Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash
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Quick and fancy, this Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash is sure to impress! It’s creamy, full of flavor and ready in around 30 minutes. The epitome of comfort food.
What is risotto?
Risotto is an Italian rice based dish that is cooked with broth until it reaches a creamy consistency. Generally it’s made with a special kind of rice, arborio, which is starchy and short grained. Arborio rice isn’t very difficult to find, I found it at my local grocery store. Often risotto calls for butter and cheese, but my vegan version doesn’t have a trace of dairy, and it’s just as comforting and delicious!
Risotto is the perfect date-night meal, or for serving to company. The addition of roasted butternut squash is extra tasty, and adds even more flavor and creaminess to the final dish.
How to make Vegan Risotto
Risotto only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish, as your squash will roast as you prepare the rice on the stovetop. The 30 minutes is very “hands on” though, as you will be standing at the stove, stirring nearly the entire time. A little fussy, but not difficult, and I found it rather soothing, watching the rice grow as I added broth. Just be prepared not to leave your risotto, or it likely won’t turn out!
First, get your butternut squash roasting. (FULL INSTRUCTIONS AND INGREDIENTS ARE LISTED IN RECIPE CARD BELOW, THIS IS JUST A SUMMARY + TIPS)
Once the squash is roasting, warm the vegetable broth in a large pot. You will be adding this in increments to the rice, and it needs to be warm.
In a large saute pan, cook the onion in olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Now add the rice and stir, coating with the oil for about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until absorbed.
Add 1/2 cup of the warm broth, and stir frequently until fully absorbed. Continue to add 1/2 cup broth at a time, and stirring until absorbed, until all the liquid has been added and the rice is tender, yet still slightly chewy. It will also grow a lot in size!
Finally, add the roasted butternut squash and spinach, and stir. Season with salt to taste, and serve with chopped parsley and optional Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
How do you know when Risotto is done?
The risotto is done when all the liquid is absorbed, the dish will be very creamy, and the rice will be tender, yet still a little chewy. You don’t want to overcook it and have it be overly mushy. For best results, have the heat be at medium or maybe medium-high, depending on your stovetop. As you add the broth, you want it to quickly be bubbling, but not boiling crazily. This usually takes between 20-30 minutes, and it took me about 25 minutes.
Can vegan risotto be frozen? It can be frozen, but this one is better fresh or stored in the refrigerator. The texture just won’t be the same once frozen, but it is safe to freeze if you must!
Can risotto be made ahead of time? Again, risotto is going to taste best right after you make it, but it can certainly be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and leftovers are quite enjoyable. If you are serving to company though, I would make it right before you serve it.
Is it okay to use different vegetables? Yes! Feel free to play around with the recipe and use different vegetables. You could stir in sautéed mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli/cauliflower/carrots and more. Just add the cooked veggies after the risotto is cooked.
What goes well with Vegan Risotto?
- Marinated Tofu
- 3 Minute Kale
- Vegan Caesar Salad
- Festive Kale Salad
- Or stir in some drained, rinsed chickpeas for added protein
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Vegan Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash
For the Roasted Butternut Squash
- 3 cups cubed small butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Roast the butternut squash: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the cubed butternut squash. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then bake for 20-30 minutes until tender and lightly browned. While the squash bakes, make the risotto on the stovetop.
- Warm the broth: Heat the vegetable broth in a large pot over medium-low heat until warm, but not boiling. This is for adding to the risotto, and it needs to be warm.
- Make the Risotto: In a large saute pan over medium heat, add the olive oil and warm. Now add the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the rice and stir to coat with the oil, sauteing for about 2 more minutes.
- Next, add the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
- Add 1/2 cup of the warm broth, and stir until absorbed. Continue adding 1/2 cup broth at a time, stirring frequently until absorbed each time, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is al dente (tender, yet slightly chewy), about 20-30 minutes. The heat should be high enough that the rice/broth is bubbling soon after you add it, but not boiling too much or the liquid will absorb too quickly.
- Once all the liquid is absorbed, remove from heat and stir in the baby spinach and roasted butternut squash. Add salt to taste.
- To serve, garnish with chopped fresh parsley and/or Vegan Parmesan Cheese.
- For oil free, roast the squash without any oil (but be careful not to burn it), and saute with vegetable broth or water instead of oil.
- If you don't want to cook with wine, you may omit it, but it adds a lot of flavor to the risotto.
- Feel free to use any other vegetables you like instead of the butternut squash. You could use cubed, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or anything else you like. Simply mix in cooked vegetables when the risotto is finished.
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