If you are looking for a super simple recipe, this baked kale and zucchini risotto is a creamy comfort food dinner that the whole family will love. Forget stirring a pan continuously, this is the easy risotto recipe that doesn't give you arm ache! Perfect for busy weeknight dinners when you get in late and want the oven to do the work for you.
Baked risotto is one of my favourite ideas for hearty comfort food that requires very little 'hands on' time - i.e. very little stirring! If this sounds good to you too, then you may like to see my baked asparagus risotto and baked fennel risotto. Both creamy and delicious vegetarian risotto ideas!
This kale zucchini risotto is the perfect combination of creamy cheese and rice with tasty green veggies. Flavourful from the herbs and with the cosiest feeling, it's perfect for both weekday and weekend dinner meals!
Love kale dishes? Do have a peek at my tahini kale side salad too!
⭐ Why you will love this kale risotto
- The best comfort food. Hearty and filling, and the gooiest comfort food dinner!
- So creamy. The mix of the risotto rice and cream cheese is so good.
- Easy to make. As a baked risotto, there is no need to stand stirring at the stovetop.
- Alcohol free. This kale risotto is made without wine.
This (almost!) no-stir risotto is made with fairly minimal ingredients, and mostly pantry staples. You will need:
- Olive oil, onion and garlic - the base of the flavour of the risotto.
- Arborio rice - be sure to use specialist risotto rice rather than regular white rice.
- Kale and zucchini - for your fresh green veg! As always, use as fresh as you can with no bruising. See below for how to prepare the kale.
- Cream cheese - I suggest using one with as few additives as possible.
- Herbs - I suggest thyme and sage, but other herbs would work well too.
- Vegetable broth - ideally you would make your own, but if store-bought then check ingredients are suitable for you.
📖 Variations on the recipe
If you prefer not to use the cream cheese, then simply leave out for a vegan kale risotto. I haven't tried it myself, but if vegan cream cheese is suitable for you, this would be a good option.
🔪 Step by step instructions
Although it looks as though there are quite a few steps for this baked kale risotto made without wine, all are very easy and there's barely any time stirring the mixture!
Prepare the kale, unless it has already been done for you. Give it a rinse, then remove any hard stems. Dice quite finely (image 1).
Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes until softened (image 2).
Add the zucchini to the pot and stir together with the onion and garlic. Fry for 3-4 minutes (image 3).
Tip in the rice and stir well so it is coated with the oil. Cook for a minute or so. Stir and be sure not to let it burn (image 4).
Spoon the rice mixture into an ovenproof dish and pour in the vegetable stock. Add the thyme and sage, as well as salt and black pepper (if using) (image 5). Bake for 30 minutes, making sure to remove from the oven halfway through and giving it a good stir.
Remove from the oven and stir through the kale. Bake for a further 2-3 minutes. If it seems too dry, add a little more stock or water.
Stir through the cream cheese and serve immediately.
💭 Recipe tips and notes
- Be sure to use risotto rice, such as arborio rice. Regular rice won't get the same creamy consistency.
- Prepare the kale and remove the hard stems. They won't be pleasant to eat!
- Adjust the amount of herbs to taste preference. Sage is fairly pungent so you may not wish to add too much!
- Stirring halfway through is important as it will help the rice evenly soak up the vegetable stock.
- Serve immediately as it will become quite stodgy if left too long.
🥣 Freezing guidance
Sadly this risotto doesn't freeze too well, and becomes overly thick and stodgy. Best to make and serve immediately.
Baked Kale and Zucchini Risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ white onion finely diced
- 1 garlic clove finely diced or minced, optional
- ¾ cup arborio rice
- 1 small zucchini diced
- ½ cup kale tightly packed, stems removed, finely diced
- 2.5 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves diced
- 1 teaspoon sage leaves diced
- pinch salt
- pinch black pepper optional
- Preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.
- If not already prepared, remove the hard stems from the kale and finely dice.
- In a large pot fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add the zucchini to the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook for a further minute, stirring well so it is coated in the oil.
- Spoon the mixture into your ovenproof dish and pour in the vegetable stock. Transfer the dish to the oven, stir very thoroughly, and cover. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the dish halfway through cooking to stir again. Add more water if necessary.
- Stir in the kale. Cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and stir through the cream cheese. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
- Stir very thoroughly when adding the rice and stock to the pan. This is important so the rice can evenly absorb the liquid.
- If the dish seems as though it needs extra liquid when you remove it from the oven halfway through baking (or before adding the kale) add a touch more stock or water.
- Serve immediately as it doesn't keep too well and will thicken and become overly stodgy in texture.
- Cream cheese can contain additives, so check the ingredients of the brand you purchase. I often find that supermarket own brands have less additives than big-name brands.
- Please note that nutritional information is offered as a courtesy. It is auto-generated and should be understood to be an estimate.
- vegetable stock - branded products are not rated.
- garlic, which scores 1, although it is stated that small amounts are usually well tolerated after cooking.
- kale is not rated on the list, so omit if you have any concerns.
- black pepper, which scores 2, although it is stated that small amounts are tolerated.