirring until absorbed.
- Tomatoes: Using a colander, skim out the hydrated chopped dried tomatoes from the simmering broth and mix them into the rice.
- Add stock: Gradually stir in the vegetable broth, a bit at a time, making sure to stir frequently. Add the tomato paste next. Continue adding broth, ½ cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it before adding more.
- Seasoning: Around the 10-minute mark, mix in the nutritional yeast (or homemade vegan parmesan) and fresh basil.
- Finishing Touch: Once the rice reaches an 'al dente' texture, stir in the last tablespoon of olive oil. Remove from heat, let it sit for 2-5 minutes, then serve. Garnish with fresh basil, vegan parmesan, and a sprinkle of black pepper or chili flakes for some zing. Enjoy!
Transfer leftover risotto to an airtight container and store in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking. Keeps up to 5 days. Reheat & Eat:
Let the risotto come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Reheat in a non-stick pan on medium-low with a splash of plant milk, stirring until warmed through.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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