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Comforting Leek Risotto with Cream Cheese

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Comforting Leek Risotto with Cream Cheese is ready in a pan with herbs on a chopping board on the table

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.

Our latest recipes have included this tangy tempeh salad, a broccoli and cauliflower ‘superfood’ soup and high protein-pancakes to name just a few.

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.

The ingredients including leeks, cream cheese and herbs are on the chopping board

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.

Risotto vegetables and rice are frying in a pan
Risotto with vegetarian broth is cooking in a pan

Self-control

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.

Rice is cooking in a pan
Adding peas, cream and leeks to a pan

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.

The leek risotto is ready on a plate and pan with herbs on a dishcloth on the table

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.

And finally

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
5 from 12 votes
This creamy leek risotto is easy to make, filling and oh-so comforting. We show you how to speed it up, too – good food shouldn’t be slow!
Cuisine:Mediterranean
Diet: egg-free
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:30 minutes
Total Time:35 minutes
Servings:2
Calories:579kcal

Ingredients

  • ½ cup risotto rice
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ leek
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup peas, frozen
  • 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)

Optional:

  • ½ cup white wine (mega tasty)
  • ¼ cup cheddar cheese (for garnish, mega tasty)

Instructions

  • Give the rice a quick rinse – we don’t need this one too starchy.
    ½ cup risotto rice
  • Slice the leek and onion and fry in olive oil in a big pan on medium heat for about 5 Minutes.
    ½ leek, 1 small onion, 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Add the risotto rice and fry for another 2 minutes.
  • If using, throw in the white wine and stir until dissolved.
    ½ cup white wine
  • 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.
    2-3 cups vegetable 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.
    1 cup peas, frozen, ⅓ cup cream, 2.5 oz low fat cream cheese, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (vegetarian), 1 tbsp basil, fresh, 1 tbsp parsley, fresh, 1 tbsp oregano, fresh
  • 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!
    ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper
  • Serve with a little cheddar sprinkled on the top for extra deliciousness.
    ¼ cup cheddar cheese

NOTES

Nutri Info: We’ve calculated the nutrition info without the cheddar cheese and white whine. Obviously, these ingredients are bonus fun, but also bonus calories 😉
 
Need more rice? Check out this fried pineapple rice for something a bit different (and awesome). Or if you want to move away from carbs, we highly recommend taking a look at zucchini zoodles (spoiler: they rock).

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Comforting Leek Risotto with Cream Cheese
Amount per Serving
Calories
579
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
28
g
43
%
Saturated Fat
 
14
g
88
%
Cholesterol
 
73
mg
24
%
Sodium
 
2596
mg
113
%
Potassium
 
646
mg
18
%
Carbohydrates
 
70
g
23
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
13
g
14
%
Protein
 
14
g
28
%
Vitamin A
 
2484
IU
50
%
Vitamin C
 
40
mg
48
%
Calcium
 
187
mg
19
%
Iron
 
6
mg
33
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Comments

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Recipe Rating




4 comments
  1. 5 stars
    I always thought the instruction asking to ladle the broth in a little at a time was a bit too cautious. Good to hear I can now happily ignore it!
    Sound delicious btw, will be trying next week.

    1. Haha, indeed! It really does work the other way :D. Enjoy your meal, Sarah!

  2. Hi! Does this need to cooked covered or uncovered for 20 minutes? Would like to make this tonight. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kris, sorry just saw your comment – uncovered! 🙂

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