Zucchini Risotto (Dairy Free, Vegan Option)

This zucchini risotto recipe is a delicious, vegetable-infused side dish for four or it can be served as a vegetarian main course for two. Other than stirring, it takes very little effort, and comes together in about 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

45 degree angle view of a large skillet with zucchini risotto with a wooden spoon dipped into it on a dark background with a striped napkin next to it.

Update: I’ve updated this recipe to be dairy free as of April 2018. I have written the original dairy-based alternatives in the recipe notes section for anyone who would like to make the original recipe. The original text from this post follows:

On the nights that my husband has a hockey game, he is usually gone by 4 or 5 p.m. which leaves me alone for dinner. I usually just make a peanut butter and jelly to bring with me to the game or I eat whatever leftovers we have in the fridge. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for something a little more substantial, and this is usually my go-to.

Shallow gray bowl of zucchini risotto with a vintage fork on a dark background with a striped napkin next to it.

It’s a great way to use up that one last zucchini you have in the fridge. Plus, it can be a full meal for just one or two people. It’s also a great side dish for four. Since zucchini is plentiful this time of year, I thought now would be a good time to share tasty little dish.

How to make zucchini risotto

Please don’t be intimidated by this dish. In fact, risotto is one of the simplest things to make. It’s so easy, I promise. I’ve made it so many times, I don’t need to use a recipe anymore.

It’s just a matter of taking your time and letting each liquid addition absorb before moving on. And, all that stirring releases the starches from the rice, making it unbelievably creamy.

Adapting this recipe to be dairy free was actually pretty simple. Since I usually start my risotto off with olive oil, rather than butter, I only had to remove the pecorino cheese from the recipe.

I swapped a tablespoon on nutritional yeast, an extra pinch of salt and about 1/4 cup of water for it.

Close up view of a large skillet with zucchini risotto with a wooden spoon dipped into it

The creaminess that’s released from the slow-cooking-and-stirring method is still there, so you will hardly notice that the cheese isn’t.

Changing my magic risotto recipe has been a little more difficult, since there’s a decent amount of cheese in it. But, in general, you can just skip the cheese, and you’ll be ok.

Zucchini risotto essentials:

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zucchini risotto

More zucchini recipes:

This zucchini risotto would be a great side for:

Close up view of a large skillet with zucchini risotto with a wooden spoon dipped into it

Zucchini Risotto

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


This easy, zucchini risotto recipe has no cheese and is naturally gluten free (used GF broth). It’s a great summer side dish. Serve it with grilled chicken or shrimp for a healthy dinner, or have it on its own for a delicious vegan meal. #risotto #zucchini



  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 2 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté onion until translucent and add rice, allowing it to absorb any remaining oil.
  3. Pour the white wine into the pan and allow it to absorb.
  4. Add broth – a 1/2 cup at a time – allowing each addition be fully absorbed before adding the next, stirring frequently.
  5. Once broth is incorporated, stir in shredded zucchini. Allow any liquids from the zucchini to absorb into the rice.
  6. Stir in nutritional yeast with 1/4 cup water and stir to incorporate.
  7. Allow any extra liquid to absorb and season with salt & pepper, to taste, before serving.


*To make the original dairy-based version of this recipe, use 2 – 3 tablespoons grated pecorino or parmesan cheese and omit the 1/4 water.


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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  • Reply
    Bobby Jo
    August 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Im so thankful for a new zucchini recipe! We always have so many in our garden and never know what to do with them all! Thanks!!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    Made this last night…amazing!

  • Reply
    15 Really Delicious Ways to Prepare Risotto
    January 18, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    […] Recipe and Photo credit to ateaspoonofhappiness.com […]

  • Reply
    January 19, 2015 at 9:55 am

    Maybe a silly question, but I have only made risotto one other time. Do you precook the rice before adding to the recipe?

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 19, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Not a silly question at all! No you don’t cook it ahead of time. It slowly cooks as you add the liquid.

  • Reply
    Dave Hutson
    January 22, 2018 at 10:53 pm

    Silly me! I mistakenly used long grain rice instead of arborio. It turned out to be very yummy anyway. Not quite as creamy as risotto, took more liquid and an additional 10 minutes to fully soften. But the end product was really good. I can’t wait to try this again as risotto, maybe add slivered almonds for some crunch

  • Reply
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