Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto

by Gena on January 12, 2011

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Thanks so much for the enthusiastic response to my back to school post! It was fun to watch all of you light up with enthusiasm about the student life, just as I have this week.

I’m in the middle of deciding my curriculum, and it looks like the choice is between an accelerated study track that will be rigorous, but expedite my post-bacc, and a slower course that will mean waiting for a few months before I dive into the serious work. I’m leaning toward the former, so I’m simultaneously preparing myself to kiss leisure time goodbye. I don’t know that it’ll be worse than the last year (two jobs and night school), but it’s at least equal, so my little stint as a domestic goddess is about to draw to a close. Before it does, I must properly pay tribute to the long, labor-intensive, and awesome dinners that I enjoyed with M in D.C. last week!

First up? Risotto.

I love risotto. It’s warm, carb-y, delicious, and even though it’s easy to prepare, it looks and tastes professional. It’s often my go-to for entertaining—provided there are enough people around to entertain themselves for a while while I stir—or for holidays. And in spite of how long risotto takes to prepare, I have yet to churn out a batch that was a failure. It’s as close to an error-proof dish as I’ve ever found.

Last week, I decided to combine two of my favorite things—rice and butternut squash—and create my first ever butternut squash risotto. Naturally, the pairing of two such stellar main ingredients was a success. I loved this dish, and I hope you will, too!

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Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto (serves 4)

1 tbsp Earth Balance or olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 standard box (about 29 oz) reduced-sodium vegetable broth, mixed with about 1/2 cup water
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

1) In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, melt Earth Balance or heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion and squash; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, until the squash is getting tender. It should take about 10 minutes. While you do that, empty your veggie broth into a pot, and keep it heated on a low flame.

2) Add rice; stir to coat, and pan fry it a little. Add the wine next, and cook until almost all liquid has evaporated. It should take about 2 minutes.

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3) Reduce heat to medium-low; add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until all liquid is absorbed and rice looks creamy before adding more. You’ll probably need 40 minutes total.

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4) Stir in nooch, sage, and more salt and pepper to taste (I used about 3/4 teaspoon). Serve immediately, and hot!

Served up with simple salads, this was a perfect winter dinner. And keep in mind that, if you disregard the long prep time, this was by far the easiest dinner I made all week for me and M; all I had to do was stir.

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M noted that cold leftovers were even better than the original bowl. I didn’t have a chance to test this theory, but I can believe it.

Cook’s note: one of my favorite things to do with leftover risotto is to pan fry little patties of it in a touch of olive oil. If you make this recipe and want to switch it up with the leftovers, try it!

And that, friends, is how to make a perfect and deceptively chef-like dinner on a cold winter’s night. As school fires up, I’m going to feel gratitude for every night on which I have an hour or more to cook. For now, you can look forward to a few more of last week’s highlights, including homemade pizza (dough and all) and a mystery recipe I can’t wait to share. Stay tuned!


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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie January 12, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Thanks for sharing this! It looks amazing!


Andy January 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

I made a butternut squash risotto earlier this squash season (November-ish?). I cooked the squash bits first and added them to the arborio after it was good and risottoed (like is often done with mushrooms). I had added a bit of sugar, I think, but I love the idea of putting some nutritional yeast in the mix. Maybe I’ll give squash risotto another go! Thanks! Love the blog.


FoodFeud January 12, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I made something like this for my and my bf’s parents last month and they loved it. To make it more omni friendly, we added Field Roast apple-sage sausage and carmelized onions. So delicious and creamy!


Namaste Gurl January 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Mmm, how yummy and hearty indeed. Love how you healthified and veganized the standard, not so healthy, risotto.
Is there a substitute for dry white wine I could use, as I have no alcoholic beverages in the house :)
Also, would barley or farro work instead of arborio? It’d make it much more nutritious and dense!


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Gena that looks great!

I just made something today that was a veggie bake with nooch and was as you put it “warm, carb-y, delicious, and even though it’s easy to prepare, it looks and tastes professional.”

Well my hubs and kid said it tasted professional. haha!

I have no doubt your risotto creation is just that. I love that it’s one pot, one dish, nothing complicated or exotic involved, it’s straightforward eating. The way I like to cook and eat. Thanks for sharing!

I can only imagine how BUSY and crazy your life must be right now. Hang in there, that’s all i can say and thank you for blogging even tho no doubt, you are slammed with other life stuff going on!



Gena January 13, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Indeed. Blogging is just about the only “me” thing I do! But Averie, I’m trying :)


Michelle Young January 12, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Looks divine. I can’t wait to give it a try. I made your cauliflower mash the other day and LOVED it! Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration!


elise January 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm

mystery recipe!?! cant wait :) this risotto looks so much like mac n cheese, it makes me crave both dishes.


