Dinner, Gluten Free, Healthy, Stove Top, Vegan

Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpeas

This creamy lemon risotto is the perfect warm and cozy meal with fresh lemon juice and zest, topped with these amazing crunchy herb roasted chickpeas and a pinch of flaky salt. Simple, delicious and easily made vegan and dairy free for a healthier version of the Italian classic.

Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpea

How to Make Lemon Risotto

This lemon risotto is pretty simple and easy to make. You do have to stand over the stove for a bit (about 20 minutes) to get that classic creamy texture, but I don’t mind this part. I think it’s kind of relaxing actually.

Start by pouring the stock—chicken or vegetable, into a large saucepan. Bring to gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to keep warm while you make the risotto.

The risotto starts with a base of sautéed onion in a little olive oil. You want to cook the onion until it just begins to soften, this should take about 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic, lemon zest and rice. Lemon zest burns really easily can become bitter if cooked over too high a heat. Make sure to not let the pan get too hot and only cook the zest for about a minute before adding the wine.

When most of the white wine has absorbed into the rice and the alcohol has cooked off, start ladling in the broth. Start with a cup and bring everything up to a gentle simmer. Stir frequently until the liquid has absorbed. Add more stock, about a 1/2 cup at a time, taking little breaks from stirring to allow everything to come back up to a simmer.

Repeat this process until the rice has cooked through. You want tender, but not mushy (think al dente). This whole process should only take about 20 minutes. You don’t want to rush this, but If things are moving a little too slow, increase the heat slightly.

Finally, turn off the heat and stir in the parmesan, lemon juice and sugar. The parm is completely optional, but the lemon juice and sugar are important for bringing out that fresh lemony flavor. Taste the lemon risotto and add more salt. It will probably need more than you think!

Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpea

Tips for Crunchy Chickpeas

These crunchy herb roasted chickpeas are the perfect topping for the lemon risotto. They cook in the oven for about the same time it take to make the risotto, so everything is ready at the same time.

My top tip for ensuring crunchy chickpeas: pat them dry. It’s important to rinse the chickpeas once you drain them from the can, but getting rid of excess moisture is going to allow them to become super crispy in the oven. You can do this by laying them out on a clean kitchen towel and gently patting them dry with paper towel. If you have time, let them air dry.

Once the chickpeas are dry, toss them with oil and a whole bunch of fresh herbs. The wonderful thing about these herb roasted chickpeas is how the fresh rosemary and oregano get coated with the oil and kind of “fry” in the oven, adding an extra little crunch.

I love adding flaky salt to my chickpeas before they go in the oven for some more texture. Regular salt can be substituted, but either way, be generous.

Roast the chickpeas for about 35 minutes. Some ovens run hotter than others, so keep an eye out for that golden brown color. The herbs will start to crisp up too. If you know your oven cooks unevenly, toss the chickpeas halfway through.

Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpea

A Few Notes

  • Make this lemon risotto dairy free by omitting the parmesan cheese and adding an extra tbsp of olive oil instead. To make this recipe vegan, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. Vegan parmesan can also be used as well as a a few spoonfuls of nutritional yeast.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir the lemon risotto. A metal spoon may break up the grains, making the texture gummy.
  • Although the instructions don’t say thus explicitly, It’s really important to salt the risotto as you go. Add a pinch while the onion is cooking and maybe another in between each addition of stock. Taste everything at the end, if it seems a little bland, it needs more salt!
Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpea

More Recipes to Try:

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Yield: 4 servings

Lemon Risotto with Herb Roasted Chickpeas

Lemon risotto with herb roasted chickpeas

Creamy lemon risotto topped with crunchy oven roasted chickpeas and fresh herbs. Cozy, satisfying and easily made dairy free and vegan for a healthier version of the Italian classic.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


For the chickpeas

  • 1 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (oregano, rosemary and/or thyme)
  • Flaky sea salt (optional)

For the risotto

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (optional)
  • 2 tsp sugar or honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the chickpeas on to a clean kitchen towel or paper towel and gently pat dry. Toss with olive oil, herbs and a generous pinch of salt. Spread on to the sheet pan, being careful not to overcrowd. Roast for 30-35 minutues, until golden brown and crispy.
  3. Meanwhile, make the risotto. Heat the stock in a pot over medium heat. Once simmering, reduce the heat to low and keep warm.
  4. In another pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. When shimmering, add the onion and sauté until translucent. About 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic, lemon zest and Arborio rice. Cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. Add the white wine and cook for another 2 minutes until mostly absorbed.
  6. Add about a cup of stock and simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid has absorbed. Stir in more stock, a 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is creamy and cooked al dente. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
  7. Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and fold in the parmesan (if using), sugar, lemon juice and a few grinds of black pepper. Taste for salt and season accordingly.
  8. Serve risotto in shallow bowls, topped with crispy chickpeas, more fresh herbs and a pinch of flaky sea salt if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 633Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 977mgCarbohydrates: 95gFiber: 17gSugar: 27gProtein: 22g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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One Comment

  1. Lovely risotto, and the addition of the chickpeas is brilliant! This was a great dish for a cold and snowy night. Thanks for the recipe!

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