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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Amount Per Serving
% 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.