The.Boy. is still getting used to this whole “dating a vegetarian” thing.

The other day he informed me that if he were a vegetarian, he would eat fish every day.

Really.  It happened.


Granted, he’s referring to the fact that I will eat fish on increasingly rare occasions.  (Like…. .01 percent of the time. Mostly sushi.  Mostly doused in soy sauce and wasabi and pickled ginger.)

But still.

I gave him a “did you really just say that?!?” look of shock.


Then there was Saturday when he plucked a package of tempeh bacon out of his fridge and said, “Do you want this disgusting thing back?”

Never mind that he had eaten a bowl of pasta that was chock full of it just a week before.  And.Liked.It.  (A fact that I very persistently reminded him of, don’t you worry.)


All that being said, he really is very good about not questioning what I put in front of him (that’s how I tricked got him to eat the tempeh bacon in the first place).  And just diving in fork-first.

Hence why, the second time I cooked for him EVER.  I made risotto.

We had stayed at his place and it was a spur-of-the-moment lunch decision.  Risotto, at least to me, is easy.  It doesn’t really require a recipe and uses minimal cooking equipment (I think he had a pot and a few butter knives.  I’ve since equipped him with a few of my extra cooking implements.)

Not a big deal, right?

Except…he doesn’t like rice.

Somewhere in the back of mind, I think I knew this about him, but I just didn’t put the two together.  And he didn’t remind me either.

Not when I told him what I was making.

Not when we went to the grocery store and I put a big box of arborio rice into the shopping cart.

Not when I dumped the whole box into his (only) pot and started stirring away.

Now, if this were my brother or father, they would have spent the entire time informing me that I was trying to murder them by feeding them their less-than-favorite ingredients.  Not The.Boy.

I think it finally dawned on me just as he was about to take his first bite and when I asked him (in horror) why he hadn’t said anything, he just replied, “I knew if you were making it that it would taste good.”

Yup, he’s a keeper.

This recipe isn’t exactly the one I served him that day…but it’s close.  At the least, the gist of it is the same.  Tons of veggies with a hint of lemon and lots of creamy melt-in-your-mouth rice.

Even the rice-haters in your life will go back for seconds. Pinky swear.


Summer Lemon-Vegetable Risotto
Serves 4, adapted from Cooking Light


  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 oz sugar snap peas, halved
  • 5 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 1 summer squash, cut into half moons
  • 4 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add asparagus and sugar snap peas and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain and then rinse with cold water.  Set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Saute the zucchini and summer squash until just starting to brown, about 7 minutes.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium pot, bring the vegetable broth to a simmer.
  4. Add the remaining tbsp of olive oil to the pan.  Over medium heat, saute the shallots until tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the rice and saute for 1 minute, constantly stirring.  Add 1 cup of the simmering vegetable broth, stirring continuously until almost all of it evaporates.  Add another 1/2 cup of the broth and stir until it evaporates.  Repeat with remaining broth until rice is tender and cooked through, reserving 1/4 cup of broth.
  5. Add the veggies to the pan and cook for one minute or until heated through.  Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved 1/4 cup broth, parmesan cheese, chives, lemon zest, lemon juice, and better.  Season with salt and black pepper to taste.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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116 Responses to Summer Lemon-Vegetable Risotto

  1. 1) This dish looks fabulous. 2) I agree – the boy’s a keeper based on this story!

  2. Wait, your boyfriend also doesn’t like rice?! And I haven’t met him yet?!?! He is smart, though… I kind of think that whatever you would make will be delicious.

  3. Barbara says:

    I’m not a rice-hater, but admit I don’t make risotto often. I love the lemon in this. So fresh. I’m on a big lemon kick right now!

  4. Risotto is one of my favorite foods to play with. I love seeing what vegetables I can add to it and make a hundred variations.

    How can someone not like rice? It’s one of the most inoffensive tastes out there!

    I’d be a vegetarian before I ate fish every day! *shudders at the though*

  5. london bakes says:

    Do you think I can trade my boyfriend for yours? Only kidding (sort of).

  6. OohLookBel says:

    This recipe sounds absolutely delightful, just like your boyfriend =)

  7. Ha!!! Maybe he could be a fish-i-tarian. 🙂

    This looks gorgeous! So fresh and light for summer!

  8. Candace says:

    This risotto looks amazing!

  9. Adrienne says:

    The.Boy. sounds adorable. Must keep around men who are okay with vegetarians and compliment you on your cooking. Kudos. Now if only I could find me one…

  10. Patsyk says:

    I love reading about The Boy! He does sound like a keeper, and that risotto sounds perfect for the warm weather that’s coming this week!

