This creamy vegan butternut squash risotto is the ultimate fall comfort meal! Featuring roasted butternut squash and a touch of thyme, this hearty dish is full of flavor.
I don't know about you, but I think risotto is one of the ultimate comfort foods.
And thanks to my half Italian father, I have been enjoying risotto since I was a child.
Luckily my oldest daughter shares my affinity for the dish and asked me to teach her how to make it when she was 10.
Now I know some people are turned off by making risotto at home.
It could be the fear of Gordon Ramsay showing up, screaming obscenities and ultimately throwing the dish in the garbage.
But honestly, there is nothing to be afraid of.
In fact, making risotto is actually kind of relaxing.
It's also fun to experiment with different varieties since it is such a versatile dish.
And of course, today I will be featuring butternut squash.
Roasted butternut squash to be exact.
You can either use pre-cut butternut squash cubes from the grocery store or cut one up yourself.
How to peel and cut butternut squash into cubes
First, you'll want to cut off the top and bottom ends of the squash.
Then use a vegetable peeler to peel off the skin.
Next, with the squash upright, carefully shimmy a knife lengthwise through the squash to cut it in half. Then cut each half in half again where it starts to curve out.
Alternatively, you can cut the peeled squash in half horizontally first and then cut each of those pieces in half lengthwise.
Then use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp.
Next, cut the pieces into slices lengthwise and then cut those slices in half lengthwise again.
Now cut each slice into cubes (about ¾" to 1" thick).
For this recipe, you'll need 4 cups of cubed squash. For reference, a 1 ½ lb. butternut squash yields approximately 4 ½ cups of cubes.
If you have any leftover, you can store it in an airtight container or reusable, resealable food storage bag in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
How to roast the butternut squash cubes
Start by preheating your oven to 400° F.
Place cubed butternut squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Add olive oil.
Use your hands to evenly coat the squash with the olive oil.
Spread the squash cubes out in an even layer on the baking sheet.
Season with salt and pepper.
Roast for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through.
How to make vegan butternut squash risotto
While the butternut squash has been cooking for 10-15 minutes, start the risotto.
This will allow the squash to be done approximately at the same time as the rice.
First, warm vegetable broth in a pot over medium heat.
While the broth is warming, heat olive oil in a wide pan on medium.
Next, add chopped onion and cook over medium heat until translucent (approximately 2-3 minutes).
Stir in thyme and cook for 1 more minute.
Add Arborio rice and stir until it is well coated.
Then, add the wine and stir constantly until absorbed.
Next, add one ladleful of the warm broth until absorbed, stirring constantly.
Continue to add the broth to the rice one ladleful at a time until absorbed, stirring constantly, until the rice is just tender and has a creamy consistency.
Stir in nutritional yeast and vegan Parmesan.
Once the Parmesan has melted, turn off the heat.
Taste and add salt if desired.
Add the butternut squash.
Fold to combine.
Garnish with additional fresh time if desired.
Ideas for serving
This hearty main course is perfect with a light side salad or your favorite bread.
To enhance the flavor, you can also add some cooked vegan sausage such as the Beyond brand which is also gluten-free.
If you'd like, you can also serve is as a side dish with your favorite vegan. It pairs nicely with our maple Dijon tempeh. 🙂
Storing and reheating leftovers
Risotto is best when enjoyed immediately. However, if you have leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can reheat leftovers in a nonstick pan over medium heat with a little vegan butter (or olive oil) and/or some vegetable broth if they seem dried out. Heat until warmed throughout, stirring frequently.
You can also microwave leftovers in a covered microwave-safe dish in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until warmed throughout.
Risotto making tips
- Type of Pan: Risotto is best made in a 4-quart, wide pan (about 10-12 inches in diameter) with a heavy bottom and high, straight sides (about 4 inches high) so the rice absorbs the broth and cooks evenly and there’s a large enough area to work in.
- Type of Spoon: To stir the risotto, a wooden spoon with a circular opening is traditionally used as it allows for more efficient stirring.
- Constant Stirring: Consistency is key. Be sure to stir constantly to avoid sticking and to keep the hot broth flowing through the rice so that it cooks evenly.
More butternut squash recipes
- Chickpea and Butternut Squash Casserole
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash with Pomegranate
- Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup
Vegan Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
FOR THE BUTTERNUT SQUASH
FOR THE RISOTTO
- 48 oz gluten-free vegetable broth, low sodium if desired (6 cups)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 ½ tsp fresh chopped thyme (plus more for garnish if desired)
- 2 cups Arborio rice (not rinsed)
- 1 cup dry vegan white wine (preferably Pinot Grigio)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup vegan Parmesan, grated or shredded (such as Follow Your Heart or Violife)
- fine sea salt, to taste, if desired
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Place cubed butternut squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Add olive oil and use your hands to evenly coat the squash. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast butternut squash for 40 minutes, stirring once halfway.
- After the squash has been cooking for 10-15 minutes, start the risotto by warming the vegetable broth in a pot over medium heat. This will allow the squash to be done approximately at the same time as the rice.
- While broth is warming, heat olive oil in a wide pan.
- Add the onion and cook over medium heat until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and cook for 1 more minute.
- Add the Arborio rice and stir until it is well coated.
- Add the wine and stir constantly until it is absorbed.
- Once wine is absorbed, add one ladleful (approximately ¼ cup) of broth. Stir constantly until broth is absorbed.
- Continue to add one ladleful of broth at a time to the rice as it is absorbed, stirring constantly, until rice is just tender and has a creamy consistency (will take about 20-25 minutes minutes from this point).
- Once the rice is creamy and you have used all or most of your broth (you might not need it all), stir in the nutritional yeast and vegan Parmesan.
- Once the Parmesan has melted, turn off the heat. Taste and add salt if desired.
- Fold in the butternut squash. Serve immediately.
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs for this recipe)
This post originally appeared on Watch Learn Eat on March 19, 2015. It was updated on November 4, 2018. It has been republished to reflect both recipe and photo revisions. Some changes to the story were also made.
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