Lentil & Zucchini Risotto

The flavours are oozing in this Risotto, just like the Canadian Aged Cheddar. Delicious as a side dish or main course, it will be a favourite all year long. The zucchini pesto makes a unique addition to this dish.

Created by Chef Ned Bell, Executive Chef

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: about 30 minutes
Yield:  4 servings (Zucchini Pesto: 1-1/3 cups/325 mL)

Variation: For seafood lovers, add sustainable seafood to risotto (Spot Prawns, halibut or wild salmon).


  • Zucchini Pesto:
  • 2 Cups
    grated seeded green zucchini
  • 1/2 Cup
    shredded Natural Pastures’ Aged Farmhouse (or Canadian Aged Cheddar)
  • 1 Tablespoon
    toasted pine nuts or walnuts, optional
  • 1 Teaspoon
    grated lemon zest
  • 1.5 Tablespoons
    fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon
    sea salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon
    cracked black pepper
  • Risotto:
  • 4 Cups
    vegetable broth
  • 2 Tablespoons
    butter, divided
  • shallot, diced
  • 1 Cup
    Arborio rice
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1/3 Cup
    white wine
  • 540 Millilitres
    canned lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Cup
    small diced seeded yellow zucchini
  • 3/4 Cups
    shredded Natural Pastures’ Aged Farmhouse (or Canadian Aged Cheddar), divided
  • 3 Tablespoons
    chopped chives, divided


  1. Zucchini Pesto: In a food processor, combine zucchini, cheese, nuts, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper; process until smooth but not a complete puree for texture.

  2. Risotto: In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a simmer; keep warm.

  3. In a large shallow pot or deep skillet, melt 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the butter over medium heat; sauté shallot for 1 minute. Stir in rice and salt; sauté for 1 minute. Add wine and cook until absorbed.

  4. Add ½ cup (125 mL) of the broth, stirring until most is absorbed. Add more broth, ½ cup (125 mL) at a time, stirring until broth is absorbed before making the next addition, until you have added a total of 3 cups (750 mL) of broth.

  5. Stir in lentils and continue to add remaining broth, ½ cup (125 mL) at a time. Simmer, stirring until rice is tender and creamy and slightly firm to the bite, adding additional broth or water if necessary. Season to taste with salt.

  6. Stir in yellow zucchini and cook stirring until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in half ½ cup (125 mL) of the cheese, half of the chives and remaining butter. Serve with Zucchini Pesto and sprinkled with remaining cheese and chives.