No-Rice Risotto with Chard

Every other friday we get a box of organic fruit and vegetables delivered to our door. It feels like Christmas when the box arrives and we dive right into it to see which vegetables we get each week. Some vegetables are like close friends – we meet them on a day-to-day basis. Other vegetables are more like distant cousins – we barely know their names. Last Friday we got chard. And strange as it might be we had never cooked anything with chard before. So we were excited to find out what we could do with it.

Chard has some similarities to kale and spinach. You can use it raw in a salad, you can saute it or use it in any kind of stew, pasta or risotto. After some consideration we decided to make a new version of our favorite spinach risotto. But since we try to cook food without using white rice and pasta we wanted to use something else than the usual arborio rice. We have tried switching the rice for barley with a merely ok result. We couldn’t get the arborio creaminess from the barley. We have seen some recipes and heard stories about successful barley risottos – and we will surely try it again some day – but this time we made it a lot easier for ourselves. We used canned cannellini beans! It turned out to be the quickest risotto we had ever made. And it tasted really good too. You could do a lot more with this recipe: not using canned beans, adding white wine and maybe some more greens, but this version worked perfect for us. Quick, tasty, creamy and simple.

Cannellini & Chard Risotto
Serves 3-4

1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion (finely chopped)
2 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
1 chard (slice the leaves into thin strips, cut the smaller stems into 1/4-inch dice, discard the larger stems)
2 cans (2 cups) cannellini beans (rinsed well)
4 tbsp mascarpone cheese
1/2 lemon, juice & zest
fresh thyme
salt and pepper

Bring vegetable broth to a bare simmer in a saucepan over medium heat and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onion, garlic and the stems of the chard. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add one cup of the broth, cook and stir, until almost absorbed. Now add chard leaves, cannellini beans and the rest of the broth. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes, then add mascarpone cheese, lemon juice and thyme. Season with salt, pepper and more thyme if needed. Top it with some grated lemon zest before serving.


