Appetizers / Entrées / Sides / Vegan

Pesto Risotto (Instant Pot + Stovetop)

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A super simple, yet stunningly beautiful and delicious Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice. This versatile side or main dish recipe is vegan and can be made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker or on the stovetop.

Ease, beauty, simplicity – this Pesto Risotto recipe makes for one quick and utterly delicious dish that can be enjoyed on its own or alongside your favorite sides and entrees. It adds a pop of vibrant green alongside deep, rich flavors and a delightfully creamy texture.

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What is Risotto?

Risotto is a creamy Italian side dish (or main course) made with a starchy rice called arborio rice.

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a pinterest pin image for vegan pesto risotto


Note: ingredient amounts and method can be found in the full recipe card towards the bottom of this post.

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How-to Make

What to Serve with Risotto

  • Nothing – it’s great on its own!
  • Add your favorite protein – tofu, tempeh, seeds all make great toppers for this risotto dish!
  • Top with steamed or roasted veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes or peas.
  • Serve alongside a big salad.
  • Top off with some creamy white beans.
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Special Tips


Be certain to only use arborio rice. This particular rice is high in starch and responsible for the creamy texture you get with risotto.


This recipe works with any pesto your heart desires — store-bought, vegan, beet, classic basil pesto, you name it!

a pinterest pin image for vegan instant pot risotto

My Favorite Pesto Recipes

Easy Vegan Cashew Pesto Recipe

Sunny Spring Pea & Basil Vegan Pesto

Cheesy Vegan Walnut Pesto Recipe

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If you try this recipe please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, share this post, use Pinterest’s “tried it” feature, or take a photo, & tag me on Instagram and I’ll share it! Thank you so much! <3

pesto risotto in a black bowl

Pesto Risotto (Vegan)

A super simple, yet stunningly beautiful and delicious Pesto Risotto made with arborio rice. This versatile side or main dish recipe is vegan and can be made in an Instant Pot pressure cooker or on the stovetop.
4.67 from 6 votes
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Course: Appetizers, Entrées, Sides, Vegan
Cuisine: Instant Pot, Italian
Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Halal, Hindu, Kosher, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Additional Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Kristen Wood



  • Instant Pot Instructions
  • Press the saute function button on your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Add oil and rice. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Press cancel to turn off saute function. Stir in water and salt.
  • Place the lid on and cook on manual high pressure for 6 minutes.
  • While waiting for it to cook, prepare your favorite pesto. I like this vegan cashew pesto.
  • When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, carefully quick release the pressure. Fluff the risotto with a fork.
  • Gently fold in prepared pesto.
  • Serve and enjoy!
  • Stovetop Instructions
  • In a large pot bring the vegetable broth or water to a low simmer.
  • Meanwhile in a large skillet or pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add rice and saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add a ladle of hot broth/water to the sauteed rice. Let sit until the broth is mostly absorbed. Repeat with remaining broth, using only a ladle a time until the all the broth is absorbed. The risotto should have a creamy consistency when finished. If it's too dry, add more broth; if it's too wet, let it cook longer until absorbed.
  • Turn off heat and stir in salt and pesto.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Please refer to the TIPS section above in the post for valuable information.
Also see: 60 Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipes!


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 514kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 30g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 411mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
Have you tried this recipe?Please Rate + Comment Below!
Mention on Instagram!@moon.and.spoon.and.yum
About Author

Hi! I'm Kristen -- a mama, photographer, recipe developer and author of The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. I enjoy sharing both wildly creative and ridiculously practical vegetarian recipes that are approachable for all. Everything you see here is infused with a bit of nature, magic and good health. XO.

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