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If you want an easy, one-pan summer dinner it doesn't get much better than my creamy courgette and lemon risotto recipe.
This gluten free dinner is filled with summer flavours with courgette (zucchini) chunks, lemon juice and zest, crème fraîche and freshly grated parmesan.
It's a simple 30-minute meal, perfect for the summer months as courgettes come into season in the UK from June to September.
You can have this vegetarian risotto as a main dish and it also works brilliantly as a side dish to grilled chicken or fish.
It's a lovely light meal which is perfect for warmer evenings and you can also batch cook and freeze portions of this risotto for later.
Plus any leftovers are great for making gluten free arancini, which is essentially balls of leftover risotto coated in gluten free breadcrumbs and baked or fried.
However you enjoy it, this gluten free courgette and lemon risotto is bound to become your new favourite summer dinner.
Courgette and Lemon Risotto Ingredients
There's a printable recipe card below but here are some ideas for the best ingredients to use and any substitutions.
- Courgette - Known as zucchini in the US, this is obviously one of the key ingredients for this recipe. I use green courgettes as they're easy to find in the supermarket but yellow courgettes would work just as well.
- Lemon - You'll need the lemon zest and juice of a whole lemon for this recipe, so make sure you have a zester and juicer to hand as well. You can use bottled lemon juice if you prefer but fresh tastes best to me.
- Arborio Rice - This is the best risotto rice as you'll get a lovely, creamy consistency as it cooks. You could use basmati rice (you'll need to reduce the cooking time) but it won't have the same, classic risotto texture.
- Gluten Free Vegetable Stock - There are lots of gluten free stock cubes out there so make sure you pick one which is safe for coeliacs. As this recipe uses 1.2L of stock I use two stock cubes to make sure it has a good depth of flavour. You can use a chicken stock if you prefer and don't need this to be vegetarian.
- Crème Fraîche - This adds such a lovely, creamy flavour to the risotto when added right at the end. If you need this recipe to be dairy free or vegan you can either find a vegan alternative or omit it from the recipe.
- Parmesan Cheese - I love adding grated parmesan on top of my risotto as well as into it. Couple that with a bit of freshly ground black pepper and it's perfect! If you need this recipe to be dairy free or vegan you can omit this or use a vegan alternative.
Tips for making perfect risotto
Making a great risotto is very simple but here are some pro tips I picked up from a professional chef to help you.
My top tips for making the perfect risotto are:
- Coat the rice. Once you've fried off the onion, courgette and garlic, coat the rice in the mixture and cook for a minute before adding any stock.
- Don't stop stirring! It's super important that you always keep stirring your risotto to ensure it cooks evenly and goes super creamy.
- Add the stock gradually. Don't just pour it all in and hope for the best! You want to add the stock a ladle-full at a time, stirring constantly until it *just* starts to catch on the bottom. That's when you add the next ladle. Keep going until all of the stock is absorbed and the rice is cooked through.
- Keep your stock hot. Keep your stock in a small pan on a low heat so it stays hot. If you keep adding cold stock, you'll keep bringing the temperature of the risotto down and it'll take forever to cook.
Don't forget the full recipe is below with detailed instructions and ingredients.
My courgette and lemon risotto recipe
Get your courgettes ready, it's time to make my gluten free courgette and lemon risotto.
This easy zucchini risotto serves four people but can easily be sized up or down.
I would say this would be a main course for four people or could be a side dish for more alongside some grilled chicken or fish.
You can also freeze any leftovers or later or use them to make gluten free arancini.
And please do leave a review to let others know you loved it too! It would mean the world to me.
- 1 large courgette (approx 250g, diced into small cubes)
- 1 onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 300g arborio rice
- 1.2 litres GF veg stock
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp crème fraîche
- 30g grated parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil a non-stick pan and then add the onions and garlic. Fry for 2 mins on a medium heat.
- Add the courgette and fry for another 5 minutes until it starts to soften. Add the rice to the pan and stir well.
- Add a ladle of hot stock (it’s best to keep the stock on a low heat in a separate pan so it stays hot!) to the risotto and stir to mix. Keep on a low heat and keep stirring.
- Once the liquid is almost absorbed (you may feel the rice starting to catch on the bottom of the pan a little) add another ladle of stock. Continue this process, stirring constantly, until all of the stock is used up - approximately 20 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice and zest, parmesan cheese and crème fraîche and then serve with more cheese on top.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 266Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 1032mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 6g
Need more gluten free recipe inspiration?
Here are some more easy gluten free dinner recipes you can try out once you've made this Courgette and Lemon Risotto recipe.
- Prawn and Chorizo Risotto
- Courgette and Halloumi Fritters
- Butternut Squash and Chorizo Risotto
- Halloumi, Aubergine and Chickpea Traybake
Plus if you've got more leftover courgettes, why not make my Gluten Free Chocolate Courgette Cake for dessert?
If you have any recipe suggestions, please let me know in the comments what you’d like to see next!
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