  • Amanda
    Delicious. I make similar but not so creamy. Instead add balsamic, roasted pumpkin, carrots, beetroot. Even better the next day.
  • Marie
    I don't know how I manage to do it, but the recipe was almost a fail here! I was so enthusiastic about it that I planned to double the recipe for lunchs. So I doubled the broth to 3 cups. But here in Canada, our cans of beans are not a cup (250 ml), but 540 ml. I still used two cans and decided to keep the broth to 3 cups, since 6 cups of it seemed a bit too much. However, the recipe still had way too much broth in it! I was forced to withdraw some while it was on the oven, because it looked more like a beans soup than a risotto. Maybe you know what I did wrong with beans or broth? Are your cans 250 ml or more, in your country? Anyway, with less broth in it, the recipe was really good so thanks a lot for the idea! P.S. I hope you understand what I wrote, since I'm a french-canadian.
  • Hello! Can this dish be made in advance and reheated just before heating? Or will it not be the same as eating it at the moment? Thanks! Daniella
  • Sarah Lock
    I made this vegan by adding 4 tbsp of nutritional yeast and a few splashes of almond milk instead of mascarpone cheese, it was seriously delicious, the lemon zest on the top adds that final amazing touch. I also used half cannelloni beans and half flageolet beans
  • I love this idea - just last week I made a similar dish, a chickpea and fennel 'risotto'. It is lovely how soft pulses get with this slow stirring cooking technique normally used for risotto only. I second one of the other commenters above that roughly mashing some of the beans/chickpeas with the back of a fork or a potato ricer is wonderful for the texture of the dish. I might have to try your bean/chard version (although I am rather partial to my chickpea and fennel version). :-)
  • Natalie
    Hi! I was just wondering if I could substitute any other beans such as chickpeas?? I really want to make this but only have those in my cupboard..
  • lovely dish. though I made it vegan.
  • Inga Maria
    The best chard-recipe ever!!!! I took fresh chard from my garden. Thank you so much for all this healthy and creative stuff in here!!! This is my favorite website since 2 month....keep on cooking!!!! <3
  • Marie-Louise
    Hi! I made this today, but without the chard as I could not find any in the supermarket (and nothing in the frigde to subsitute it with). As I do not eat dairy, I used soya cheese ("Sheese" Cheddar style) instead of mascarpone and it was delicious! Chloe (1 year and 8 months) loved it too! So easy and quick to cook but still so tasty! I will definately cook this regularly.
  • Lauren
    Hi Guys! I totally love your website. I'm not a vegetarian, but I've been trying to eat more veggies and less meat lately. One of the biggest hurdles I've had is finding a good vegetable broth. Any recommendations? Do you have a recipe you guys really like? Thanks! Lauren
  • Isabella
    Hi guys, do you have any suggestions for a non-dairy substitute for the cheese? Thanks!
  • ilana
    Hi, This looks great... And much more filling then just rice. However the picture you have up top is bok choy and not chard... not sure if that's just a typo... Thanks
  • AGS
    Amazing recipe. I loved it, it is a perfect January dish.
  • This is so good! I made it and gave it to a friend. She made it! We are in love with this recipe - thank you!
  • diana
    discovered your site from Wellness Warrior and have already printed out quite a few of your recipes. I am so excited! i just made the no rice risotto with chard and LOVE it - my taste buds are dancing! thank you
  • made this tonight & was amazing - creamy, rich and complex flavors. only swapped asparagus for mushrooms, and marscapone for formage blanc. definitely on my regular rotation!
  • Aouli
    I wanted to make this, but I hardly had any of the ingredients! I made almost a new (half) recipe. Instead of chard I used mustard greens, instead of mascarpone I used neufchatel, instead of cannellini beans I used great northern beans, and instead of lemon juice I used orange juice (fresh) and I omitted the zest (as orange zest can be very bitter). It actually turned out beautifully! I had to increase the cooking time of the greens by a few minutes since they are tougher. Also, it makes everything creamier if you mash a small amount of beans when you add the broth, just like real risotto. This is a genius recipe! I would have never thought that beans could make such a dish! Thank you for sharing!
  • hello! I'm a friend of Damaris's and just discovered your blog through hers. I made this tonight with some rainbow chard and it was wonderful! So glad to have a new veggie blog to go to for food inspiration. :)
  • I like the idea of a quick risotto! It's funny, in Australia we eat silverbeet (chard) almost to the exclusion of real spinach. It must be a climate thing.
  • I just found your website today and have already made this dish and the nut bars and both are fantastic! This dish was so rich and creamy i'm in love! I look forward to testing out your other recipes!!
  • fabulii
    Made this tonight! WOW! Delicious and creamy and filling. I substituted a fresh bunch of organic lacinato kale instead. Bravo!
  • This looks delicious! We've been getting lots of fresh chard from the farm, and this looks like the perfect recipe for it! I'm going to give it a try.
  • Beautiful!! And fabulous blog, too! So glad I discovered you!
  • wow what a great idea! i cant wait to make this!
  • Ya-um. I made this tonight - just a 1/2 recipe. I put it atop linguine with freshly steamed asparaguas on the side. Added a bit of white wine and used ricotta instead of mascarpone. I love lemon juice - adds the perfect pitch of flavor. I chased the whole affair with a bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with a wine vanilla bean reduction from the night before. Oh, and a truffle. Divine. Love your recipes.
  • Monica
    I totally understand - sent out an email yesterday misspelling an english and swedish word! I saw the option on Årstiderna - thanks!! Can't wait to try this recipe.
  • I'm quite partial to a barley risotto, but I do love the sound of your beany twist too. And it all sounds so easy! I wonder if canned beans actually work a little better than freshly cooked - they're usually a little softer
  • Monica
    Hi David! Who do you use for your fruit and vegetable delivery? We had årstiderna, but they came every week and we couldn't get through all of those vegetables. And did you mean no-rice? :-)
    • Oh wow, of course we meant Rice (not Rise), that was without doubt our biggest typo so far. Thank you! This only proves that I shouldn't write blog posts in the middle if the night ... We also use Årstiderna as our supplier and we have chosen to get our box two times a month, which is perfect. If you look it up i'm sure you can do the same. /David
  • Wow, yummy! This looks delicious. I envy you your vegetable delivery! ;) You have a beautiful blog!

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