Gena January 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Mystery recipe posted!


bitt January 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Looks so yummy! I love a good risotto. Sadly my arm does not like stirring so I don’t make it too often. But a good vegan version can win people over.

I can feel the stress over here! Take care of yourself. I hope it’s fun and you learn lots, despite the business of it all.


Dorry January 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I love risotto – and have found that the leftovers are equally as yummy as the 1st warm serving. Looking forward to your pizza post!


Erika @ Health and Happiness in LA January 12, 2011 at 11:47 pm

I’ve never made risotto! This looks like a great recipe for company, and I’ll make it next time I invite someone over for dinner :)


Christin@purplebirdblog January 13, 2011 at 12:07 am

Ohhhhhh! *wipes drool off chin* That looks bonkers-good! :)


Ashley January 13, 2011 at 12:18 am

Oh my goodness…this sounds fabulous about now, as it’s 5* outside! :)


Christine (The Raw Project) January 13, 2011 at 12:21 am

Wow, this looks wonderful! Perfect dish to take to a family gathering, thanks! Just about anything with butternut squash is a winner to me. :-)


laura January 13, 2011 at 5:11 am


i’m wanting to try it.


Wendy (Healthy Girl's Kitchen) January 13, 2011 at 6:28 am

I love risotto and I love the process for making risotto. And your recipe for it looks perfect. Love the nooch addition.


VeggieGirl January 13, 2011 at 6:57 am

Good luck with your curriculum!

I love butternut squash AND risotto, so this is a perfect combination. Yum!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey January 13, 2011 at 7:21 am

This recipe looks awesome! I just added it to my “make” file!


Stephanie January 13, 2011 at 7:57 am

Wow, this looks delicious! I’m going to try to make it this weekend!


Green Shushi January 13, 2011 at 8:34 am

omg this looks soo good!


Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg January 13, 2011 at 8:47 am

I bet it will be worth it to do the more rigorous curriculum– it will be tough, but you’ll be SO glad to be done with it instead of dragging it out!

This risotto look amazing! We’re hosting a dinner party in a few weeks, and I might just have to make this.


Gena January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Try it! It’s insanely good.


Maya January 13, 2011 at 9:04 am

Love risotto! It’s one of my favorites. I’d like to try this recipe and see if it’s as cheesy and creamy as my beloved recipes!


Kathleen January 13, 2011 at 9:30 am

Wowza. This looks amazing. Lucky boyfriend!


Gena January 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Lucky ME. It was so good!


elizabeth January 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

Ha, after reading your post yesterday, I was going to write and say, “do the accelerated track!” But of course you figured that one out for yourself. So happy for you.


Gena January 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm

Thanks, E! That decision actually tripped me up — my adviser was SO adamant about me taking the conservative track — but I agree that that wasn’t the right approach for me. Time to step up :)


Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day January 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

that looks so perfectly comforting.. butternut squash and sage are pair so well together


Elizabeth@The Sweet Life January 13, 2011 at 10:23 am

That looks so, so delicious. What a great winter meal.


Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun.blogspot) January 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

This looks so wonderful! Risotto and b’nut squash are two of my favorite foods, so I can assume I’ll love this. Thanks for the recipe, I’m looking forward the the next few, too!


Karen January 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

Yum! I’m especially excited to try this risotto and squash combo with the addition of nooch. Will be cooking this on the weekend for sure!


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn January 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

I can’t wait to try this! I love risotto, and butternut squash = my favorite. Add in cheesy nooch and BAM this will be devoured in about five seconds;)


Ela January 13, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Sounds yummy, creamy and simple! Maybe a great candidate for ‘make a huge pot in advance and use for several days’ in the busy time? No surprise that you’re going for the more hectic track: I hope it inspires and exhilarates you as well as exercising you hard, and that you find time to breathe.



lauren January 14, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Butternut squash risotto — what a great wintry comfort food! I like to make risotto a little bit too much — I tried it with millet the other day and it was lovely! A bit of a different texture, but still so very warming.


Kathryn January 14, 2011 at 2:49 pm

butternut and sage anything is delicious. I can’t wait to try this!


megan @ the oatmeal diaries January 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Just filed this away in my “to-make” list! Also, I am reading the Crazy Sexy Diet and saw your name in there on some recipes. That is so cool- congrats!! :)


Gwen November 16, 2012 at 11:38 am

You don’t state what to do with the shallots. I assume you meant “onion and shallot” when you said “onion,” right?


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