Eggplant risotto is a tasty, fulfilling, and easy meal made with tomato, eggplant, and risotto rice.

You can make this dish in just over 30 minutes and serve it for a delicious and comforting family dinner.

eggplant risotto

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Comforting, nutritious, and packed with flavor, this eggplant risotto is the perfect family dinner when you feel like something cozy and with Italian flavors.

The recipe is very easy to make. The risotto is cooked in one pot with onion, garlic, tomato puree, diced eggplant, and vegetable broth.

We add fresh basil leaves, (vegan) parmesan cheese, and (vegan) butter to complete the dish.

In fact, you can easily make vegan eggplant risotto by substituting vegan cheese and butter for their dairy-based alternatives.

The result is a creamy and comforting dish that is so tasty you’ll want to eat it straight out of the pot.

eggplant tomato risotto

Ingredients

ingredients for eggplant risotto
Ingredients for eggplant risotto: risotto rice, tomato puree, eggplant, olive oil, onion, garlic, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, dried oregano, fresh basil, parmesan cheese, butter, or their vegan alternatives.

Risotto rice

Try to find CarnaroliArborioVialone NanoBaldo, or Roma rice to make risotto. They all do an excellent job at keeping al dente while creating a creamy texture, thanks to their high content of starch.

If you can’t find those varieties, look for something that says “risotto rice” on the package.

Eggplant

We use globe eggplant for this recipe. Italian eggplant and zebra eggplant work well too.

Tomato

We use canned or bottled tomato puree, sometimes called passata, if imported from Italy.

Olive oil + Garlic + Onion

This risotto recipe starts with a flavor base made with finely chopped onion and garlic gently fried in olive oil.

Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth, homemade or store-bought, is the liquid of choice to cook this eggplant risotto.

Important: when making risotto, add the vegetable broth slowly, and keep it simmering gently throughout the recipe. Because of that, at least one cup will evaporate, so you must make enough. In our recipe, we keep this into account in the quantities.

Herbs

We use dried oregano and fresh basil. Combined with tomato and eggplant, they create an unmistakably Italian flavor.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese adds plenty of umami and flavor to this dish. Whether vegetarian or vegan, you can easily replace parm with a vegan cheese alternative. We do this all the time, and the risotto turns out delicious.

Butter

Butter makes the tomato risotto rich and gives it that velvety mouth feel. However, replacing the butter with a plant-based alternative is easy if you are vegan. For example, you can choose vegan butter or high-quality margarine without hydrogenated fats (trans fat) and palm oil.

Alternatively, add good quality extra virgin olive oil to replace the butter.

Note: traditionally, risotto is made with white wine to add acidity to the rice and boost the dish’s flavor. Eggplant risotto, however, should not have white wine because the tomato sauce is already acidic.

eggplant risotto

Instructions

Wash and dry the eggplant, then cut it into ¼-inch (0.6 cm) dice. You can keep the peel on or remove some of it.

chopping eggplant into 1/4 inch dice

Add the vegetable stock to a pot and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and keep the broth hot throughout the recipe.

Gently fry the finely chopped onion in a large skillet with olive oil for 3 minutes, then add finely chopped garlic and fry for 2 more minutes.

Note: the skillet needs to be quite large and big enough to contain the rice (which will double in volume), the tomato puree, and the eggplant.

frying onion and garlic in a large pan

Add the risotto rice, and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes until translucent.

toasting the rice

Add 2 ladlefuls of vegetable broth, tomato puree, and diced eggplant to the pan. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano, and stir well.

diced eggplant and tomato

Cook the eggplant risotto on a gentle simmer until al dente (15 to 20 minutes), stirring almost continuously, adding 2 ladlefuls of vegetable broth at a time as soon as the previous broth is absorbed.

eggplant risotto before adding cheese

When the rice is al dente, turn the heat off and add fresh basil leaves, parmesan cheese, and butter, or their vegan alternatives.

parmesan cheese, butter, and fresh basil leaves on the rice

Stir for 2 minutes with the heat off until the cheese and butter melt completely, and the eggplant risotto is very creamy.

Add an extra ladleful of vegetable broth if necessary; the risotto shouldn’t be too thick or too runny.

eggplant risotto in a pan

Plate the risotto and serve with some extra basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or some extra cheese on top.

eggplant tomato risotto

Add extra greens to your meal by pairing the risotto with one of these 25 best sides for risotto.

