This apple risotto is a perfect fall recipe when the air just smells of freshly picked apples. Rich and flavorful risotto is creamy and luxurious but without any added cheese or cream. The recipe is healthy, it is vegetarian and gluten free and simply delicious.

The apples sautéed in butter and oil create enough of creamy base for the arborio rice that also releases starch as it is simmering away in a vegetable broth, that you do not need to overload this risotto with a boat load of cheese and heavy cream.

Orange zest really adds an unbeatable freshness and brightens up the risotto, cutting through the richness of the carbs. The result is irresistibly creamy, luscious risotto with wonderfully caramelized apples that is fragrant and flavorful but without extra calories from added cheese and cream.

The method of making this risotto is pretty traditional. We start building the flavors using butter, apples and thyme. Then the risotto rice is added and is fried for a couple of minutes to achieve aromatic, nutty taste and to ensure even cooking. The broth is added in increments and the risotto is stirred frequently for the Arborio rice to release the starches because that starch is what makes the risotto creamy, not cheese or cream. Fresh and citrusy orange zest adds a finishing touch together with fragrant fresh thyme and butter.

The apple risotto is simply irresistible and makes a delightful side dish or a complete vegetarian meal when paired with bright, colorful salad.