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Pesto Risotto (Instant Pot + Stovetop)

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An easy, delicious pesto risotto recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Easily made vegan.

A black bowl filled with green risotto.

Ease, beauty, simplicity – this vegan 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.

a pinterest pin image for vegan risotto

What is Risotto?

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

a pinterest pin image for vegan pesto risotto


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

a pinterest pin image for risotto instant pot

How to Make Pesto Risotto

What to Serve with Risotto

  • Nothing – it’s great on its own!
  • Add your favorite protein – tofu, tempeh, pine nuts, and 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.
  • If you aren’t vegan or dairy-free, stir in a handful of shredded parmesan cheese for a cheesy delight.
  • Top off with some creamy white beans.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves for a nice touch.
a pinterest pin image for vegan pesto risotto

Top Tips

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

Pesto: This recipe works with any pesto your heart desires — store-bought, vegan broad bean and pea, beet, oregano pesto – you name it!

a pinterest pin image for vegan instant pot risotto

More Delicious Recipes

Instant Pot Pumpkin Risotto

Zucchini Pesto Orzo Casserole

Instant Pot Air Fryer Pesto Smashed Potatoes

a pinterest pin image for vegan risotto

Want to learn more about the classic technique for making risotto? Check out this How to Make Risotto post!

A black bowl filled with green risotto.

Pesto Risotto

An easy, delicious pesto risotto recipe that can be made on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker. Easily made vegan.
5 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizers, Entrées, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
3 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Kristen Wood


  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice I like to use extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons vegetable broth or water 4 cups for stovetop method
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or pink salt
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto homemade pesto or store-bought


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.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 660kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 1756mg | Potassium: 76mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1250IU | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 5mg

Recommended Products

Instant Pot
Arborio Rice
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