Tomato Risotto (Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Fat-free)

Tomato Risotto (Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Fat-free)

Have you ever sunk your teeth into a good bowl of risotto? How about fat-free risotto?? Yep, that's correct. There is absolutely no fat in this risotto. The only fat would be any garnished nuts, if you choose to add them. Bet you've never had a bowl of risotto that is fat-free before, considering it typically has lots of cheese, oil or butter.

I've been sitting on this post for awhile. In fact, I have so many already written recipes ready to share with you guys....I'm just catching up with all of them after being so busy this past few months.

Last year my husband took my daughter and I to a beautiful resort in Austin, TX for Mothers Day. It was our second visit. The first visit was when I was pregnant in 2011....imagine being big, pregnant and waddling around in hot Texas weather. It was beautiful, but the trip wasn't as enjoyable as I had hoped in my condition. The spa is what made the weekend worthwhile. Anyways, this past time was much more special to be bringing our little one and not being pregnant. If you're ever in the Austin area, check out Lost Pines Hyatt Resort!

So, about that risotto....I was a bit concerned about food choices, being we are all vegan. However, there turned out to be some really delicious food and even vegan choices on the menu. The chef even worked with us! It was wonderful. My favorite dish by far was the tomato risotto. I gobbled it up in seconds. It was creamy, delicious and NO cheese or butter needed! I couldn't wait to get back home to try and recreate a version. I of course, didn't know their recipe, so I had to just go by my tastebuds.. Well, it was deemed a winner by my husband. We, too, gobbled it up. Even our little girl kept asking for "more".

Risotto tends to intimidate a lot of people because it's a dish that requires attention at the stove and a little labor of love. I used to make it all the time a few years back with white wine, but this time I wanted it friendly for all of us and very simple. I decided to use juice instead of wine. It gives great flavor to the risotto. Most risotto recipes require you to first cook the veggies in the pan, remove them, then toast the risotto, then add the veggies back and then cook the risotto. I wanted it more simple than all that. After all, that is that we all want right?

All you need is a little patience at the stove and I swear, before you know it, you'll be scarfing down some delicious vegan hot risotto, not missing the dairy one bit!

A hearty, delicious risotto with only 8 ingredients?! (plus salt) Just a few simple steps and you will have an amazing, healthy risotto that is not weighed down with oil or butter. This vegan risotto is fat-free, but it's creaminess will certainly fool you that it is not. Rice isn't low in carbs, but I eat a whole foods diet and stay very healthy that way. This creamy fat-free version is certainly worth the carbs!

3/4 cup


Tomato Risotto (Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free, Fat-free)
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  • 10 oz package grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 11 oz arborio rice (1 1/2 cups) (I used a wild rice blend, but any arborio rice will work)
  • 4 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast (This will depend on how much you like nutritional yeast. I highly suggest Sari brand , as it is not fortified and has a milder flavor, without that nasty vitamin taste)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt


  1. First roast the tomatoes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (so they don't stick) and spread the tomatoes out. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until they are bursting and juicy. Add them to a food processor and blend until very smooth. Set aside.
  2. Next, add the broth to a small pot and turn it to low heat. You just want to make sure that the broth is warm as you add it to the risotto, so it cooks evenly and the risotto stays tender.
  3. Next, add the apple juice, tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder & salt to another medium pot and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the rice and cook a couple of minutes until the rice is just beginning to brown. Begin adding the warm broth (from the other pot) a ladle at a time, or about a 1/2 cup. Stir and as the rice has absorbed almost all of the broth, add another ladle of broth. Do this repeatedly until all of the broth is gone. This process will take about 20-25 minutes. You want to keep the heat at a low simmer...not too high or too low. If it is cooking too fast, turn the heat down some or the rice won't cook properly. This is not something you walk away from, you will need to continually stir as you add each ladle of broth and stay at the stove. This is how risotto is made and how it turns out so creamy and tender. It goes by quickly, so don't worry.
  4. After you have added the last amount of broth, add the pureed tomatoes to the rice over a strainer, to catch any skins from the tomatoes and stir to heat through. Add the nutritional yeast and stir. Taste and add any additional salt & pepper. Garnish with walnuts and parsley flakes, if desired, and serve immediately.





