What to Serve With Risotto?

What To Serve With Risotto


A simple yet delicious accompaniment to a risotto dish is a salad. Salads offer a great way to add freshness, crunch and nutrition to your meal, while helping to balance out the richness of the creaminess of the risotto. A salad can bring a delicious contrast to the risotto and can be easily dressed with a simple olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.

The options for salads to accompany your risotto dish are endless, from a classic Italian insalata caprese to a vibrant rainbow salad. Let’s look at some of the best salads to round out your risotto-based meal:

Green Salad

A Green salad is an ideal complement to risotto dishes. Leafy greens, colorful vegetable and additional ingredients provide texture, flavor and refreshment in each bite. Think of a green salad as a palate cleanser – able to offset heavy, creamy sauces of the risotto.

Green salads can be as simple or complex as you choose to make them. A basic green salad usually contains lettuce, arugula or other leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Salads such as caesar or Greek offer a bit more complexity with the addition of different dressings and vegetables such as olives or feta cheese. You can also add cooked meat such as chicken or shrimp to create more inventive and filling salads. Your choice of extra ingredients should reflect the rest of your menu but simple is certainly best when pairing with risotto dishes!

Tomato Salad

Tomato salad is a great accompaniment to risotto and can be made in no time at all. This salad makes use of the classical Italian tomato varieties that are sweeter, juicier and more deeply flavored than their supermarket counterparts. Ripe garden tomatoes will make this salad the star of any meal.

To make a simple tomato salad, combine freshly chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil with a pinch of sea salt in a bowl. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld together before serving. For a richer taste, adding some of the following are also great options:

  • Finely sliced red onion
  • Crumbled feta cheese

To complete the dish, drizzle with freshly squeezed lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for an added zesty flavor.

Beetroot Salad

Beetroot is a wonderful vegetable to include in salads. This beetroot salad is simple to make and full of flavor. It combines the earthy flavor of cooked beets with lightly dressed lettuce and is perfect alongside a hearty main dish or as a vegetarian entree.

To make this salad, begin by finding some firm, small to medium-sized beets. Wash the beets and cut off the top part of the root and about an inch of the stem end. Place them in a saucepan, cover them with water, bring it to a simmer and cook until they’re just tender but not too soft (about 45 minutes). Remove from heat, let them cool until you’re comfortable enough to handle them and then peel off the skins using your hands or a knife. Slice into thin slices or wedges, depending on your preference.

Next, prepare the lettuce for the salad by washing it in cold water and tearing it into bite-sized pieces (or use pre-washed greens). Place the lettuce in a bowl along with any other desired vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado or red onions. Mix together some vinaigrette dressing with balsamic vinegar or your favorite vinegar— start off with small amounts and add more to taste. Toss this mixture with your prepared vegetables.

Finally add in your prepared beetroot slices and mix gently so that all ingredients are evenly combined. Serve immediately while still slightly warm for an extra special experience!


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that’s made with arborio rice and broth. Its creamy texture and subtle flavor pair perfectly with a variety of vegetables. To complete a delicious meal, why not try some of the most popular veggies to serve with risotto? From asparagus to zucchini, there are plenty of options to choose from. Let’s explore some of the best veggies to pair with risotto:

Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables is an easy and delicious way to prepare them. Vegetables can be roasted alone or combined in a single dish for a flavor-packed meal. Generally, vegetables should be cut into small pieces and tossed with oil, salt, and spices prior to roasting.

Vegetables start to caramelize when they are exposed to high heat in the oven. This creates a sweet, nutty flavor by drawing out the natural sugars in the vegetables. Roasting also intensifies the flavors of many vegetables while preserving their vibrant colors and original textures.

