This vegan butternut squash risotto is absolutely delicious. You may have seen I recently made Parmesan Risotto, and it was so flavorful and easy to make.
I decided to try a vegan version as I'll be participating in the Daniel Fast in January. Trust me, I'll be making this melt-in your-mouth risotto recipe regularly. For another one of my favorites, try this traditional minestrone soup recipe. And check out this list of vegan soup recipes for more ideas.
This butternut squash risotto recipe is perfect as a main dish or a warm and hearty side dish. It starts by roasting the squash until it has a nice buttery texture. It’s then gently folded into the rich and creamy rice and topped off with fresh basil. The end result is a decadent, flavorful and creamy comfort food that you are simply going to love.
Why We Love this Dish
Taste: The sweetness of butternut squash with arborio rice, topped with fresh basil, is just heavenly.
Daniel Fast Friendly: I don't follow a vegan diet all year, but I definitely like eating healthier meals like this roasted vegetable soup and these quinoa tacos with beans, both Daniel Fast friendly.
Presentation: It's easy enough to make for a weeknight meal but the vibrant colors in this recipe make this such a beautiful dish that it's a perfect date night recipe.
Healthy: Not only does this creamy risotto taste amazing, the main ingredient, butternut squash, is super healthy. It's an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals. According to this article on Healthline, "Butternut squash is low in calories but high in many nutrients, including vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium."
What Goes Into this Risotto Recipe
Butternut Squash- A little sweeter than other winter squash, butternut squash has a soft and creamy texture when it's roasted and gives the risotto an amazing nutty flavor.
White Arborio Rice- This short-grain rice has a starchy texture that helps soak up the broth. This gives the risotto a creamy consistency. It truly makes the best risotto rice. (For the Daniel Fast, you'll want to use brown short grain rice.)
Vegetable Broth- Because this recipe is for vegan risotto, vegetable stock or broth is used instead of beef of chicken stock you find in some traditional risottos.
Basil- Not only does it add beautiful color to this dish, but basil is also a wonderful aromatic that gives the perfect hint of freshness with a slight peppery flavor.
Scroll down to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and instructions.
How to Make Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
Preheat oven to 400º.
Using a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel the butternut squash, then cut into bite sized pieces.
Add cubed butternut squash to baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
Cook squash for 25-35 minutes, until it's really soft, even a little golden brown.
While Squash is cooking, pour vegetable broth into a pan and set to boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer.
In a Dutch oven, add the rest of the olive oil (2 tablespoons) and warm over medium heat for a couple of minutes.
Sauté onions and garlic, cooking until it's fragrant and translucent.
Add the dry rice to the onion and garlic. Continue stirring the rice mixture until the edges of the rice become translucent.
Add one of the cups of broth to the rice and stir. Let the rice simmer, stirring often. Do not walk away!
Once the warm vegetable broth has been absorbed, add more broth. Repeat until risotto is al dente to the bite. Al dente rice is chewy, not completely soft.
Just before all liquid is absorbed, add the roasted butternut squash, gently stirring until combined.
Once the risotto is done, serve in a bowl topped with the basil.
You'll want to keep leftover risotto in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
It's not recommended that you freeze risotto. The rice hardens when it’s frozen and once it thaws, it won’t soften to its original texture.
- Remember that extra virgin olive oil keeps for about 12 months after it's bottled. I've heard people say this is a marketing tactic. Use old olive oil that has become rancid in a dish you worked hard to make, and have it ruined, and it will change your mind about using olive oil that is past its prime! I always suggest buying smaller bottles if you don't use a lot of olive oil.
- This is one time when cooking a vegetable just a little longer than necessary is actually a good thing! The butternut squash caramelizes and becomes super sweet.
- The chiffonade method of cutting the basil just makes for a prettier presentation. Wash and dry basil and remove stems. Roll up several leaves and slice thin.
- Don't rinse the rice before cooking. When cooking rice, the starches release into the liquid and helps make a real creamy dish, like this risotto or rice puddings. For recipes that call for light and fluffy rice, rinsing the rice first is recommended.
Add-ins and Variations:
Once you get the easy cooking process down for risotto, there are so many ways you can change up the ingredients to add your own personal touch. Try some of these great variations next time:
Vegetables: Sweet potato is similar in taste to a butternut squash, and it makes an excellent substitution. Mushrooms are a great source of protein and are often used in risotto recipes. White beans and creamy chickpeas work great with the creaminess in risotto. English peas also make a great addition and also add a beautiful pop of green color to the dish.
Toppings: Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast, which means it’s not a leavening agent. It's a super healthy way to add parmesan cheese flavor as a topping to your risotto. You can also use vegan parmesan cheese, but it can be harder to find and a bit pricier.
Herbs: If you're not a fan of basil, you can use fresh sage leaves, tarragon or parsley. Every herb has its own potency. So, make sure you adjust the amounts you use accordingly.
Rice: Arborio rice is the best short grain rice for risotto. This recipe uses white, but you can also buy arborio in a brown rice version.
Flavors: Right before serving, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice right over the top if the dish. It adds a bright and refreshing flavor.
Liquids: If you aren't making this for a Daniel fast recipe you can add a splash of white wine in the warm broth. Using a dry white wine gives this risotto an extra layer of flavor. For non-vegan risotto you can use chicken or beef broth or stocks instead of the veggie broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many herbs that would go well with this dish. Warm spices would be best, like rosemary, thyme, sage, and nutmeg.
Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, this squash would be good for 3-4 days. I wouldn't freeze this dish.
I would serve this with chicken or pork.
More Delicious Vegan Recipes:
Butternut Squash RisottoPrint this Recipe Pin this Recipe Rate
- 6 Cups Butternut Squash Bite-sized pieces
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil extra-virgin
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 Cup onion chopped
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 Cups vegetable broth No sugar
- 2 teaspoons basil fresh, sliced Chiffonade method
- 1 Cup Arborio rice
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- Peel and cut butternut squash into bite sized pieces.
- Add squash to baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Cook Squash for 25-35 minutes, until it's really soft, even a little golden brown.
- While Squash is cooking, pour vegetable broth into a pan and set to boil over medium high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn down the heat to a simmer.
- In a Dutch oven, add the rest of the olive oil (2 tablespoons) and warm over medium heat.
- Add onion and garlic, cooking until it's fragrant and translucent.
- Add the rice to the onion and garlic, stirring until the edges of the rice become translucent.
- Add a cup of the broth to the rice and stir. Let the rice simmer, stirring often. Do not walk away!
- Once the liquid has been absorbed, add more broth. Repeat until risotto is al dente to the bite. Al dente rice is chewy, not completely soft.
- Just before all liquid is absorbed, add the butternut squash, gently stirring until combined.
- Once the risotto is done, serve in a bowl topped with the basil.