Variations

Tomato risotto

Removing the eggplant allows you to make a delicious tomato risotto for a simple yet fulfilling everyday dinner. Check out our tomato risotto recipe.

tomato risotto

How to use risotto leftovers

Have risotto leftovers? Store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Then, you can either reheat risotto in the microwave for 2 minutes or make one of these incredible dishes:

Italian Rice Balls

Italian rice balls

Italian rice balls are one of the best meals made with leftover risotto. Shape the leftover risotto rice into small balls, coat them in breadcrumbs, deep-fry them or air-fry them, and serve them with our homemade marinara sauce.

This is a delicious recipe you can serve as an appetizer or dinner with a simple side salad.

Risotto Cakes with salad

risotto cakes on salad

Risotto cakes are so delicious! Take the risotto leftovers and shape them into burger-like patties, then bread them with breadcrumbs and shallow-fry or air-fry.

Serve them on top of a simple side salad, and optionally top with our easy marinara sauce.

This is an incredible way to recycle leftover eggplant risotto, and kids will go nuts over this recipe. It’s too good!

Italian Riso al Salto

riso al salto

Riso al Salto, meaning jumped rice in Italian, is a large rice cake made of leftover risotto cooked very slowly in a pan with butter or oil until the rice gets super crispy.

This recipe is popular in Milan, Italy, and has become a gourmet meal. Check out our riso al salto recipe.

Italian Supplì

Italian supppli with leftover rice

Supplì is a famous leftover risotto recipe from Rome and the central regions of Italy.

Oval-shaped balls of risotto rice, stuffed with melty mozzarella or vegan cheese and deep-fried to perfection. This recipe is a little more technical to make but still impossibly delicious. Check out our supplì recipe.

Storage

Store leftover eggplant risotto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes. Not suitable for freezing.

More Eggplant Recipes

If you love cooking with eggplant, try these vibrant Italian eggplant recipes:

Or get more inspiration from these 35 best eggplant recipes, including pasta, salads, and side dishes.

For many more starter ideas, check out our starters category page.

eggplant risotto

Eggplant Risotto

By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 2 votes
Eggplant risotto is a tasty, fulfilling, and easy meal made with tomato, eggplant, and risotto rice.
You can make this dish in just over 30 minutes and serve it for a delicious and comforting family dinner.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 – 6 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian

Equipment

  • 1 large skillet that can fit rice, eggplant, and tomato sauce, considering the rice will double in volume

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 cups risotto rice arborio or carnaroli variety
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 24 ouces tomato passata
  • 1 large eggplant cut in 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 15 leaves basil
  • 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese or vegan cheese

Instructions 

  • Wash and dry the eggplant, then cut it into ¼-inch (0.6 cm) dice. You can keep the peel on or remove some of it.
    chopping eggplant into 1/4 inch dice
  • Add the vegetable stock to a pot and bring it to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and keep the broth hot throughout the recipe.
    Gently fry the finely chopped onion in a large skillet with olive oil for 3 minutes, then add finely chopped garlic and fry for 2 more minutes.
    frying onion and garlic in a large pan
  • Add the risotto rice, and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes until translucent.
    toasting the rice
  • Add 2 ladlefuls of vegetable brothtomato puree, and diced eggplant to the pan. Season with saltpepper, and oregano, and stir well.
    diced eggplant and tomato
  • Cook the eggplant risotto on a gentle simmer until al dente (15 to 20 minutes), stirring almost continuously, adding 2 ladlefuls of vegetable broth at a time as soon as the previous broth is absorbed.
    eggplant risotto before adding cheese
  • When the rice is al dente, turn the heat off and add fresh basil leavesparmesan cheese, and butter, or their vegan alternatives.
    parmesan cheese, butter, and fresh basil leaves on the rice
  • Stir for 2 minutes with the heat off until the cheese and butter melt completely, and the eggplant risotto is very creamy.
    Add an extra ladleful of vegetable broth if necessary; the risotto shouldn't be too thick or too runny.
    eggplant risotto in a pan
  • Plate the risotto and serve with some extra basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, or some extra cheese on top.
    eggplant tomato risotto

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 large portion of eggplant risotto out of 4.

Nutrition

Calories: 521kcal, Carbohydrates: 97g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Potassium: 513mg, Dietary Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 1239IU, Vitamin B6: 0.4mg, Vitamin C: 5mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 21µg, Calcium: 118mg, Folate: 271µg, Iron: 5mg, Manganese: 2mg, Magnesium: 54mg, Zinc: 2mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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2 Comments

  1. Really good but my eggplant didn’t cook by the time my rice did ): next time would roast and add at end. Added balsamic reduction on top to finish it off. Thanks!