  11. Sam says:

    Awww…you’re still in the honeymoon period. D used to tell me that things I made would taste good…and then we moved in together 😉 (don’t let that scare you–he’s still fantastic and will still try things). Risotto is one of the things that he didn’t think he’d like, but he ended up loving. I think the vegetables you put in this one sound delicious.

  12. Beth says:

    This is exactly the kind of recipe I’ve been looking for! And yes, he is definitely a keeper.

  13. Definitely sounds like a keeper, Joanne! I bet I could make this with spelt berries or barley for a rice-less risotto… Yum! 🙂

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Risotto doesn’t always do it for me, but I LOVE that you packed it full of bright green and yellow spring veggies.

  15. Danielle says:

    Swoon. Isn’t nice when they’re honest and incredibly flattering at the same time?

  16. Mary says:

    This looks awesome. He’s definitely a keeper.

  17. Kim says:

    Aww…that is such a sweet story! He is a keeper for sure. Those kinda guys are few and far between. Hang on tight 🙂

    This risotto looks so bright, vibrant, and delicious!

  18. Oh how sweet! <3 <3 <3 (SC doesn't say good things about my cooking nowadays ^_^') and the risotto looks and sounds amazing!!!

  19. Marcia says:

    He is a keeper.

    Man I love risotto. And my favorite version is always the lemony-spring version. My neighbor’s lemon tree is going crazy right now. Add some asparagus and goat cheese (when I’m not pregnant), and I am in heaven.

  20. Definitely a keeper. The boy. And the risotto 🙂

  21. There’s nothing more flattering, as a cook, than having someone express the “I don’t like ____, but I know I’d like it if you cooked it” syndrome!

  22. Amy says:

    Wait…what? He doesn’t like rice? Whaaa?? Back in the day when I didn’t eat meat, but did eat fish, I called myself a FISHetarian. Maybe you’re a SUSHIetarian 😉 But more importantly, how can he not like rice!!??

  23. You have me at tempeh bacon!
    The risotto looks so very tasty! My husband actually doesn’t eat rice, unless flavoured with curry. So I am going to have this all for myself!

  24. I love tricking them,don’t you? he he I giggle when my Husband goes, this is good and I tell him whats in it and his face, it’s priceless.

    Your risotto looks amazing!!

  25. daphne says:

    Noooo… how can he not like rice?? Bet you swayed him over with this one though. He sounds like a keeper!

  26. Margarita says:

    I love the summer season going on in your dish! All these veggies withrice and cheese sound so delightful!

  27. MS3 says:

    Aww he sounds nice 😛

  28. Cute! He’s definitely a keeper 🙂 This sounds great and so summery!

  29. kelsey says:

    Who doesn’t like rice??? I am cracking up over this.

  30. I love how full of veggies this is! He must be a rice convert now.

  31. Karen says:

    Yep, he sounds like a keeper and so does this recipe… I love lemon in risotto. We don’t eat out very often because my husband says the best place to eat is at home (he’s a keeper, too 🙂

  32. bellini says:

    Yes the boy is a keeper if he likes risotto.

  33. Jenna says:

    “I knew if you were making it that it would taste good.”!!???!?!
    Yes. Keeper for sure.
    Let me know when the wedding is and where’ you’re registered. =)

  34. this looks so amazing right now. exactly what i would love to eat for lunch. want to come over and make it?

  35. Sippity Sup says:

    There are rice haters in this world? GREG

  36. Haha oh wow! I love this story 🙂 I have a similar summer risotto story with a much sadder ending–made it for a guy who loved the food but not me and ended up being a terrific jerk in the end. Oh well, someday I’ll find someone who appreciates ME as much as my COOKING. Bleh.

  37. Gloria says:

    aah love this risotto Joanne!

  38. Wow. I would love to make this tonight. It is hard to find a recipe for risotto that isn’t drenched in dairy- I can handle a little butter and a little parm- I am so happy there is no cream though! Thanks for the recipe!

  39. tigerfish says:

    That’s how flexi-tarian came about. Or vege-quarian? haha…whatever.

    Appreciate the lady who is cooking! 🙂

  40. Nicole, RD says:

    Well by the boy’s standards, I am nearly a vegetarian. Psh. Too funny. Those men, I tell ya. They stay stupid shit, we blog about it, and everyone wins because we think it’s endearing and love them anyways.

    This looks deeelicious! P.S. Tempeh bacon? Hmmm. I need to keep an eye out!

  41. Laura says:

    Your recipes make me drool. This risotto looks divine Joanne!

  42. I have to start making more risotto, my hubby loves it …
    This looks fabulous, totally bookmarked!!

  43. i didn’t know this could actually happen but the picture is speaking to me. Its saying SUMMER and MAKE ME

  44. Kristen says:

    Awwww that’s such a sweet story. He’s definitely a keeper! This risotto looks soooo yummy too :).

