This creamy leek and spinach risotto can serve as a simple and light weeknight dinner or as a side to roast chicken for a more filling meal.
Risotto is one of my favorite things to make when I want to impress someone. It’s super easy to make, has amazing depth of flavor, and just seems fancier than other side options. It's also extremely versatile! My favorite variations are this leek and spinach risotto and my shiitake mushroom risotto!
Aside from the leeks, all the ingredients are things I always have on hand!
- Vegetable stock - I always use my homemade vegetable stock when I make risotto for the best flavor!! You can also use store bought vegetable stock, chicken stock, or even water.
- Leeks - You don't want to use the tough, dark green parts of the leeks in the risotto. But don't just toss them! You can save them in the freezer to make stock with later. If you've never cooked with leeks before, check out this post about how to properly clean leeks!
- Arborio rice - This recipe is best if you use rice that’s specifically for risotto! Risotto is traditionally made with short grain rice that has a high starch content. This is what gives risotto that super creamy, luxurious texture! Arborio rice is most common but I’ve also made this recipe with loto rice and paella rice and they work great! But always double check the cooking instructions for your rice. This recipe uses a 1:4 rice to liquid ratio but if your rice uses a 1:3 ratio, you’ll want to reduce the water by 1 cup.
- White cooking wine - This is completely optional but adds some great flavor to your risotto! I always keep cheap, dry white wine on hand that I use for cooking. It’s amazing how much flavor a $3 bottle of sauvignon blanc can add to a dish!
How to Make Risotto
In a large sauce pan, heat your vegetable stock over medium heat until simmering (you can also use a microwave if you're lazy). Remove from the heat and set aside.
*Don't skip this step!! If the stock hasn't been heated before adding to the rice, it will take significantly longer to absorb.
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add in the shallots, leeks, and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until fragrant.
Add in the rice and lightly toast, stirring frequently for 2-3 more minutes.
Add in ½ cup of the warmed vegetable stock, thyme, salt and pepper, and stir the risotto until completely absorbed, then add in another ½ cup and repeat. Continue to add in the stock ½ cup at a time until it's all absorbed and the rice is fully cooked.
Stir in the parmesan, spinach, and lemon zest. Then taste and adjust seasonings if desired.
Cook gently for another 2-3 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
Remove from the heat and serve immediately!
This leek and spinach risotto is already vegetarian but you can also make it vegan by just omitting the Parmesan! It’s still creamy and tasty without the cheese! But if you eat cheese then you should DEFINITELY add the cheese. Trust me.
Store risotto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Yes but I don't recommend it. Long grain rice will take a little longer to cook and won’t be quite as creamy. Follow the same instructions as below but use 3 cups of water instead. You can also add in ¼ cup of heavy cream towards the end to make it extra creamy.
Yes, but it will be a lot less flavorful. If using water, I recommend also using some sort of bullion to enhance the flavor.
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Leek and Spinach Risotto
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 3 leeks, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup white cooking wine, optional
- 4 cups vegetable stock, warmed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Thoroughly wash the leeks to remove any dirt, then discard the tough dark green tops. Thinly slice the tender white and light green parts of the leek.
- In a medium pot, heat the vegetable stock over medium heat until simmering (you can also heat the stock in a large bowl in the microwave). Remove from the heat and set aside.
- In a large nonstick pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-low heat, then add in the shallot, leeks, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant.
- Add in the rice and toast, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.
- Then add in the white wine to de-glaze the pan and make sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Add in ½ cup of the warmed vegetable stock, thyme, salt and pepper, and stir the risotto until completely absorbed, then add in another ½ cup and repeat. Continue to add in the stock ½ cup at a time until it's all absorbed and the rice is fully cooked.
- Stir in the parmesan, spinach, and lemon zest. Then taste and adjust seasonings if desired.