  1. This look lovely! I love the idea of walnuts on top. Here in Toronto it is -35 degrees with the wind chill - this bowl of risotto looks so warm and comforting ;-)
      Omg brrrrrrrrr!!! I'd die, haha! Yes, the walnuts are certainly optional, but I loved the nutty flavor and crunch it added. Certainly omit if little ones can't have nuts.
  2. I love making risotto, I have no problem standing over the pot and stirring away! I've never seen a rice mix with wild rice; I'll definitely have to look for that! I've also not had recipe with apple juice, sounds very interesting as a way to sweeten the tomatoes possibly. Looks really tempting too with the nuts on top!! Happy New Year Brandi!
      Thank you Linda, you too! Yes, I would normally use wine, but for my daughter I wanted to use a flavor (instead of just broth or water) but it be alcohol free....the apple juice lends a nice flavor. The wild rice gives it more of a bite....I only made it one time like that though, I prefer regular arborio rice because it's more tender. Super yummy.
  3. LOL I cracked.up. at this line "imagine being big, pregnant and waddling around in hot Texas weather" <-- that sounds pretty much like anyone's nightmare! Kudos for pushing through it and I'm glad you got to relax at the spa! I am a total sucker for risotto, but I don't think I've ever had tomato risotto! I am seriously loving the look of your super simple recipes! Eight ingredients makes this delicious-sounding risotto sound totally doable :)
  4. This looks beautiful, healthy and delicious! I don't have any littles in the house, so I think I will try it with wine. MMMMMM.....
      Oh yes, I normally use wine if not feeding my daughter! It's so GOOD that way yes, use wine! :) Thank you!
  5. It's mighty cold here in NYC and that risotto looks like the perfect hot and comforting meal. Apple juice in the risotto, thats really a creative way to make it without wine. Lovely recipe Brandi. My Mom used to make a tomato risotto, this brings back memories.
      Thank you so much Suzanne! :) I'd never had or even heard of tomato risotto until I had it at this was SO delicious, I just had to remake my own version. It won over my hubby, so I make it all the time now.
  6. I thought that might be a beautiful risotto that I saw on FB yesterday! Love the creaminess of this dish.
      Thank you Annie! I was surprised more people guessed otherwise....regardless, it got people involved in the post, teehee, which was my goal ;)
  7. If I ever decide to get pregnant, I will probably want to live in Alaska for 9 months to ensure I don't overheat!! I HATE BEING HOT! HAHA. This dish looks sooo good.
  8. Brandi, I like the roasted tomatoes! I'd bet even the kids would like this one, topped with roasted sunflower seeds :-)
      Oh, yes sunflower seeds would work awesome too! :)
  9. Brandi, This risotto looks fabulous!!! I'm making risotto too this week. . love the addition of the walnuts on top! delicious!
      Thank you Alice! Isn't risotto just the epitome of comfort food?!
  10. Yum, that risotto looks wonderful and oh so "comfort foody!" Love it. The resort in Texas sounds fabulous I think I need to go to the spa. ;-)
      Oh, it's amazing...I can't wait to go again!
  11. A very happy new year to you Brandi. As always you have convinced with your pictures that this recipe is going to be good:) I am not seeing your posts in my wordpress reader and sometimes dont receive your emails too. i have nominated you for the " 2013 Blog of the Year" award. Here are the details:
  12. Seriously feed me right now. I used to adore risotto - ADORE IT. My dad would make the most amazing seafood risotto - Mmmmmmmm!! Thank you for bringing back some memories ! :)
      Never had seafood risotto before!!
  13. This risotto looks so delicious, and love how it's oil-free and gluten-free as well! I can't wait to make it!! :)
      Thank you so much Violet!!
  14. Looks great- do you list nutritional information? Yum!
      Thank you Michele! I do on a lot of my recipes, but don't do it 100% of the time just because of time restraints when I'm trying to get a recipe posted quickly. I will do this one today and add it! :)
      • You are so dear!
          No problem! I just added the nutrition data. Rice, of course, isn't low in carbs, but my version is certainly healthier than typical risotto full of cheese, oil or butter and it is totally fat-free! (minus any nuts if you garnish) :)
  15. This looks amazing. I love the walnut garnish too - I'm a big fan of nuts in rice!
