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White Bean Risotto

White Bean Risotto

Creamy white beans provide a rich, flavorful base for a vegetarian risotto. It’s topped with crunchy parsley breadcrumbs for added texture and zing. This recipe works well for both vegetarians and vegans alike.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword bean risotto, breadcrumb topping, date night, garlic bread, parsley, risotto, vegetarian recipes, weeknight dinner, white beans
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 360kcal


For the white bean risotto

  • 4 to 6 cups vegetable stock or homemade bean stock
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced to yield about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 15.5-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained cannellini or great northern beans work well here
  • 1 cup risotto rice arborio rice or carnaroli rice
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine such as chardonnay or pinot grigio
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste optional
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pecorino romano cheese optional, omit if vegan

For the herby breadcrumbs

  • 1 clove raw garlic finely minced
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley finely chopped and patted dry to remove any excess moisture
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and black pepper


For the white bean risotto

  • Simmer the stock: In a large saucepan, heat 4 cups vegetable stock until gently simmering (you may need to add the remaining 2 cups later).
  • Cook the onion: Meanwhile, set a medium dutch oven with 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, and cook, stirring occasionally for 8 to 10 minutes, until they are soft and translucent. Reduce the heat as needed to minimize browning.
  • Saute the rest of the ingredients: Add the garlic, and cook on medium-low heat for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the white beans and stir to incorporate. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mash about half of the beans (this will help release the starches to make the sauce creamier), keeping the other half intact. Stir in the rice, and cook for 1 minute to allow the grains to toast slightly. Season with a pinch of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
  • Simmer the wine: Add the white wine, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer. Let the wine reduce for 2 to 3 minutes until it's at half the original volume. Stir in the miso paste, if using.
  • Cook the risotto: Add a ladleful (around 1/2 cup) of the warmed vegetable stock to the risotto and stir to incorporate. Simmer on medium-low heat until the liquid is almost fully absorbed, stirring occasionally. Season again with a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Add another ladleful of stock, stir, and continue repeating the process of simmering the rice gently, stirring occasionally, and adding more liquid once the previous liquid is absorbed. You want the liquid to be almost fully absorbed without the rice sticking to the pan. Keep repeating the process until the rice is al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes. The risotto should have the slightest bite in the center, but not taste gritty. The consistency should be creamy, and slightly liquidy, but not soupy. The creamy liquid should cling to the rice (and if it doesn't, you may need to continue simmering it for a few minutes to reduce more liquid). As the risotto cools, it will continue to thicken slightly.
    Note: During this process, you may need to heat the additional 2 cups of stock if you're running low.

For the herby breadcrumbs

  • While the risotto cooks, make the herby breadcrumbs. Place garlic and parsley onto a small baking sheet and set aside.
  • Heat a wide saute pan on medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir in the breadcrumbs and layer evenly in the pan. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently until breadcrumbs are evenly toasted and golden-brown in color. Err on the side of caution here, as the residual heat will continue cooking the breadcrumbs slightly.
  • Immediately transfer the breadcrumbs to the baking sheet, stirring until all the garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs are evenly mixed throughout. Season with salt and pepper and let cool completely.

Finish the risotto

  • To finish the dish, remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese. Add more pecorino if desired, then season with salt and pepper. I like my risotto on the peppery side to mimic the style of cacio e pepe, so I will often add about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of black pepper (in total through the whole cooking process). If the risotto is too thick, you can stir in some residual vegetable stock.
  • Serve: Top the risotto with a generous spoonful of breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil, and serve hot.



Stock: My favorite vegetable stock is Better than Bouillon's mushroom bouillon. I find this brand of bouillon pastes adds so much more flavor than a typical vegetable stock. If you do use it, keep in mind it's naturally salted you will want to watch the amount of additional salt you add. 
Breadcrumbs: If you notice that the breadcrumbs begin to get soggy at all, you can reheat the breadcrumbs on the baking sheet at 350F for a few minutes. The heat from the oven should help dry out the breadcrumbs once more.
Dietary Needs: If you're vegan, you can easily omit the pecorino-romano cheese. Miso paste is a really nice alternative, so if you'd like to try that, use 2 tablespoons of miso paste total. Keep in mind, miso paste is salty so watch how much you're salting the risotto. 
Storage: Leftover risotto can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Leftover breadcrumbs can be stored in the fridge for 2 days. 


Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 1163mg | Potassium: 200mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 870IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 181mg | Iron: 2mg