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Instant Pot Risotto with Pesto (Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Low Sodium)

Pesto Risotto is an easy & healthy weeknight meal in the Instant Pot!  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!

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, healthy, 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!

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

As always, if you make this vegan pesto risotto be sure to leave me a comment, rate this recipe, and tag me on Instagram so I can feature you.  I love seeing all your photos of my recipe recreations!

Don’t forget to follow over on Pinterest & Instagram – I’d love to connect with you there!

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

Instant Pot Risotto with Pesto

The Herbeevore
Pesto Risotto is an easy & healthy 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

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!


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Calories: 290kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 8gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gSodium: 713mgPotassium: 463mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 870IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 4mg
Keyword 5 Minute Pesto, Arborio Rice, Asparagus, Basil, Garlic, Green Onions, Healthy Rice Recipe, Instant Pot Risotto, Mushrooms, Pesto Risotto, Vegan Risotto
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a rating and comment below!
Or tag me @theherbeevore in your photo on Instagram!
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


  1. 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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