  45. Dining Alone says:

    That looks so delicious!! I have only tried making risotto once!

  46. Ruth Daniels says:

    the boy is definitely a keeper, but then again… so are you! Great looking risotto!

  47. Jenn Kendall says:

    okay, i am making this sometime this week – looks PERFECT for summer, so fresh and light and delicious!

  48. Mary says:

    It sounds like a wonderful risotto. You’llmake a convert of him yet :-). Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  49. I adore risotto. Great addition of so many veggies!

  50. Camila Faria says:

    How can he not like rice? I adore rice and risotto!!!

  51. He is a keeper! I love that he said that he knew if you made it, it would be tasty! 🙂

  52. Guru Uru says:

    This risotto is fit for a king my friend, it looks heavenly 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  53. Hotly Spiced says:

    He definitely sounds like a keeper. And your risotto looks so good. And the colour of those greens is just amazing. What a beautiful looking meal and yes, I am sure all rice-haters would love it xx

  54. I have to admit, I’m not sold on tempeh quite yet either — but the boy doesn’t like rice?! Does not compute! At least he saw the beauty of this dish – and has some sweet lines to boot 🙂

  55. Danielle says:

    Yup hes a keeper – but really – how does someone not like rice?

  56. Donna says:

    If I could choose anyone to make my least favorite food appealing, it would be you. Smart guy. Keep him on speed dial, definitely.

  57. Cara says:

    He is one smart cookie. You, my dear, are a little whacked if you think risotto is an impromptu meal… but this is why we love you 🙂

  58. Faith says:

    Ahhh, love it! He sounds like a real sweetie…and he’s definitely one lucky guy with you cooking for him!

    I have to say, I LOVE that you love sushi! Next time I’m in NYC we NEED to meet up, lol!

  59. Megan says:

    Definitely a keeper. That is so sweet!

  60. Alyce says:

    haha i love this. i had a boyfriend do a similar thing. they can be too funny!

    but it’s sweet 🙂

  61. LOL … yea, I was pretty close to being a vegetarian too before I got married; and am amazed that I didn’t scare anyone away 😉 This dish looks perfectly yummy Joanne!

  62. That Girl says:

    At least he said fish and not chicken That’s a step in the right direction.

  63. Christine says:

    You found a really good one! Definitely a keeper! Love risotto and you make it look so easy. Can’t imagine not liking rice…especially arborio and basmati. But to each their own…one of my mom’s fav sayings.

  64. Ahh men lol! This looks gorgeous Jo! I’d totally devour this right now

  65. Risotto is always one of my favorites!

  66. Pam says:

    What a darling he sounds like! Better hang on to him! This dish sounds delicious and is a must try!

  67. Reeni says:

    He’s a sweetie! I would feel the same way about you. I mean if you were making something I didn’t like I’m pretty sure you could make it in a way that would change my mind. I love this veggie-packed risotto! Especially for lunch cause that means leftovers for dinner.

  68. Awww, your bf is so sweet! Honestly though, I think he’s right. I feel like picky eaters are only picky because they haven’t had the foods they hate made well. I’ve converted my fiance from hating a ton of foods…tho there are still a few he convinces himself will always taste bad 😉

  69. Natalie says:

    you found a keeper!!

    gorgeous pics by the way!

  70. Esi says:

    Great flavors that even the biggest meat eaters will love.

  71. Katie says:

    Good for him! He sounds like he’s worth keeping around, despite the fish comment. I find that they usual come around to the whole vegetarian thing after a while.

  72. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a rice hater! But if I ever met one, I would definitely feed them risotto, this dish could convert anyone!

  73. Karis Ann says:

    I love the look of this recipe. I plan to make it as soon as the first summer squash hits my CSA box.

  74. Your boy sounds like such a character! And great recipe! I definitely could use more veggies in my diet. I’ve been carb loading too much man.

  75. love2dine says:

    Those look heavenly! Great flavors and wonderful texture.

  76. Kari says:

    Oh how funny – sometimes people come out with odd things! I can understand how this would convert him though, it looks outstanding. As in, I want to climb into the screen and eat it 🙂

  77. Shannon says:

    aww, how sweet! glad he likes after all 😉

  78. I adore your boyfriend 🙂 he’s a sweet guy !

  79. I love rice and risotto and any type of grains really…how can they not? It’s delicious and goes so well with everything. 😀 Your recipe sounds delicious!

  80. He is definitely a keeper, Joanne! 🙂 My guy very dutifully ate porridge I had burnt without complaining a whit. Later that night as he devoured a piece of apple pie he said very calmly, “Babe, you can cook an apple pie…You cannot cook porridge on a Monday morning.” 🙂 He’s a keeper too. 🙂

  81. Chaya says:

    Risotto is a winner and with veggies, it goes to the top of the list.

