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Red Pepper Healthy Risotto with Cashew Cream

healthy risotto

Do you have experience cooking in a small kitchen? How about an itsy, bitsy, tiny kitchen that just so happens to be in the shape of a triangle?

When J and I first met together in student residence in France we did all of our cooking out of one pot like pan (that we used for everything) in a kitchen that we shared with 40+ other people. Though we now have much more than one pot like pan, I still make do with our small space – and we seem to be storing kitchen stuff everywhere. I literally have baking pans stored under the bed and kitchen appliances in our living room armoire!

pepper healthy risotto

I’m sharing this because you don’t need fancy appliances or even a big space to cook up seemingly fancy-pants meals like this Red Pepper Healthy Risotto πŸ˜‰ Though we did invest in a few kitchen appliances when moving in together we did not go overboard either, learning to make do with what we have until we are both no longer students! Though I own a food processor, I make do with a 10 euro immersion blender. 

Like most of the dinners on this blog, this Red Pepper Healthy Risotto is a simple and delicious one pot meal that can be made in any kitchen – big or small. And the cashew cream sauce can be made with an immersion blender (the least expensive blender I’ve come across on the market)! You’d be amazed everything you can make with a 10 euro blender and a good sturdy pan! πŸ˜€ 

red pepper healthy

the cashew cream

The key to this Red Pepper Healthy Risotto is sauteeing the rice in the red peppers and spices until the rice is a light golden brown, infusing the risotto rice with deep and rich flavours from the heat of the stove. Though this dish only takes around 20 minutes to prepare, the entire preparation for this Red Pepper Healthy Risotto is β€œhands-on”. Make sure to stir the risotto rice with the vegetable broth continuously, the starch from the rice creates a super creamy and delicious side dish without the addition of any cream or butter! Enjoy!

If you end up making this Red Pepper Healthy Risotto I love hearing about it! Insta or Tweet it to me (@cearaskitchen with hashtag #cearaskitchen) or Facebook it to me via the Ceara’s Kitchen Facebook Page! healthy risotto 

healthy risotto


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Red Pepper Healthy Risotto with Cashew Cream

  • Author: Ceara
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 4 - 6 servings 1x


This delicious Red Pepper Healthy Risotto makes a hearty, creamy and rich addition to any meal without any cream or butter!


  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 34 gloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1/8 cup water or 1 tbsp olive oil (*for sauteeing vegetables)
  • 2 red peppers, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (“risotto” rice)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Sea Salt + Pepper to taste
  • hot peppers for garnish (optional)

Fancy Pine Nuts

  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 tsp truffle or olive oil
  • Sea Salt to taste

Cashew Cream

  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 23 tbsp water


  1. Soak cashews in hot water while preparing the risotto.
  2. In a large and deep pan over medium high heat, sautee the diced onions and garlic with the basil and herbes de provence in olive oil (or water) until they begin to brown. Add chopped red peppers and sauteee for another couple minutes, adding a bit of extra olive oil or water if necessary.
  3. Add the arborio rice to the hot pan and sautee with the vegetables for a couple of minutes until the rice begins to turn a light golden brown. (*Sautee continuously to ensure that the rice does not burn).
  4. Add 2 cups of the vegetable broth and stir until the rice has soaked up the broth. Add a cup more broth and stir continuously until the rice has soaked up the broth. Add the additional 3 cups of vegetable broth, one at a time, using this same method.
  5. While cooking the rice, over medium heat, sautee pine nuts in truffle or olive oil for 1 -2 minutes until the pine nuts are golden brown. (*dry sautee pine nuts for an oil free version). Stir continuously – pine nuts burn very easily. Remove from heat and season with sea salt to taste.
  6. Once all the vegetable broth is soaked up into the rice, stir in the lemon juice and optional truffle oil. Add sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Cashew Cream

  1. Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Using an immersion blender, blend the cashews, lemon juice and water until a creamy and smooth mixture is formed. Add additional water, by the tablespoon, until the desired consistency is reached. Season with sea salt to taste.
  2. Stir the cashew cream into the risotto and serve with hot red peppers (optional) and fancy pine nuts.


Stir the rice continuously to ensure that the rice does not burn while cooking.
Use vegetable broth and leave out truffle oil to keep this recipe oil-free.
Leave out cashew cream and pine nuts for a nut free version.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: Italian

ceara s kitchen

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  1. Wow Ceara….this was amazing…like AMAZING. I was wanting to try cashew cream for ages…it was so delicious! I literally couldn’t stop myself from having seconds. I didn’t have pine nuts but I had mixed nuts which I chopped up and toasted – still fabulous! Thank you so much for your great vegan recipes. I really love remaking your dishes, they always come out delicious!

    1. SO happy you enjoyed this risotto, Tarryn!! πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for your kind words and sharing your beautiful photo on instagram as well πŸ™‚ xo

  2. Hi Ceara,

    I’ve subscribed to you, because I am looking for healthy, tasty, gluten free recipes that my daughter AND the whole family would enjoy. Look forward to my daughter and I making this. I am no culinary expert. Wondering the difference between truffle oil and olive.