  16. Fat Free Risotto?!?! I'm listening :) This looks so amazing! Think I could leave out the apple juice though?
      Thank you! Yeah, sure, it's just 1/2 a cup, but you could use low sodium broth instead if you wanted. The apple juice just gives it a little extra flavor since I didn't use any wine. :)
  17. This looks wonderful, Brandi. Love that you roasted the tomatoes first and added the walnuts last. Both must help to make this one flavorful risotto.
      Thank you John, it turned out excellent :)
  18. [...] For recipe instructions:  CLICK HERE [...]
  19. You had me at roasted tomatoes. I love love love roasted tomatoes! Pinning this to make it later. :)
      Thanks Meredith! It is incredibly hearty for being fat-free, you'd never know it! :)
  20. Wow, just made this and my husband and I are devouring it. So. Sinfully (But not!) Delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!
      So glad to hear that Sally!! Thank you so much for the feedback, makes my day!!
  21. LOVE this recipe!!! I made it last week. Since I am not vegan, I left out the nutritional yeast and sprinkled a little cheese on top. The risotto was super creamy. My mom loved it as well. It even reheats really well!
      I'm so happy to hear that Rachel! So glad you loved it and thank you so much for the feedback, I really appreciate it!!
  22. Oh, my goodness! This was AMAZING!!!! Made it this evening and Willow even had some. I can't get over how creamy and flavorful it was. Next time I might sprinkle some cashew Parmesan on top...but the walnuts were a lovely addition! We'll definitely make this again and again!
      Oh Wonderful Mandy! Thank you so much for making it! So happy this was a hit! Vegan parmesan sounds awesome! This has a pretty good amount of nutritional yeast in it, but a little extra on top would be yummy as well, lol! Thanks so much for the feedback! :)
  23. [...] Tomato Risotto (Gluten-free, oil-free, fat-free) >> The Vegan 8 >> I have yet to try a recipe of Brandi’s that I didn’t like. Which is why we make so many of them! This one did not disappoint. Incredibly flavorful, creamy, filling and not loaded with unnecessary fat. We were literally ooooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing during the entire meal. Willow even enjoyed some, so anything that is approved by Willow is a keeper recipe! [...]
  24. I cannot wait to try this. Looks delicious. Everything on this site looks awesome. I'm so glad I found it. I was perusing this site ( ) when I found vegan 8. It's a list of the 50 best vegan blogs.
      Thank you so much Jennifer! I'm so glad you found me and let me know what you think after you make it!
  25. […] highly recommend trying Brandi’s Tomato Risotto. So damn good. It’s completely vegan (obviously) but it’s so….creamy? It’s […]
  26. I was really excited about this recipe and decided to make it tonight. I followed the directions as written, but my husband and I both remarked on how tough the arborio rice was. We loved the flavor, but the rice was significantly grainier than brown rice. I have not ever cooked arborio rice, so I did not know if it was typically a little bit more dense than long grain brown rice or if I needed to add more broth or cook slower. My stove was on medium low heat and I stirred the pot continuously. Added a 1/2 cup of warmed broth at a time, so I am not sure where I went wrong. I so wanted to love this recipe!!! Any suggestions?
      Hi Swann, sorry to hear you had trouble cooking the rice. The only reason it would be grainy is if you didn't get the rice cooked through, as it becomes VERY creamy and delicious. This has been such a hit with readers and we love it, so if this was your first time ever cooking with arborio rice, then it may just take a couple of times getting it down, because it's different than cooking regular rice. Since some stoves get hotter than others, than if you rice did not end up super tender and creamy, then it sound like it was not finished cooking and running out of broth before it finished cooking. So, I would suggest you turn the heat lower because if it is simmering too high then it will cook off the broth before finishing cooking the rice. Arborio rice is chewier than brown rice, but if cooked properly, it should not be grainy, but very very creamy and quite decadent! Just lower the heat next time some, hope that helps!
  27. This looks amazing!! Just wondering how many servings this recipe makes? Thanks

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