To properly roast vegetables, you should:

  • First preheat your oven to its highest setting – usually 425°F – 500°F (220°C – 260°C).
  • Next, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up; then lightly brush it with oil before adding your chopped veggies.
  • To ensure even cooking, it’s best to spread them out on one layer on the pan; this will also allow you to baste them without overcrowding.
  • Finally, put your pan of veggies in the hot oven and let them roast until they reach your desired level of crispiness — about 30 minutes should do it!

When finished roasting, most vegetables can be served hot or cold in salads and side dishes – some are even suitable for enjoying on their own as hearty snacks! Broccoli, carrots, potatoes, onions and peppers are just a few of the more popular choices that go well with any meal when roasted correctly. Feel free to experiment with different combinations as roasted veggies make great additions to pastas, sandwiches, grain bowls or even pizza!

Grilled Vegetables

Solar-grilled vegetables are a tasty, nutritious and easy accompaniment to risotto. To cook, preheat the grill to medium heat. Clean the grill grates, then lightly oil. Cut the selected vegetable into evenly sized pieces, approximately 1/2 inch thick (or help smaller pieces). Coat them with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are cooked through. For a stronger flavor marinate the vegetables in your favorite marinade before grilling and add fresh herbs just before serving for maximum flavor.

Grilled options for pairing with risotto include:

  • Asparagus
  • Bell peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Onions
  • Summer squash

Roasting vegetables is another delicious way to generate deep flavors that pair perfectly with creamy risotto. Slice vegetables like zucchini or eggplant into thick slices and coat them in olive oil. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a 350 degree oven until the vegetables are softened (about 10-15 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste and serve alongside your flavorful risotto!

Sauteed Vegetables

Sauteed vegetables are a classic and popular side dish to serve with risotto. They can be prepped ahead of time and cooked while the risotto simmers away on the stove. Many types of vegetables will work well, but some great choices include:

  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Squash
  • Mushrooms
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Zucchini

The vegetables should be sliced thin to cook evenly and quickly in a skillet with oil or butter. Add garlic if desired along with salt and pepper for flavor. Sauteed vegetables will cook fairly quickly – remove them from heat once they reach their desired tenderness level – you don’t want them to become mushy.

If you have time at the end of cooking, sprinkle your sautéed vegetables with chopped fresh herbs for added flavor as well as an attractive presentation. For example, parsley or basil make wonderful complements to many vegetables when paired with risotto. Or try thyme or oregano for heartier veggies such as mushrooms or bell peppers.


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that can be surprisingly versatile. You don’t have to eat it all by itself – by adding proteins to it, you can create a complete meal. There are many proteins that work well with risotto. Everything from fish, to beef, to poultry can bring the dish to life.

In this section we’ll discuss the different proteins that pair especially well with risotto:

Grilled Chicken

Grilled chicken is a simple, delicious and healthy choice for a protein-packed meal. But to make sure your chicken safely and evenly cooks, follow these tips.

Before grilling your chicken, it’s important to properly prepare the meat. Start by patting it dry with paper towels; this will help the seasoning adhere better. Also, don’t forget to season your chicken before it hits the grill–add any combination of herbs and spices that you like–and coat with a thin layer of oil or cooking spray to prevent sticking and burning on the grill.

Allow charcoal or propane grills to preheat until hot before adding the meat. For tender breasts, cook them on medium-high heat at 3-4 minutes per side (depending on thickness). If you’re using boneless thighs or drumsticks, aim for 2-3 minutes per side over medium heat. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165°F when cooked through 1 inch thick sections in the center of each piece of poultry for safe consumption according to USDA standards.


Shrimp is a great addition to any risotto dish as it is a versatile and mildly flavoured protein. This quick cooking seafood is very easy to season, as it doesn’t overpower the flavor of the delicate rice dish.

When looking for shrimp to add to your risotto stir-fry, you should look for large chunks of fresh shrimp or pre-cooked frozen shrimp in the grocery store. For the classic arborio rice risotto that uses squid ink or saffron, adding some seared and grilled jumbo shrimp will give it a hint of sweetness and make it an even more flavourful main course.

