How to Make a Healthy Tomato Risotto Recipe – JOI
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How to Make a Healthy Tomato Risotto Recipe

How to Make a Healthy Tomato Risotto Recipe?

Risotto is one of the most popular rice dishes in Italian cuisine.  And, despite it's "difficult" reputation, this creamy delicacy can be easy to cook.  So we're serving up a healthier recipe that ditches dairy and incorporates tomatoes and basil to let those authentic Italian flavors shine. The one-pot meal can be your utterly delicious midweek fix or a weekend showstopper!

The Healthiest Ingredients of Our Recipe

We've all heard the risotto "rumors".  It's too rich.  Too unhealthy.  Too difficult to make it right.  Too time consuming!  We're here to set the record straight with this healthier recipe, which boils down to three essential ingredients.

Arborio Rice

Arborio rice is traditionally used for making risotto. This variety of rice, which comes from Italy, is higher in starch compared with other rice varietals.  That starch is responsible for the "baseline" creamy texture of a risotto. 

Buy a bag at your local grocery store or online!  It's worth it.

JOI – Almond or Cashew Base

Cream, butter, cheese.  And more parmesan cheese on top.  Delicious, at times, but the #ditchdairy movement is real for a reason. 

But how to achieve the same creamy, buttery result without using dairy?

Try JOI Almond or Cashew base!  It is the perfect alternative to heavy cream or butter. Importantly, JOI plant bases taste fantastic in most any dish where you are looking to eliminate dairy. 

Plus, JOI plant bases have a long shelf life.  No need to run out to the store for extra ingredients when JOI is already sitting on your pantry shelf.


Tomatoes add delicious flavor AND veggie-power to this dish.  Did you know that tomatoes are high in Vitamin C?!  

Bonus:  Basil

OK, OK, we said three ingredients, but the basil is worth mentioning too.  It adds an extra punch of flavor in there that we can't ignore!

Give the Recipe a “Twist”

Feeling adventuresome?  Tired of tomato-basil?  Want to cook seasonally? Risottos can take in a myriad of flavors. Why not experiment with slightly different flavors and nutrient profiles. Here are a few ideas if you want to substitute the tomato-basil combination.

The Verde Risotto

Mix in some pesto at the end of the recipe, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the robust taste.  

Or toss in a handful of spinach or arugula for the same green effect!  (Just add in some garlic for extra flavor).

Mushroom Risotto

Cook in a few shitake, cremini, portobello or porcini mushrooms and let these fungi shine in their creamy bed of rice. 

Mushrooms are also a worthwhile addition to the "original" recipe.

Spring Vegetable Risotto

Peas and asparagus in season?  Make this risotto recipe!

The Nutty Risotto

Walnuts are a perfect garnish for risottos. They give a nice crunch to the otherwise buttery texture of the dish.  And they're good for you! Make sure to add chopped walnuts right before serving the risotto. 

Tomato Risotto with Garlic Crumbs

The simplest yet the most flavorful addition to our creamy risotto recipe is the garlic garnish. Finish off the creamy risotto with some crispy garlic crumbs. Add some lemon zest to balance out the flavors.

    Three Perfect Salads to Go with Your Risotto

    Risotto is all about creaminess and comfort. Try these salads alongside to brighten and complement the meal.

    • The Spring Green Salad: Enjoy the goodness of fresh vegetables seasoned with an orange sesame dressing. 
    • Broccoli Slaw: An Asian-inspired recipe that puts together all your favorite veggies. Toss in some fried peanuts for that extra crunch.
    • Kale-Cranberry Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing: The filling and fast chickpea salad take no more than 10 minutes of prep time. Try the healthy, dairy-free version of the salad with natural plant products for JOI.

    Time to Cook the Recipe!

    Risotto demands no special equipment, no extravagant ingredients, and no professional techniques. It takes a simple pan, a wooden spoon, and a little patience (about 30 minutes) to churn out the creamiest healthy risotto.

    So let's get to it...

    Tomato-Basil Risotto Recipe


    • 2 cups arborio rice
    • ¼ cup JOI plant base (cashew or almond)
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 6 cups stock or broth (chicken stock or fish stock or vegetable stock)*
    • ½-1 Tablespoons of salt (to taste)
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
    • Pinch of red pepper flakes
    • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil 
    • 1 tomato, diced
    • 5 basil leaves, thinly sliced 
    • Optional: half a dozen raw shrimp
    • Optional:  top with a handful of arugula 


    1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over medium heat and add the rice.
    2. Stir the rice around until fully coated with olive oil and toast the rice for about 5 minutes.
    3. Meanwhile, to a blender bowl add the can of diced tomatoes, JOI, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and stock. Blend until smooth.
    4. One cup at a time, add in the tomato mixture to the rice, stirring frequently in between each addition of liquid until the liquid has been fully absorbed.  This should take anywhere from 15-25 minutes.  If enjoying shrimp, add the shrimp with the addition of the last cupful of liquid and cook until shrimp is opaque pink. 
    5. When all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is fully cooked through, stir in the diced tomato, half of the basil, and the pinch of red pepper flakes.  Taste and season with salt if necessary.
    6. Top the creamy risotto with the remainder of the basil (and arugula if using!) and serve.

    *Note:  Replace one cup of broth with one cup of white wine instead to vary the flavor.

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