Healthy Lemon Chicken Risotto

Healthy Lemon Chicken Risotto

Risotto is not only a tasty, super easy, and relatively cheap meal to make but it’s healthy, nutritious and balanced too. A risotto dish provides the perfect combination of protein (the building blocks of life), starchy carbs (for energy) and vegetables (for fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants).

I love risotto as it tastes super creamy but is actually relatively low in calories – it’s the rice that makes this dish so rich in texture and it goes perfect with a side salad or even on its own. I adapted this recipe from one that I saw on Love Food Hate Waste, which is a fantastic website for tips on how to make your food (and money!) go further.. it even has weekly meal planners and shopping lists too.

I used heart-healthy olive oil in this recipe which is perfect when cooking using a medium heat – if you’re cooking over a high heat it’s best to use vegetable or rapeseed which have a higher ‘smoke point’. All of these oils are high in mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which help to lower the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol in the blood. MUFAs feature in the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, with other sources of MUFAs including avocados, nuts and olives. Don’t go over-board though, all oils (heart-healthy or not!) are high in calories meaning you should use no more than 1/2 tbsp of oil per person per meal (40-60 calories) – this recipe uses 1/4 tbsp per person!

Lemon Chicken Risotto


  • 4 chicken breasts (4-500g)*
  • 220g risotto/paella rice**
  • 600ml chicken/vegetable stock
  • 1 lemon - to juice & zest
  • 1 crushed garlic clove/tsp garlic granules
  • 250g frozen veg e.g. peas & broad beans
  • 1 packet (135g) babycorn, sliced***
  • 2-3 spring onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • fresh herbs e.g. thyme or parsley - optional


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into small chunks and pan fry until golden, adding the zest of the lemon, and juices once the chicken has turned white - cook the chicken on a low heat to ensure it is cooked all the way through (the original recipe advised you covered cooked chicken with lemon juice & zest before heating in a 200C oven for 15-20 minutes)
  2. Meanwhile, heat the garlic and olive oil in a large pan before adding the rice. Stir well to ensure that all of the grains are coated with the oil.
  3. Gradually (not all at once) add the chicken/vegetable stock to the rice, stirring the rice well and allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding any more.
  4. Add the frozen vegetables, babycorn slices and spring onion once you've added around half of the stock and when all of the stock has been added stir through the chicken.
  5. Allow the risotto pan to simmer until all of the liquid has been absorbed before adding a sprinkling of fresh herbs, salt/pepper and serving (with a side salad!)


*the original recipe used 480g of leftover cooked chicken

**you could always use long-grain rice instead of risotto rice but the dish will have a much less creamy consistency

***feel free to vary the vegetables – courgette, mushrooms, green beans or broccoli would also work well

Calorie stats are based on 1/4 of the recipe – based on using 500g of lean chicken.

Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving

Calories 410

% Daily Value

Total Fat 7 g


Total Carbohydrates 49 g


Protein 36 g


* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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  1. Amy Dodge
    August 18, 2013 / 8:02 pm

    I made this the other day but did it with fish peas corn, spinach and riscotto can get brown riscotto rice but hard to find.the dish Was so nice will definitely do it again and try it with chicken. The lemon is such a healthier option and gave it so much flavour.dont need wine ,butter or parmasan which most recipes use.x

    • Nics Nutrition
      August 18, 2013 / 8:39 pm

      Hi Amy! Aw I’m so glad that you liked this recipe! Love your swaps too. I haven’t seen brown risotto rice in the shops either but will let you know if I do! Thanks for your comment! Nic x

  2. Rachel Newton
    August 18, 2013 / 8:59 pm

    Absolutely adore this, and is such a family friendly dish! The recipe is a cinch to follow, and is really understandable so it makes this easy to cook! Lovely flavors and perfect for a light, but filling dinner choice! Thank you so so much for putting this up nic, I will be cooking this again!! xx

    • Nics Nutrition
      August 19, 2013 / 11:19 am

      Hi Rach! Aw thank you for taking the time to comment and send me that lovely pic – I love it! So glad you like it – I just love risotto – maybe this dish would be good with prawns too! x

  3. Aisha
    August 19, 2013 / 11:30 pm

    I’m soo glad I was introduced to your site. I made this dish and let me tell ya..healthy never tasted so good. Love it xxx

    • August 20, 2013 / 5:28 pm

      Aw thank you so much for your lovely comment!! It’s made my day 🙂 I post new recipes each week so happy cooking/baking! xx

  4. September 5, 2013 / 9:38 am

    Thank you Nic. Another great, healthy recipe for me to share with my family and add to my weekly menu. I added a tiny bit of celery too.
    This is a great recipe. Very, very tasty and doesn’t take long to make. Being a busyfitmum this is very important in my house. I alway like looking at your site for ideas and inspiration.
    Thanks again 🙂 x

    • September 5, 2013 / 5:16 pm

      Aw thank you for such a lovely comment Zoe! I’m so happy that this recipe is a hit with the whole family! And thank you for the lovely picture too 🙂 Nic x

  5. sarah stradling
    September 9, 2013 / 12:21 pm

    I loved this. Tasty and easy. Going to try this out on the kids. Thanks nic.

    • September 9, 2013 / 4:42 pm

      No problem! So glad you liked it and hope the kids do too!! x

  6. Amanda
    January 19, 2014 / 8:13 pm

    I have just made this for my lunches this week. It’s so tasty and easy to make! I added some roasted vegetables it worked really well!

    • January 19, 2014 / 8:39 pm

      So glad you liked it 🙂 Thank you for your comment! x

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