Gluten-Free Dinner & Dessert: Shrimp & Fennel Risotto with Blackberry Sunflower Butter Brownies

Last Update: March 6, 2024

Whether you’re living with celiac disease or going gluten-free for other health reasons, there are lots of delicious, whole food recipes you can enjoy without the gluten. We tapped recipe developer Aubrey Devin to create an elevated, yet easy-to-make gluten-free dinner menu that’s both flavorful and fits your dietary needs.  

The fragrant, creamy risotto is made with traditional arborio rice, which is naturally gluten-free, and blended with quinoa for added texture. While Devin makes hers with seared shrimp for a perfectly paired protein, you can sub in any type of seafood cut into bite-sized pieces (“Scallops or diced halibut would also work great,” Devin says). 

For dessert, a decadent brownie torte made with oat flour and rich, silky dark chocolate takes the cake — pun intended. Sunflower butter gives it a nutty flavor, and a swirl of raspberry jam on top adds a tart sweetness that makes a perfect meal-finisher. 

Gluten-Free Wild Shrimp and Fennel Risotto Recipe 

Active Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes 
Serves: 4-6


1 16-ounce carton chicken bone broth (or any broth of choice)
2 ½ cups water
¾ cup yellow onion, finely diced, outer skin scraps reserved (about ½ of large onion)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons butter (or non-dairy butter of choice)
¾ cup fennel, finely diced, rough outer layer/stalks/fronds reserved (about 1 medium-large fennel bulb)
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 cup arborio rice 
⅓ cup white quinoa, rinsed
½ cup any dry white wine (Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc work well)
1 pound wild caught shrimp, defrosted, cut into thirds 
1 large lemon 
Salt to taste
Pepper, fresh cracked, to taste
¼ cup mascarpone
¼ cup parmesan, grated, plus more for garnish


In a medium pot, add the broth, water, scraps of onion, outer scrap layer of fennel, and the fennel stalks (save the fronds for garnish). Bring to a simmer, then keep broth heated and just under a simmer.

Prep the shrimp. Pat dry the defrosted shrimp with a paper towel and cut into thirds. In a small bowl, add the shrimp, about 2 cloves worth of minced garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix to combine and set aside.

Bring a large, wide pot or saucepan to medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, butter, and bay leaf. Add the diced onion, diced fennel, and garlic, then stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add a good pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes, until vegetables are soft and translucent (we’re not looking to brown the veggies here).

Add the rice to the veggies and stir to combine, slightly toasting the rice, roughly 3 minutes.

Add the wine. It will create a “whoosh!” sound. Keep heat on medium-low, stirring until all the wine is absorbed, 2-3 minutes.

Add about ½ cup of the warm broth to the rice, continuously stirring the rice until all the liquid is absorbed. Keep repeating by adding ½ cup warm broth at a time. 

After about 3-4 ladles worth of broth, or 10-12 minutes, add the quinoa and stir to combine. Continue with adding ½ cup broth, waiting until liquid is nearly absorbed before adding another. This should take roughly another 15 minutes.

After roughly 25 minutes total, the grains should nearly be done. Add the last of the broth to the rice mixture, turn the heat off, and put a lid on the pot. Let the risotto rest and absorb the last of the broth.

While the risotto is resting, cook the shrimp.

Heat a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the marinated shrimp and a good pinch of salt. Sear the shrimp, stirring a few times until opaque through the center and pink on the outside, roughly 3 minutes. 

Check on the risotto. The rice should be cooked through, chewy, and still holding its shape in a loose and creamy sauce (neither too liquidy nor stiff). Add a touch more water if needed.

Turn the risotto heat back on to medium. Add in the shrimp, mascarpone, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Stir to fully combine.

Serve topped with optional additional grated parmesan, fresh cracked pepper, reserved fennel fronds, and extra lemon wedge if needed.

Gluten-Free Blackberry Brownie Torte With Sunflower Seed Butter

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 9-12


½ cup coconut sugar (or granulated sugar of choice)
2 large eggs, at room temp
½ cup unsalted butter
½ cup cacao powder
1 2.8 oz dark chocolate bar, chopped into pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla
⅓ cup sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of choice, just make sure it’s on the thinner side)
⅓ cup milk (or plain, unsweetened milk alternative of choice)
¾ cup oat flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 pint blackberries or raspberries, cut in halves
6 tablespoons raspberry jam 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line your bake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Add the sugar and eggs to the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment. Turn on to medium-high and whisk for 3-5 minutes, or until mixture has roughly tripled in size and falls in ribbons back onto itself (this is what creates the shiny crackly top of the brownies). (Note: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can do this in a bowl with a handheld whisk, whisking well to slightly dissolve the sugar and aerate the eggs.)

In a small pot or saucepan set over medium-low heat, add the butter and melt. Once it’s nearly fully melted, add the cacao powder, gently whisking to combine (warming the cacao first helps bring out its deep, chocolaty flavor). Add the sunflower butter and milk, gently whisking to combine. Turn the heat off, then add the chopped chocolate bar and vanilla and gently whisk to combine. The residual heat will melt the chocolate bar, though it’s ok if it’s not completely melted.

Remove the metal bowl filled with egg and sugar mixture from the stand mixer. Gently add the melted butter and chocolate mixture, using a spatula to mix together. 

Add the flour and salt (you can sift the oat flour in if it’s clumpy), gently folding together until just incorporated. Over-mixing or whisking will create a cakey brownie. 

Fold in half of the chopped blackberries, reserving the rest for the top.

Spray the parchment-lined baking dish with cooking spray. Pour in ½ of the brownie batter. Dollop 3 tablespoons of jam on top, and with a butter knife, lightly swirl it through. (Note: If jam is too firm, add all 6 tablespoons of jam to a small bowl with a few drops of water and lightly whisk with a fork to loosen it up.)

Add the second half of the brownie batter, and smooth the top with the spatula (this also helps to create that shiny, crisp top). Dollop the rest of the jam on top, using a butter knife to lightly swirl it through. Finish by adding the rest of the blackberries on top.

Place the pan in the upper third portion of your oven. Bake for roughly 20 minutes (for a 9×9” cake round) or 28 minutes (for an 8×8” square pan), but start checking on the mixture a few minutes before the end time. You want the edges to be set, and the center just slightly lower. (Tip: Test with a toothpick in the center of the pan; if it comes out wet, the brownies aren’t quite done. If it comes out with a few moist crumbs, they’re done.) 

Let brownies cool on a wire rack before slicing. 

This article is related to:


Share this article

Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

Download the app for easy shopping on the go

By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive marketing text messages from Thrive Market. Consent not a condition to purchase. Msg & data rates apply. Msg frequency varies. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel.

If you are visually-impaired and having difficulty with our website, call us at 1‑855‑997‑2315

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

© Thrive Market 2024 All rights reserved.