    Thanks, CHERYLL

    1. Hi Cheryll,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and subscribing to my recipes! πŸ™‚ The difference of truffle oil and olive oil is that truffle oil is made from truffles (not the chocolate lol) and has a slightly stronger taste than olive oil! If you don’t have any on hand, olive oil would make a delicious sub πŸ™‚ Happy Cooking!

  3. I somehow missed this post Ceara! I love risotto!! This looks so delicious and I love one pot meals of course too, who doesn’t! Love the addition of red peppers, so good. My favorite risotto is my tomato risotto I make, but I totally need to try this one sometime. It looks incredible, especially with the cashew cream on top! YUM!

    1. Tomato risotto sounds delicious, Brandi!! I will have to try that out! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for the kind words as always!

  4. What an amazing risotto dish,Ceara. I could eat the entire batch alone. Love the addition of truffle oil and cashew paste too. Pinning! Greetings from Beirut!

    1. Thanks so much Cara! I love the idea of using barley or farro – sounds like I need to experiment with other grains πŸ™‚ I love making a similar dish with quinoa!

  5. Risotto is one of my favorite dishes to make, and I’m always looking for new ingredients to add to it. I love how you added cashew cream to this version! What a creative idea – I bet it makes the dish wonderfully creamy and flavorful. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. When we first moved to AZ we lived in a super tiny one room place that didn’t even really have a kitchen! It was awful and I hardly did any cooking. Our kitchen now isn’t super big, but at I’m glad to finally have more than a hot plate! This risotto sounds awesome and I love the cashew cream!

    1. I can imagine your happy to cook with just more than one hot plate – that takes the need for one pot meals to a whole new level! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

  7. I’m diggin the cashew creme in this risotto, Ceara! Add the red peppers, herbs and truffle oil and wow; a one dish fabulous meal indeed! I love the creaminess and texture of arboro too, it does feel gourmet, and oh so decadent! Thank you for this, Ceara! Have a beautiful weekend!

    1. Thanks so much for the kinds words, Traci!! I couldn’t agree more – Arboro rice does feel so decadent! πŸ˜€ Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. Oh Yum! I’ve actually never made a vegan risotto before and I have no idea why. In my vegetarian days I loved it with all the Parmesan sprinkled on top πŸ™‚ Adding the cashew cream is a brilliant way to subsitute it. Looks soo good. Putting this on my list of recipes to try. I actually already have arborio rice at home that I usually use for paella. I’m sure the fam will be happy to see me use it in a different recipe! I’ll post it when i make it πŸ™‚

    1. Yay! This was my first time making a vegan risotto as well and I was seriously blown away with the results πŸ™‚ No cream or butter needed at all πŸ˜‰ Let me know how it turns out! I hope you and your family love it!

      1. Just realized that I never gave you major props for this recipe. I’ve made it three times now and it is so incredibly good! Definitely becoming one of my staple recipes that I’ll make over and over again. Thanks for this Ceara! You’re incredible πŸ˜‰

        1. Vanessa! That make me honestly SO happy! It’s the best when you find a recipe that just becomes a good ol’ dinner staple and I’m happy that this risotto has become exactly that for you!!! <3 Thanks for the feedback and hope you are having an awesome week! <3 πŸ˜€

  9. Risotto is my weakness, Ceara! I can’t believe that I’ve never made it before! I definitely need to try out this recipe. It looks fantastic! Not only are red peppers one of my favorite veggies, but I’m so impressed that there’s no butter or cream in here. Every time I eat risotto, I think of all the fat that I’m ingesting in just one spoonful! πŸ™‚ Haha not the most pleasant thought, but I love this healthy version! Pinned and can’t wait to try out! Have a great rest of the week, friend!

    1. Thanks, Gayle!!! Risotto is my weakness as well! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make! Have a great weekend my friend! πŸ™‚

  10. Hey Ceara, you are reading my mind! I ate rice three times this week and was looking for a new recipe to test! This one sounds healthy and delicious! Pinned!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and pin! Rice is such a staple in my diet too – I’m always looking for new ways to spice it up! Hope you enjoy it! Have a great weekend!

  11. LOVE risotto and this looks awesome Ceara! I just posted a cashew cream fettuccine Alfredo on Veganosity. We must be on the same wavelength in regards to food. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try your recipe!

    1. Thanks so much, Linda!! We must be on the same wave length! Your cashew cream fettucine Alfredo on Veganosity has my mouth watering! I am looking forward to having it for dinner this weekend πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

  12. Red peppers are my ultimate weakness….just one of the many things I love about this unique dish Ceara! I’m new into the risotto scene but am loving it! And that cashew cream, totally intriguing! Hope you have a marvelous weekend!!!!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words as always, Laura! I LOVE red peppers as well πŸ™‚ This dish reminded me that I need to cook with them more often! Have a wonderful weekend as well!!

    1. Cashew cream is such a yummy addition to this dish!!! It’s so creamy and yummy! πŸ™‚ Thanks for the kind words and pin!

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