Creamy Pesto Risotto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Spiced Chickpeas
Bursting with flavor, this creamy pesto risotto is the best kind of comfort food - quick, easy and delicious. Topped with roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas covered in Everything Spice, make the risotto on the stove-top or in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker for a fuss-free meal.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet, toss in olive oil and spread out in a single layer. If some are much larger than others, cut the larger ones in half but leave cut side up.
Roast for 10 minutes while you prepare the chickpeas. Toss the chickpeas, the olive oil and Everything Spice together in a small bowl. Once the tomatoes have been in the oven 10 minutes, remove the tray from the oven. Gently toss the tomatoes and make room on one section of the pan for the chickpeas. Place the chickpeas in a single layer on the baking sheet and return it to the oven. Roast for another 15 minutes. If you like really crispy chickpeas, roast them on a separate baking sheet and increase roasting time to 20 minutes.
For the Risotto - Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Method:
Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Heat the olive oil. Add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic, cooking for 30 seconds. Stir in the rice, toast for a minute then add in the soup stock and stir. Cover and select the manual setting. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
At the end of the cooking, release the steam with Quick Release, carefully take off the cover and stir in the pesto, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan. Stir in the spinach allowing it to wilt a bit. Stir again, taste and season as desired, and add more hot stock if necessary - it should be creamy. Serve immediately in wide soup bowls or on plates, topped with the roasted cherry tomatoes and spiced chickpeas.
For the Risotto - Stove-top Method:
Pour soup stock into a saucepan and bring it to a gentle simmer, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy skillet or pot. Add the onion and sauté until it is soft and translucent but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds more.
Stir in rice, and cook for a minute or so until it crackles and smells a bit toasty. Deglaze the pan with a ladle of soup stock. Stir until it is mostly absorbed, scraping the bottom to remove any stuck bits. Begin adding the hot soup stock, about 1/2 cup at a time. Cook, stirring often, until the stock nearly absorbed. Ladle in another 1/2 cup of the stock and continue to cook this way, adding more stock and stirring when rice is almost dry, about 15-20 minutes. The rice should be cooked al dente but not mushy. Constant stirring isn't necessary, but stir often to prevent sticking and to monitor when to add more stock. Turn off the heat.
Stir in pesto, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan. Stir in the spinach allowing it to wilt a bit. Stir again, taste and season as desired, and add more stock if necessary - it should be creamy. Serve immediately in wide soup bowls or on plates, topped with the roasted cherry tomatoes and spiced chickpeas.
*Everything Spice is a spice blend containing dried garlic, onion, black and white sesame seeds, poppy seeds and coarse salt. It's available in most grocery stores in the spice section.**use sodium-reduced soup stock for the stove-top option so the final risotto isn't too salty.