The vibrant color of this one-pot beet risotto makes this a show-stopping side dish or vegan meal! This cheater's version of risotto is quick and easy to make.
Beet risotto is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds! Red beets are an easy way to add natural color, as well as an earthy sweetness. They're equally good in a roasted beet salad.
Since this recipe is so easy to make, it works just as well for a weeknight meal as it does for a fun holiday meal. Think Valentine's Day or Easter.
As much as I enjoy making a classic risotto (all the stirring is oddly satisfying), sometimes I want all of the benefits of the creamy texture without the extra time.
This beetroot risotto requires only 15 minutes of prep time and about half an hour of inactive, cooking time. In other words, you get to walk away and do something else while the rice simmers. Because of the qualities of Arborio rice, this method still produces a risotto-like texture. I use the same method for quick barley risotto.
What you need for this beet risotto:
These are the main ingredients of this recipe (affiliate links may be included):
- BEET: Use a medium-sized red beet. Other colors of beets can be used, but this will affect the overall color of the dish.
- RICE: Arborio rice can be found in most grocery stores or online.
- AROMATICS: Yellow onion and garlic cloves.
- KALE: Use 2 kale leaves. Cut out the stems and chop the leaves. There should be about 1 cup (pressed down) of chopped leaves. Swiss chard or spinach are good alternatives. If using spinach, stir it in at the last minute.
- BROTH: Use homemade or your favorite store-bought vegetable broth. Chicken broth can be used in a pinch, though this will change the flavor slightly and the dish will no longer be vegetarian/vegan.
- BALSAMIC VINEGAR: A couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar adds a really nice hit of acid.
- SEASONING: Dried rosemary (I prefer crushed dried rosemary), kosher salt and ground pepper.
- OPTIONAL: If you like, top each serving with some grated Parmesan cheese. For a vegan option, use a store-bough vegan Parmesan cheese substitute or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
💙What’s to love about this beetroot risotto recipe:
▪️GORGEOUS! I mean, just look at that color! The grated beets infuse the broth and rice with their natural vibrant color.
▪️FLAVOR, FLAVOR, FLAVOR: The sweetness of the beets pairs so well with the acid of the balsamic vinegar, and the other seasonings (garlic, rosemary and salt). A flavor dance in your mouth!
▪️QUICK & EASY: Since this is a cheater’s version of risotto and takes a fraction of the time to cook.
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How to make beet risotto:
- PEEL THE BEET: Cut off the ends of the beet, then use a vegetable peeler to peel off the outer skin. This can be messy work, so I recommend holding the beet with a paper towel or using food prep gloves. If you aren’t using gloves, wash your hands right away to avoid staining your skin with the beet juices.
- GRATE THE BEET: Grate the beet using a box grater. I like to do this onto a dark colored cutting board so that my light wood boards aren’t stained by the juices.
- SAUTÉ THE ONION: Set a large saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil to heat. I prefer to use a nonstick saucepan or an enameled cast-iron skillet so that less oil can be used. Add the onions to the pan and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes, giving them a stir occasionally.
- RICE & MORE: Add the rice, garlic, vinegar and rosemary to the onions. Stir while cooking for about a minute.
- ADD THE REST: Stir in the grated beets, chopped kale and vegetable broth.
- BOIL & SIMMER: Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and cover the saucepan. Simmer until almost all the liquid is absorbed. That should take 25 to 30 minutes.
- TASTE & SEASON: Taste the rice and season with salt and pepper until you’re satisfied. Serve with or without Parmesan cheese on top. See my notes above about vegan options.
What to serve with this beetroot rice recipe:
As an entrée:
Serve this as a vegetarian or vegan main dish. The serving size listed is just ½ cup, so be sure to adjust the recipe if serving this as an entrée for multiple people. It looks pretty served in white, shallow bowls.
If you prefer to add meat to your meal, stir in some cooked chicken or pork sausage, or top with sliced baked chicken breast or seared shrimp.
As a side dish:
Serve alongside chicken, pork, shrimp or fish.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Beet risotto is best served immediately after cooking. The creamy texture is best at this point. That being said, feel free to refrigerate any leftovers. Reheat it gently in a saucepan or skillet with a little extra broth to reconstitute the rice.
Arborio rice works best for creamy textures because of its high starch content. In a pinch, you could use pearl barley or sushi. If using sushi rice, soak it for at least an hour ahead of time. The cooking times of the recipe will vary depending on the type of grain used.
Yes, it’s vegan assuming that you use vegetable broth. Rather than topping with regular Parmesan cheese, use a store-bought vegan Parmesan cheese alternative or a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. Or leave off any topping entirely.
Beet Risotto Recipe
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion chopped
- ¾ cups arborio rice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 medium beets peeled & grated (about 1 cup) - (See Note 1)
- 2 kale leaves finely chopped (about 1 cup) - (See Note 2)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Kosher salt to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (for vegan)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat.
- Add the onions and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes.
- To the onions, add the rice, garlic, vinegar and rosemary. Stir, cooking, until the rice is coated, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the beets, kale and vegetable broth.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook until almost all of the liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper. Serve. Optional: Top with Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
This post was first published on October 9, 2013 and updated on March 31, 2022.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.