You can also try adding some grilled scallops, fried mussels, or sliced raw calamari for a different take on classic Italian cuisine.

Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon is a flavorful, protein-rich food that pairs nicely with creamy risotto. This popular fish is typically smoked using traditional methods such as oak, applewood or hickory to create an intense flavor. Smoked salmon can be served hot or cold and can be used as a topping for risotto, mixed in the risotto itself or served as a side dish.

Smoked salmon also adds texture to the dish and its subtle smoky flavor helps to enhance the overall taste of the dish. The fish should be cooked slightly until it turns pink but should not be cooked all the way through, since overcooking will make it tough and chewy. To add even more flavor and texture to your risotto, some people like to top the dish with a thin slice of smoked salmon before serving.

In addition to adding great flavor and texture, this type of protein is also packed with essential nutrients like vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium and phosphorus. Because it’s so nutrient dense, you only need to add a small amount of smoked salmon to your risotto for maximum health benefits without overloading on calories.


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that is highly customizable and lends itself to experimentation. One of the most important components of a great risotto is the sauce that you serve it with. A sauce can bring out the flavor of the risotto, and there are many different sauces that can be used to enhance the dish.

In this article, we will explore the different types of sauces that can be used to create a delicious risotto:


Pesto is a classic Italian sauce made from a combination of fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, nuts, and grated cheese that is traditionally served over pasta. Typically made with basil leaves and pine nuts, pesto variants have become popular globally using different ingredients such as arugula, spinach, parsley and even kale. The texture of pesto ranges from chunky to smooth depending on what ingredients are used.

Most commonly served as solely a sauce option atop pasta or sandwiches but the flavor can also be added to many dishes including soups and risotto. When making pesto recipes it’s best to use fresh ingredients and assemble them carefully either in a food processor or with mortar and pestle when looking for more of an old-fashioned texture. The end result should always be full flavored green paste that will jazz up any plate!

Popular pesto pasta dishes include:

  • Basil pesto spaghetti carbonara
  • Pesto gnocchi al forno
  • Classic spaghetti aglio e olio con pesto

Alfredo Sauce

Alfredo sauce is a creamy white sauce made from parmesan cheese, cream, and butter. It was originally created in Rome, Italy and is sometimes referred to as “Roman” or “Italian-American” style. The richness of the sauce typically pairs well with pasta, vegetables and poultry but can also be enjoyed with fish, beef or pork.

When making homemade Alfredo sauce, it is important to use quality ingredients – high fat content and fresh ingredients can make a huge difference in flavor! The butter should be melted in a pan over medium heat before adding the cream and Parmesan cheese. The Parmesan should be freshly grated and added past the boiling point of the liquid so that it melts properly without clumping. A small pinch of salt may then be stirred in until everything is fully blended together.

Alfredo sauce is best served warm and will thicken as it cools down, so be sure not to overcook it or else you’ll end up with a thick paste instead of a smooth savory sauce. To get that classic Alfredo flavor into your dish, some recipes suggest adding:

  • Garlic or shallots
  • Herbs such as parsley for more color

Lastly, if you prefer a lightened up version for healthier eating, half-and-half can be used instead of cream!

Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce is a commonly used condiment in both Western and global cuisine. It is a thick, flavorful sauce made from the pureed fruit of the tomato, as well as ingredients such as onions, garlic, oil, sugar and herbs. The taste should be sweet and tart with a slight acidity present.

It is often used as a base for other sauces or as part of marinades, stews and pasta dishes.

Tomato sauce can vary in color depending on how it’s cooked and the ingredients added to it; it can be anywhere from bright red to an orange-red. There are also different types of tomato sauces available including marinara sauce, pizza sauce, arrabbiata sauce and Puttanesca. The amount of time spent simmering will create deeper flavors while shorter stewing time creates lighter sauces with a more subtle tomato taste.

