This flavorful zucchini risotto features lemon garlic shrimp and sautéed zucchini mixed into creamy, parmesan-spiked rice. It’s a delicious and seasonal dinner recipe for the end of summer.
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A couple of weeks ago, my father-in-law sent me a funny, very relevant social media post. It read: “It’s important to lock your car doors especially now. Your friends and neighbors and even strangers will put free zucchini in your car.”
Ha! The sentiment here is so true. August should probably be renamed zucchini month. They’re everywhere!
So, of course, I had to whip up some recipes using the star of late summer. I’m kicking off zucchini week with this super easy, stinkin’ delicious zucchini risotto with shrimp.
Sautéed zucchini and pan-seared shrimp are added to the creamy pot of risotto just before serving. This means you won’t have any mushy or dissolved pieces of zucchini. They keep their texture well and are a great complement to juicy shrimp. I hope you enjoy!
How to Make Zucchini Risotto
- Prepare all of the ingredients before starting the recipe. You won’t have much time to do other things while the risotto is cooking, because you need to constantly stir the dish. Start heating the broth in a saucepan, cut the zucchini, shred the parmesan, mince or press the garlic, prep the thyme, and peel and devein the shrimp (if this isn’t already done).
- Sautee the zucchini in a skillet until lightly browned and tender. Transfer to a plate.
- Cook the shrimp in lemon garlic butter in the same skillet, and set aside.
- Start the risotto by cooking the onion and garlic in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the rice, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until slightly translucent.
- Start adding the broth in ½-cup intervals. Stir vigorously as soon as the broth hits the pan. Keep stirring frequently until the rice has absorbed all of the broth before adding another ½ cup. Repeat until all of the broth is absorbed and the rice is creamy.
- Stir in the lemon juice, thyme, and parmesan cheese.
- Mix in the zucchini and shrimp, and heat for a few minutes until warmed through.
For the full instructions and ingredients for zucchini risotto, scroll down to the recipe card. In the meantime, check out my tips for making perfect risotto.
- To save yourself time, buy shrimp that has the tails removed and that has already been peeled and deveined. I usually use frozen shrimp that I thaw overnight in the fridge.
- Risotto needs to be made with arborio rice. The starch content in arborio rice is what gives risotto its signature creaminess.
- The vegetable broth needs to be hot before you add it to the dish. That’s why it’s important to keep it in a saucepan over heat on a burner near the risotto pot. You don’t want it to be boiling, however, because you don’t want some of it to evaporate.
- DO stir the risotto frequently, and DON’T leave it unattended for more than 60 to 90 seconds (or else it will burn).
- Zucchini risotto with shrimp is best enjoyed right away. However, leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through, about 1 to 2 minutes on high.
- Most risotto recipes call for white wine for the purpose of adding some acidity to the dish. Instead of using wine in this recipe, I used lemon juice that I added towards the end. You can feel free to add ½ cup of white wine if desired. Stir this in before you start adding broth to the risotto.
More Risotto Recipes
If you’re in the mood for another veggie-filled risotto after reading about zucchini risotto, check out the Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Brown Rice Risotto, Vegan Mushroom Risotto, and Baked Brown Rice Risotto with Asparagus.
I’d love to hear how you like this recipe! Rate/review using the stars on the recipe card or in the comments, and follow the Veg World on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Looking for something totally different? Browse the recipe library.
Zucchini Risotto with Shrimp
For the zucchini and shrimp
- Gather all of the ingredients and get them ready before starting the recipe. You won't have time to do two things at once when the risotto is cooking, because you have to stir the dish. Also pour the broth into a saucepan and place it over medium-low heat. You want to get the broth gently simmering but not boiling.
- Once the ingredients are ready, start by cooking the zucchini and shrimp. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini, season with salt and pepper, and cook for about 10 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Transfer zucchini to a plate.
- In the same skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Place the shrimp in the pan in a single layer. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side (8 to 10 minutes total) until the shrimp is opaque and cooked through. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest to the pan and stir just before the shrimp is finished cooking. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Now, start the risotto. Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the arborio rice, and cook for a few minutes until the edges of the rice become translucent.
- At this point, the broth in the saucepan should be gently simmering and hot (but not boiling). Ladle ½ cup of the broth into pot with the rice. Stir vigorously until the broth is absorbed. Repeat this step, adding the hot broth in ½-cup intervals until it has all been incorporated and the rice is creamy. This usually takes about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Stir in the lemon juice, thyme, and parmesan cheese. Then, stir in the zucchini and shrimp. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until the dish is warmed through. Serve, and enjoy!
- Leave a rating or review by tapping the stars on this recipe card (above) or in the comments section (at the end of the post)!
- This dish is best when enjoyed right away, but you can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat on high in the microwave until warmed through, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Be sure to the stir the risotto frequently in between adding broth. Don’t leave it unattended for more than 60-90 seconds or it will burn.
Have a great meal! – Lizzie