Risotto for fussy toddlers

Look at that pour!

By Melissa Meehan

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of fighting with my fussy toddler at dinner time.

She has become so fussy lately that even our regular go-to’s (bolognaise, beef pie or lasagna) are being met with howls of complaints.

“I don’t like it”, “it’s yuck”, “no no no no” are often heard screamed across the house at meal times.

It is so hard to get any of the food groups in – let alone one or two at the moment (unless you count chicken nuggets as it’s own food group).

She doesn’t like any vegetable except for potatoes and green trees (broccoli) but won’t tolerate the green stuff two nights in a row. (sigh)

And getting meat into my fussy toddler is my biggest challenge of all. (Especially when bolognaise and beef pie are off the table).

Hide ALL of the vegetables.

I mean, she will happily consume six chicken nuggets in one sitting (on a rare occasion that we let her have them) but ask her to have the tiniest piece of cut up chicken hidden in a meal and she will gag on command.

It’s quite the talent.

BUT… There is one meal that she will eat. Something I concocted myself.

It’s full of vegetables – and it’s tasty for adults too.

Maybe your fussy toddler will also eat my Cajun Chicken Risotto or as my daughter calls it… Zotto.


½ cup butter

Olive Oil

2 cups Arborio Rice

2 x Chicken breasts

1 x small jar of Cajun Spices

1tbs Hungarian sweet paprika

3 x cooking cream

2 x cups of beef stock (I use the liquid one)

AND LOTS OF VEGETABLES (I use whatever is in the fridge, but here’s an example)

2 x grated carrots

1 x grated zucchini

250 g mushrooms chopped

1 x brown onion diced

2 x bunch broccolini chopped roughly

½ cauliflower chopped roughly

Handful of snap beans chopped

Handful of spinach leaves, chopped


Cut chicken into small pieces, place in bowl and add paprika and enough Cajun spice to coat the chicken. Set aside.

Add some flavour.
Add the onions first.

Put butter and a drizzle of oil in large hot pan on high heat and add mushrooms and onion

Once onions are soft, add spiced chicken and cook until browned.

Once chicken is browned on all sides, add 2 cups of beef stock bring to boil and then simmer.

While simmering, chop all vegetables.

Add broccolini and cauliflower first, followed by carrots and then the rest. Leaving spinach leaves until last.

The smaller the better.
Get some greens in.

Continue to mix as vegetables cook and liquid reduces.

Once most of liquid reduces, add cooking cream one container at a time.

Stir thoroughly and let simmer for 40 minutes.

Grated carrot and zucchini is such a great way to hide the vegetables.
Look at that pour!

Cook Arborio rice separately (I like to use the microwave rice cooker).

Once cooked, dish up rice in bowl and serve chicken, vegetable and sauce mixture on top.

(It’s important to serve lots of sauce as the rice soaks it all up).

*If it is too spicy for your fussy toddler, add sour cream to turn down the heat.

Add sour cream if a tad spicy for the little ones.
It”s NUMBER ONE on her list!

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