Sometimes decadence is important. And this leek risotto is decadent. And important.
Don’t get us wrong – we eat healthy food all the time, and know the incredible value of it. It’s imperative to our well-being and health. Nutrition is something we take seriously, and indeed, pride ourselves on.
And sometimes we know when to just focus on the sheer enjoyment of food. After many years of eating veggie and an arsenal of hundreds of great recipes, it’s awesome to just sit down and enjoy a comforting meal.
We also know that some people miss meat, or that they’re cooking for partners and families who still eat meat, but want to make a meal they’ll all enjoy. This leek and cheese risotto is one of those meals.
Super speedy leek risotto
It’s also true that time is often limited, and not everybody wants to spend hours in the kitchen on a single recipe. We love finding ways to hurry the food up whenever we can, and risotto is one place it’s very possible.
Contrary to popular belief, and as we found out in this great broth experiment, the broth does not need to be ladled in one spoon at a time. You can throw it all in (or nearly all in) at the beginning and move on to other tasks.
Don’t have any? That’s ok! We’re not saying cheddar cheese must be added to this recipe, but it really is awesome when sprinkled on top of the finished risotto. Naughty, but excellent. This is a leek and cheese risotto after all!
Cheddar cheese is also one of the cheeses most likely to contain microbial (or artificial) rennet, as opposed to animal rennet, making it ideal for our creamy vegetarian risotto recipe.
Animal rennet is a horrible ingredient taken from the stomach of slain baby animals (usually a cow) and something we try to avoid at all costs. It’s always worth checking the packaging.
Ok, any more tips for this leek risotto recipe?
Yep, one more. A good risotto falls on its flavours and the herbs here are paramount. We also understand it’s not always practical or cost-effective to buy fresh herbs (or indeed a plant) for each herb you need.
We highly recommend keeping a good stock of dried herbs around – or even frozen ones. Frozen tend to keep their flavour well and last for aaaaaages in the freezer. So many recipes can be levelled up by choosing and using the right herbs.
Health benefits of leeks
Okay, let’s be real here, this creamy leek risotto is not as healthy as our usual recipes, but it does feature an ingredient that just doesn’t get enough press; the humble leek.
Not only do they add a delicate onion flavour and unique texture to a dish, leeks also come with a variety of health benefits.
Leeks are rich in the flavonoid kaempferol, which may support the cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases.
In terms of vitamins and minerals, leeks are an excellent source of vitamin K which can support healing and may keep bones healthy. They also contain vitamins A, C and B6, and the minerals iron and manganese. All this, and they are a great source of dietary fibre!
Leek and pea risotto FAQ’s
Whilst we can’t imagine much of this creamy, cheesy risotto will be left once you taste it, we’ve covered some of the most common risotto related questions including tips to store and enjoy it another day. If you have any other questions just let us know in the comments.
What is risotto rice?
Risotto rice is a starchy, short grain variety of rice which creates that wonderful creamy texture you experience in a risotto. The most common varieties are Carnaroli and Arborio. Whilst you can use other types, we do recommend using risotto rice if you can get your hands on it for the best result.
Does the vegetable broth need to be warm for risotto?
Ideally yes, you should add warm broth as this means the temperature of the pan is not lowered when you add it in (which could interrupt the cooking process.)
How long will leek risotto keep in the fridge?
You can refrigerate a creamy risotto for a day (and enjoy looking forward to it for dinner the next evening!) Since we are dealing with rice, ideally your risotto should be cooled and either stored in the fridge or frozen within an hour of being cooked.
Can risotto with cream cheese be frozen?
Yep, although you may find that the texture is not quite as good as it is when freshly cooked. You can store risotto in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Can risotto be reheated?
Yes, you can reheat it in the microwave or on the hob but ensure that the risotto is piping hot all the way through before tucking in. You should also only reheat risotto once.
If you’re struggling to go vegetarian or vegan and need more tips on what to look out for then check our 30 Day Challenges. Go here for the Vegetarian Weight Loss Transformation and here for the Vegan Challenge. We make both routes easy and will show you all the traps to avoid!
Comforting Leek Risotto with Cream Cheese
- ½ cup risotto rice
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth
- ½ leek
- 1 small onion
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup peas, frozen
- ⅓ cup cream (⅓ cup = 100ml)
- 2.5 oz low fat cream cheese (2.5oz = 75g; or use regular if you prefer)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian) (make sure to check for a no-fish version)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp basil, fresh
- 1 tbsp parsley, fresh
- 1 tbsp oregano, fresh (for all the herbs, dried or frozen are fine if fresh are unavailable)
- ½ cup white wine (mega tasty)
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese (for garnish, mega tasty)
- Give the rice a quick rinse – we don’t need this one too starchy.
- Slice the leek and onion and fry in olive oil in a big pan on medium heat for about 5 Minutes.
- Add the risotto rice and fry for another 2 minutes.
- If using, throw in the white wine and stir until dissolved.
- Add ¾ of the veggie broth. Let everything cook for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is ready. If it goes dry before the rice is ready, add more broth.
- When the rice is ready, turn the heat off. Add the frozen peas, cream and cream cheese, soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce and basil, parsley and oregano. Give it a good stir making sure all is mixed together well.
- Turn the heat back and cook on a med-high heat for another 5 minutes. This gives a chance for the sauce to become thick, and the flavours to fully come out. Add salt and pepper to taste. Just don’t let it burn – stir occasionally!
- Serve with a little cheddar sprinkled on the top for extra deliciousness.