Tomatoes are naturally high in Vitamin C and antioxidants making tomato-based sauces hugely beneficial for your health when served with complex carbohydrates such as whole grain pasta or brown rice – both contain vital dietary fiber that gives you energy throughout the day.


Risotto is a classic Italian dish that can be served as a main course or side dish. When it comes to adding an extra layer of flavour and texture, cheese is a must-have ingredient. Whether you choose to add it while cooking the risotto or whip up a creamy cheese sauce to serve over the top, there are plenty of cheeses to choose from.

Let’s explore which cheeses best add to the flavour of a risotto:


Parmesan, or Parmigiano Reggiano, is a hard, granular cheese that originates from the Emilia Romagna region in Italy. It is made from raw cow’s milk with added rennet and salt. The name of the cheese is protected by EU laws, meaning it must be produced to a strict set of rules in order to carry the “Parmigiano Reggiano” stamp.

It has a reputation as one of the world’s most exquisite cheeses and it can be used in a variety of culinary applications. Parmesan is famously featured as an ingredient in Italian dishes such as Risotto ala Milanese and pasta alfredo. It also stands out when served simply on its own as an appetizer or snack. Its crunchy texture and salty, nutty taste is sure to delight your taste buds!

The cheese can range in age from 12 months for younger styles to 32 months for more mature versions. Its unique aging process allows it to become extra crumbly yet still retain its nutty flavor profile throughout the maturation period. The perfect Parmigiano Reggiano should have an intense aroma with notes of fresh hay and milk as well as a distinct flavor that’s complex yet balanced with just enough saltiness on the finish.


Gorgonzola is a veined Italian blue cheese made from cow’s milk. It is usually crumbly and has a strong, pungent flavor that can vary from mild and sweet to quite sharp. It falls between blue cheese and semi-soft cheese on the texture scale, making it ideal for slicing thinly to be used on salads or stirred into risotto dishes, as it will still retain its shape. Gorgonzola can also be crumbled onto pizzas or mixed with other ingredients to create dip-style spreads.

Gorgonzola is unique in that it contains both white (Penicillium glaucum) and blue (Penicillium roqueforti) mold placements, giving it its characteristic flavor, color and aroma. It also contains aromatics such as propionic acid bacteria that gives it a creamy taste and lactic acid bacteria which gives it its pungent aroma. Gorgonzola pairs well with sweet wines such as Port or Sauternes or lighter white wines, especially Sancerre.

Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is produced from the milk of goats and has a tangy, rich flavor. It is available in many forms, including crumbled or soft and moist. It comes in an array of flavors ranging from mild to sharp, depending on the aging process. This cheese can be used as a spread or melted over vegetables and meats for added flavor and texture.

Goat-milk cheese is a great choice for those looking for an alternative to cow’s milk products as it contains very low levels of lactose, making it suitable for those with lactose intolerance or allergies. Its creamy texture also lends itself to a variety of applications such as incorporating into salads or into sauces. Goat cheese often brings out certain flavors in other ingredients as it matures, which can make preparing dishes with this beloved ingredient that much more enjoyable.

Depending on its age, goat cheese can come in a variety of textures ranging from softer, spreadable varieties (for example: Chevre) to firmer varieties like Feta that are ideal for grating or crumbling over dishes when consumed fresh. As the cheese ages, the moisture evaporates resulting more intense nutty flavors that have hints of citrus and lemon zest – perfect when served alongside charcuterie boards! For recipes utilizing aged goat cheeses, look no further than classic French dishes such as Crottin de Chavignol which pairs perfectly with crusty baguettes for an easy appetizer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What type of meat goes well with risotto?

A1: Chicken, beef, pork, or shrimp all go well with risotto.

Q2: What vegetables can I pair with risotto?

A2: Mushrooms, asparagus, peas, and bell peppers are all popular vegetables to pair with risotto.

Q3: Are there any sides that go well with risotto?

A3: A salad or some crusty bread are popular sides to go with risotto.