Lemon Asparagus Risotto – Zenwise Lemon Asparagus Risotto – Zenwise
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Lemon Asparagus Risotto

Sometimes Winter can change to Spring in a flash, and suddenly those “comfort food” dishes seem a little too heavy. So, bring wonderful lighter fare using seasonal early spring veggies…like asparagus!

This Lemon Asparagus Risotto is flavored with sweet leeks, crunchy asparagus, white wine, and lemon. The leeks deliver a mild, onion-like flavor, and lemon juice adds a refreshing snap while a hearty sprinkle of Parmesan cheese takes everything up a notch. Serve it with a simple salad and a glass of white wine for a perfect spring meal, or as a side dish with fish or chicken.

This asparagus risotto isn’t super quick to make (spoiler: it involves a lot of stirring!), but it is fairly simple. Once you prep the ingredients it comes together in a few easy steps.


Why We Love These Ingredients

Not only is Asparagus rich in cell-protecting antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids.

It’s also a gut health BFF, thanks to its high levels of soluble and insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber promotes digestive motility and regularity; soluble fiber helps nourish your good gut bacteria. Some research suggests that asparagus can even help relieve inflammation in the colon and intestines.

Leeks are a cousin to onions and garlic, and a good source of vitamins A, C, and K. It is rich in allicin, a natural microbial, as well as kaempferol, an antioxidant compound that supports heart and cell health. Leeks are also a natural prebiotic that helps feed beneficial bacteria in your gut while supporting healthy microbiome balance.

Arborio rice is a type of sticky rice grown in Italy, known for its use in creamy risotto dishes. It’s a great source of energy-producing carbs as well as muscle-developing protein. Plus, it’s another gut-friendly ingredient that reduces constipation and diarrhea and restores healthy bowel function.


Pro Tips To Get You Started

We use chicken stock in this recipe, but feel free to swap out for vegetable stock for a vegetarian option.

When prepping the asparagus, snap off the tough bottom ends, then cut into about ½” discs. If you like very tender asparagus, steam it for about 3-4 minutes, then cut into discs. Or, simply add the asparagus with the last dash of broth during the end of the cooking process for a more al-dente version.

To clean the leeks, trim the root ends then cut in half lengthwise and discard the dark green, fibrous top leave. Then cut the leek crosswise into thin half-moons. Soak the half-moons in a medium bowl of cold water, stirring occasionally to loosen any dirt, and allow the dirt to settle at the bottom. Skim the leeks from the surface of the water and pat dry.

One of the secrets to a delicious risotto is toasting the rice. This helps the rice maintain its structure in the creamy risotto later on. Stir it into the pot and let it cook for 1 minute. Then, add the wine, let it cook down then proceed with the rest of the recipe.

Risotto requires a lot of TLC during the cooking process. You add the broth  ¾ cup at a time, continually stirring until the rice is absorbed. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When making risotto, you get to decide how loose you want it. Just stop adding liquid when the risotto gets to the consistency you like.  And feel free to experiment-- You can easily dress up the risotto with sautéed mushrooms, shallots [instead of leeks] lump crab meat, truffle salt, or herbs like thyme, basil, chives, or dill. Add the herbs at the end of the cooking process.

OK—let’s do this!


Lemon Asparagus Risotto

PREP TIME 10 mins

COOK TIME 35 mins

TOTAL TIME 45 mins

SERVINGS 2 servings as a main dish; 4 servings as a side dish.


  • 2 TBSP olive oil  
  • 2 cups chopped leeks
  • ½ tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced  
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth at room temperature
  • 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed, stalks chopped into small discs
  • 1-1/2 TBSP fresh lemon juice 
  • Lemon zest, for garnish
  • Grated parmesan or Romano cheese, plus some shaved pieces for garnish



  1. Heat the stock in a saucepan until it comes to a low simmer.

  2. In another large skillet or medium Dutch, heat up a drizzle olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and season with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.

  3. Add the garlic and stir to incorporate until it becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the rice, and let it toast for a minute or two. Then stir in the wine and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until the wine cooks down.

  4. Add the broth, ¾ cup at a time, stirring continuously between each addition. Allow each addition of broth to be absorbed by the rice before adding the next. Stir often to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  5. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed Add the asparagus with the last addition of the broth. Cook until the rice is al dente and the asparagus are just cooked through. The risotto should be soft and creamy. [total process takes at least 20 minutes].

  6. Add in lemon juice. Stir to blend, then turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with lemon zest and shaved parmesan. Serve immediately.

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