Healthy Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Healthy Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Celebrate spring with a creamy, yet healthy bowl of shrimp and asparagus risotto. It’s a healthier twist on an impressive classic.

Healthy shrimp and asparagus risotto proves eating healthy can still be just as satisfying.

This meal started the way all meals should – around a bottle of wine.

I was searching for the perfect recipe to pair with a nice bottle of chardonnay. And while there are plenty of chicken dishes I could’ve gone with, I wanted something a little more special.

Risotto is a meal that tastes extra indulgent, yet is surprisingly simple to make.

With just a few ingredient swaps, let me show you how you can make an irresistibly creamy and flavorful shrimp risotto with fewer calories.

Healthy shrimp and asparagus risotto

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Such a wonderfully complex layering of flavors that comes together so perfectly.
  • A great go-to whenever guests are over or for a date night at home.
  • Can be easily adjusted based on vegetables that are currently in season.
  • Perfect way to put frozen shrimp to good use!
Spoonful of healthy shrimp and aspragus risotto

Ingredients used to make healthy shrimp and asparagus risotto

  • Low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth: If pescatarian, use veggie stock, otherwise I like the flavor that chicken stock gives the risotto. I recommend going with low-sodium to avoid making your risotto overly salty.
  • Unsalted butter: Butter is key for the flavor of this risotto. If you don’t have it, you can use olive oil in a pinch.
  • Shrimp (uncooked, peeled and de-veined): I’ve only tried this recipe with shrimp, but scallops would also be delicious.
  • Shallot: Shallots are slightly sweeter and have a hint of garlic flavor (after all, they’re a cross between garlic and onions). If you can’t find a shallot, use 1/2 a yellow onion and add 1-2 cloves of garlic.
  • Asparagus: I used asparagus as it’s in season in the Spring. However, if making this risotto later in the summer, zucchini would be a delicious substitute. And in the Fall, brussels sprouts would work too.
  • Arborio rice: Arborio rice is key for the texture of this risotto – do not use another type! You can usually find it either in the rice section of the grocery store or near the Italian foods section. You can also buy it online.
  • Dry white wine: I usually use a sauvignon blanc for risotto, but a pino grigio would work too. If you want to go the chardonnay route, I’d pick an unoaked variety.
  • Lemon juice: A little acid helps brighten up this dish. I recommend using fresh lemon juice, but you can use bottled if needed.
  • Romano cheese: Any aged Italian cheese will work, such as parmesan or asiago.
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes

I recommend using frozen rather than pre-thawed shrimp

One note on the shrimp: unless you live near the ocean where you truly can buy fresh shrimp, I highly recommend buying a bag of frozen, uncooked shrimp rather than the stuff at the counter.

When you buy frozen shrimp, it’ll only be thawed one time, which is when you go to thaw it.

But when you get thawed shrimp from the counter, it’s usually been frozen and thawed a couple times.

Plus, I often find that frozen shrimp is cheaper.

Healthy Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

How to make shrimp and asparagus risotto in a cast iron

  1. You’ll need two pans: one for your broth and one for the risotto. Start by placing the saucepan for your both on a back burner over medium-high heat. Add broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low.
  2. Once your broth is on low, start making the risotto. You’ll want to use a large, heavy saucepan like a cast iron or dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and heat over medium.
  3. Once butter has melted, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink on one side, flip, and continue cooking until pink and cooked through. Place cooked shrimp in bowl and set aside.
  4. Next, add asparagus to the hot pan and cook until asparagus is charred, but not soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside for later.
  5. After removing the asparagus, place shallots and rice in the hot skillet. Pour wine over rice and stir until wine is fully absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of the simmering broth to the rice and stir continuously, making sure to scrape the bottom to remove any rice that may be sticking.
  7. Once broth is absorbed, add another ladle. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and tender (but still slightly firm in the center). It usually takes me about 20-25 minutes, but can take up to 30 minutes. You may not end up using all the broth.
  8. When the risotto is almost ready, add the slightly charred asparagus and cooked shrimp to the pan.
  9. Once all the liquid has been absorbed from your last ladle of broth, remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice, Romano cheese, and salt (if needed).
  10. Serve risotto with red pepper flakes, extra lemon juice, salt, and pepper all on the side.

Tips for making healthy risotto

  • Ingredients are key: make sure you’re using arborio rice as well as a white wine that’s good enough quality to drink on its own.
  • Go low and slow. Do not try to quicken the cooking time by upping the heat. The rice needs to cook slowly for the right texture.
  • Taste and adjust seasonings after the rice has been cooked.

More healthy date night dinner ideas

Healthier Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

Celebrate spring with a creamy bowl of shrimp and asparagus risotto. Bonus that one generous serving is less than 400 calories!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Asparagus, Risotto, Shrimp, Spring
Servings: 6
Calories: 390kcal
Author: Kelli

Ingredients

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth note you may not use all of it
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp peeled and de-veined
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 lb thin asparagus spears tough ends trimmed and cut into 2”-long pieces
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 4 oz dry white wine
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Red pepper flakes for serving

Instructions

  • Place broth in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and maintain over low heat throughout cooking.
  • In a large heavy saucepan, such as a dutch oven or cast iron skillet, place 1 tablespoon of butter and heat over medium. Once butter has melted, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink on one side, flip, and continue cooking until pink and cooked through. Place cooked shrimp in bowl and set aside.
  • Next, add asparagus to the hot pan and cook until asparagus is charred, but not soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside for later.
  • After removing the asparagus, place shallots and rice in the hot skillet. Pour wine over rice and stir until wine is fully absorbed.
  • Add a ladleful of the simmering broth to the rice and stir continuously. Once broth is absorbed, add another ladle. Continue this process until the rice is creamy and tender (but still slightly firm in the center). It usually takes me about 20-25 minutes, but can take up to 30 minutes. Note you may not end up using all the broth. Add the slightly charred asparagus and cooked shrimp to the pan with the last one or two ladles of broth.
  • Once all the liquid has been absorbed from the last ladle of broth, remove pan from heat and stir in lemon juice, Romano cheese, and salt (if needed).
  • Serve risotto with red pepper flakes, extra lemon juice, salt, and pepper all on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition for 1/6 of recipe: 390 calories, 2 g saturated fat, 61 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 27 g protein

Don’t forget to pin for later!

Healthy Spring Shrimp and Asparagus Risotto

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About Kelli McGrane Headshot

I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

About Kelli McGrane Headshot

Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

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