Easy seasonal risotto using zesty lemons and asparagus – recipe

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There are plenty of fruits and vegetables that can be enjoyed fresh from British farms throughout the year, and right now, flavoursome greens are in good supply. Asparagus is just one of many veggies to add to your plate, though it tastes even better mixed into a flavoursome risotto. And one chef has the perfect recipe you can make in just 15 minutes.

Lisa Marley plant-based chef and head trainer at ProVeg is an expert in plant-based recipes that are affordable and quick to make.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she shared her recipe for a flavoursome courgette and asparagus risotto packed with the natural zestiness of fresh lemons.

She said: “Asparagus is in season in the UK from late February and goes on until June. It is used in many dishes such as stir fry, pasta, frittatas and risotto, and can be eaten cooked or raw.

“It is also a great source of nutrients including vitamins K, C and A while being high in fibre and folate, with the added benefit of being able to aid weight loss.”


To make enough of Lisa’s zesty risotto for two people, you will need:

  • One bunch of asparagus (roughly 200g)
  • One large leek, finely chopped
  • One medium courgette, finely chopped
  • Two garlic cloves, crushed
  • Handful of fresh spinach
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 17g Arborio rice
  • 20g plant or dairy butter
  • 40g vegan or dairy parmigiana cheese
  • 80ml vegetable stock

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Of course, no risotto is complete without a garnish so it is also worth getting some peppercorns and microgreens.

Lisa recommended pink peppercorns for this recipe, though you can use whatever you have on hand.

To make a start on this flavoursome dish, gather your vegetables and start chopping.

The woody ends of the asparagus should not be used, so be sure to evenly slice them off.

You should also chop the “attractive tips” of the asparagus off and set them aside for later. 

Lisa suggested that these should be roughly 1.5 inches in length. Chop the remaining asparagus and cook in boiling water for five minutes.

Keep back 50ml of stock water and add to a food processor alongside the cooked asparagus and a handful of basil.

Zest in a lemon and squeeze half of the juice before adding one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Blitz to form a thick paste and place to one side.

Pour one tablespoon of olive oil into a large pan and gently fry off the leeks and courgette on medium to low heat.

Add in the crushed garlic for flavour before frying for a further two minutes. Add in the rice and mix well.

Squeeze in the remaining half of the lemon along with a good splash of vegetable stock and stir. Leave to simmer until the stock has been absorbed.

Add in the asparagus puree and mix while pouring in the broth one ladle at a time until it is all absorbed and you have a loose, creamy consistency. Add in the butter and cheese and mix to finish before serving.

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