  82. Lynn says:

    Yes – he sounds like a keeper. Back when I was vegan, I ate tempeh, but now I’ve lost my taste for it.

    This risotto dish looks so good!

  83. Katerina says:

    If he said that Joanne then he is certainly a keeper and I will give you just a tiny piece of advice. Relationship is basically a transaction you take and you give, you give and you take. If this guy is as good as I suspect he is then you should perhaps give something too, that will make him happy! This risotto is a good start!

  84. Hannah says:

    “Doesn’t like rice”? Uhm, what? At least he’s open minded enough to try things- That’s more than half the battle. If anyone can convince someone else that vegetarianism is delicious, it would be you.

    Wish you had brought him to The Seed! Now that would have been culture shock, huh? 😉

  85. Cathleen says:

    Aw, he definitely is a keeper. I wonder what kind of rice he’s tried before because rice is absolutely delicious!
    This looks perfect! I have never actually tried risotto, but I think I would like to soon

  86. Pam says:

    He does sound like a keeper! So does this recipe for risotto… a keeper indeed!!!

  87. This looks delicious and so healthy! Cute story, too!

  88. Nicole says:

    Cracked me up with the fish comment!
    Look delicious
    Dang – must be getting serious if you are leaving cooking implements there. That has got to be more precious than a tooth brush or some undies even!

  89. This is such a lovely summer risotti, Joanne! You added in all my favorite seasonal flavors, too. Great recipe!

  90. I am not a vegetarian, but I imagine that I could be one, pretty easily…
    This looks like the stuff and I’m pretty sure wouldn’t require any tricking on my part to get my husband to eat it 🙂

    btw ~ can’t believe I didn’t see you at BHF! Where WERE you!?

  91. Mmmmm! I’ve been looking for ways to incorporate more veggies into my diet. This will definitely get made.

  92. Julie says:

    Glad he likes risotto!! This one looks delicious.

  93. I could eat this every night! Love the lemon!!

  94. Carolyn Jung says:

    A perfect veggie risotto that sings of spring. I think even my carnivore husband might go crazy for this. 😉

  95. Blond Duck says:

    Awww! What a gentleman!

  96. this looks wonderful and thrilled to hear your dating wish u all the happiness in the world

  97. Lora says:

    This looks like the perfect summer dish.

  98. Sounds like the two of you are getting along very well 🙂 How could you not when you’re spoiling him with great food like this?

  99. Johanna GGG says:

    the boy sounds like a sweetie and like he is going through that wonderful stage of a relationship when anything is possible – E tried vegemite when we first went out and then forgot he was ever so open minded but years later suddenly went back to having it occasionally – it’s funny what we will try and what we wont – though I tend to agree with the boy that I would try anything you cooked!

  100. Mmm, lemony goodness! He definitely sounds like a keeper!

  101. What a good man! And he is right you know 😉 I love lemon in my risotto.

  102. Yum…I would eat this too even if I didn’t like rice but since I do I think it is a keeper. Beautiful with all the vegetables.

  103. elly says:

    LOVE this. I’ve made lemon/asparagus risotto in the past, but the snap peas are really winning me over. Totally going on the menu soon.

  104. Jeanette says:

    Joanne – this is screaming of all the fresh veggies I’ve been seeing at the farmer’s market! It was nice meeting you at BlogHer Food by the way (sorry it’s taken me so long to stop by and say hi, seems like it’s taken me a while to catch up with everything!).

  105. Chris says:

    If I had to eat fish everyday, I would become a vegetarian. No joke.

  106. Casey says:

    I love creamy risotto especially with those great extras. You do have a keeper so keep him and be happy.

    I think, I should make my hubby risotto now.

  107. The risotto looks lovely! It’s sweet that he ate the rice anyway (what’s not to like about rice?!), my boyfriend hates mushrooms and I wish he’d take the same approach as yours!

  108. vianney says:

    Loving the boy!! and this dish!!

  109. Ginger says:

    Joanne, this is one of my favorite things I have ever eaten. Risotto totally worth the effort! I made the following alterations:
    -baked the squash and asparagus in the oven (10 minutes at 400, with a bit of EVOO and s/p)
    -did not cook the sugar snap peas (just cut them in half)
    -used black rice, which required a little more water (maybe 1/2 a cup?) and a little more time. it was DELICIOUS though.
    -I used 3 cups of homemade veggie stock and the rest of the liquid was water

    I thought the lemon made the dish. Thanks for another good one!

  110. Ginger says:

    oh also I didn’t have chives, so I used some finely chopped scallions

  111. Deborah says:

    Yeah, he is definitely a keeper!! And this risotto is a keeper, too.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Love this blog, also looking for tasty and not too cheesy vegetarian food I can badger the omnivore in my life to eat 🙂

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