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Instant Pot Pesto Risotto Recipe (Vegan, Dairy Free)

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This Instant Pot Pesto Risotto recipe is an easy & flavorful weeknight meal in the pressure cooker!  Loaded with fresh vegetables, homemade pesto, and arborio rice its is perfect to meal prep.

This green herby pesto would make a perfect St. Patrick’s Day side dish!

pressure cooker risotto low salt no salt healthy herbs arborio rice italian

This recipe is a true weeknight wonder!  I couldn’t even believe that you could make a proper risotto in the instant pot, but it the consistency turns out PERFECT.  No lie!

I am a huge fan of Easy Weeknight Meals, and therefore, also a huge fan of my Instant Pot.  I love making quick, hearty, simple dishes in under an hour, and this risotto is perfect.

Traditional risottos are a true labor of love, and I only used to make them on special occasions when I had a ton of time to cook and stir and stir and stir.  But with the below recipe, this no-stir risotto is a game changer for us!  Its also low sodium with the addition of the pesto.  You get bright bold herby flavors without the salt!

Another thing I used to love was adding tons of parmesan cheese to my risotto – but this salt-free pesto is the perfect substitute!  The fresh herbs give it a ton of flavor, the garlic brings heat, and the walnuts add a wonderful rich consistency.  Its the cherry on top (or the pesto on top) of this recipe!

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pressure cooker risotto low salt no salt healthy herbs arborio rice italian

Instant Pot Risotto with Pesto

Kelly Jensen
Pesto Risotto is an easy & tasty weeknight meal in the Instant Pot!  Loaded with fresh vegetables, homemade pesto, and arborio rice its is perfect to meal prep.
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Slow Release Time 15 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 290 kcal


For the Risotto

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 1 lb mushrooms sliced
  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 6 cups Vegetable Stock or water
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper

For the Pesto

  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1/2 cup walnuts toasted
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 olive oil more depending on consistency desired


  • Set the instant pot to Sauté mode.  Add the olive oil, garlic, and onions and sauté on low for 6-8 minutes until the vegetables become translucent.
  • Add the rice and continue to sauté for 2-3 additional minutes until the rice begins to brown.
  • Add the zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, vegetable stock, and Herbes des Provance to the pot.  Stir to combine.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Manual/Pressure Cook for 7 minutes.  Once it has cooked, allow the pressure to release manually for 15 minutes.  After then, do a quick release of the rest of the steam.
  • While the risotto is cooking, add all the pesto ingredients to a blender: basil, parsley, walnuts, garlic, and olive oil.  Blend to a smooth consistency, adding more olive oil if desired.
  • To serve, scoop risotto into a bowl, and add a dollop of pesto on top.  Stir the pesto into the risotto and enjoy!


Calories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 8gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 713mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 870IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 4mg
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Posted in Dinners, Easy Weeknight Meals, Favorites, Gluten Free, Instant Pot Recipes, Italian, One Pot Recipes, Side Dishes, The Herbeevore Recipes, Vegan Recipes, Vegetarian Recipes


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  5. Cat

    I want to make this recipe tonight but I don’t have an Arborio and I have lots of other grains. Would Pearl barley, orzo, jasmine rice or nishiki sushi rice work? I’m sure you can see why I am not running out to get a new grain!

    • The Herbeevore

      Hi Cat, great question! I haven’t tried it with other grains/rices, however I’d start by trying the nishiki sushi rice first. It’s similar to arborio in that it’s a short grain which should give you a lot of the creaminess that arborio has. Let me know how it turns out!

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