Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
January 12, 2011

Before I get to the business of sharing this wonderful, comfort food recipe for vegan butternut squash risotto, I want to thank you all for the enthusiastic response to my back to school post! The supportive words meant so much to me. I’m in the middle of deciding my curriculum, and I’ll keep you posted on how my first semester shapes up. In the meantime, risotto.

I love risotto. It’s warm, filling, delicious, and even though it’s easy to prepare, it looks and tastes “fancy.” 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. The hitch, of course, is the time and attention it takes to prepare, which means that it’s not always an easy choice for busy nights. But the good news is that the process and the watchfulness are relatively easy work, in spite of being hands-on, and it’s really tough to mess up risotto.

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!

Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
Recipe Type: vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (substitute 1 teaspoon rubbed sage)
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat In a large sauté pan. Add the onion, shallot, and butternut squash. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, until the squash is getting tender. It should take about 10 minutes. While you cook the squash, warm the broth in a medium sized pot over a low flame (you want it to be below simmering for the entire time you cook the risotto).
  2. Add rice to the sauté pan; stir to incorporate it with the other ingredients. Add the white wine. Cook, stirring often, until the wine has evaporated (about 2 minutes).
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1/2 cup hot broth mixture. Cook, stirring, until almost all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add the broth in half cups, waiting for the broth to be mostly absorbed before you add more and stirring the whole time. When the rice is creamy and totally tender, the risotto is ready. You’ll probably use nearly all of the broth, but you may have a half cup (or so) leftover. The process should take about 35 minutes.
  4. When the rice is ready, stir in the nutritional yeast and sage, then add salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon salt should be right). Serve immediately.
Leftover risotto can be re-heated with a splash of almond or soy milk to help preserve the creaminess. You can also shape it into cakes and pan fry it for a different kind of meal!

Served up with simple salads, this was a perfect winter dinner. My boyfriend noted that cold leftovers were even better than the original bowl. I didn’t have a chance to test his 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!

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.


  4. 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!

  5. 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.

    • 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 🙂

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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!


  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.