This vegan butternut squash risotto is made with spiced, roasted squash and slow-cooked Arborio rice. It's a perfect fall side dish!
Earlier this fall I bought a massive amount of winter squash.
I don't regret my purchase at all, even though we were also gifted even more squash a few weeks later!
If you follow along with my Instagram stories, you've been seeing lots of squash!
We've been slowly working our way through the squash, and finding new ways to use it all has been one of my favorite projects this year.
In 2020, we look for the little things to make us happy, right?
And now, it's time for risotto!
This vegan butternut squash risotto is made with seasoned, roasted squash tossed with creamy, slow-cooked risotto rice, and is a savory fall side dish.
Want more winter squash recipes? Try making roasted acorn squash with cranberry sauce, roasted delicata squash with tahini, spicy butternut squash soup, butternut squash galette, and butternut squash quiche.
What is Risotto?
Risotto is an Italian rice dish.
The rice is cooked with broth, and while it cooks, the rice releases a lot of starches. The final dish is creamy and delicious, even without adding dairy.
How Long Does Risotto Take to Cook?
It depends on how much risotto you're making!
This butternut squash risotto serves six people and takes around 50 minutes to prepare, start to finish.
What Type of Rice Should I Use?
Use a short-grain white rice such as Arborio.
Arborio rice is easy to find in the grocery store, but you can (of course) order Arborio rice online.
If you need to (or want to), you can swap out other types of short-grain white rice for your risotto. Avoid using long-grain rice like basmati or jasmine.
How to Peel + Dice Butternut Squash
Start by using a vegetable peeler to peel the squash. I use this Cuisinart vegetable peeler.
Next, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
Dice the squash into cubes.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
Next, toss the cubed squash with olive oil, sea salt, and some spices.
For this recipe, we're using paprika, red chili flakes, and nutmeg.
Roast the squash until it's tender, about 20 minutes.
How to Make Butternut Squash Risotto
While the squash roasts, start making the risotto.
Begin by cooking onion and some garlic.
Next, add the rice.
Toss the rice with the onions and let it toast over the heat for a minute or two.
Next, add rosemary and lemon juice, and toss again.
How to Add Broth to Risotto
Next, you'll begin adding broth to the risotto.
This part isn't tricky, but you should know what you're looking for while cooking.
Add a little warm broth to the rice and onion mixture.
The rice will begin to absorb the liquid.
As it does, you can use a spatula or spoon to scoop some rice to the side.
If a pool of broth fills the hole you created, the rice is not ready for more broth. Be patient.
When you can scoop the rice to the side and no liquid rushes in to fill the gap, it's ready for more broth.
Continue adding the broth, little by little, until the rice absorbs all the liquid.
Next, add the roasted butternut squash to the rice.
Toss the squash to incorporate it, and taste the rice. Season it with a little more salt if you want to.
Serve this butternut squash risotto along with a haricot vert salad and a glass of crisp white wine.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Roasted Butternut Squash:
- 2 ½ pounds butternut squash, diced into ½″ cubes See Recipe Notes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced (or diced)
- ¾ cup Arborio rice Or use another short-grain rice such as Carnaroli or Vialone Nano
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, removed from stem
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt, to taste (optional)
Roast Butternut Squash:
- Preheat oven to 400°F.Toss squash and onions with oil, salt, paprika, chili flakes and nutmeg. Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast 20-25 minutes or until tender.
- Begin preparing the risotto while the squash roasts.Heat broth in saucepan over medium heat until hot, and then keep warm on low heat.Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large pan or wok over medium heat. When the oil begins to ripple, add the diced onion and cook 3-4 minutes until the onions soften.Add garlic to the pan, and sauté 1 minute.
- Add rice and stir 1-2 minutes. Add the rosemary and stir. Add the lemon juice and stir.
- Ladle over about ½ cup of broth, and stir every few minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Test to see if you're ready to add more broth: Use a spatula or spoon to pull the rice across the pan. If the space immediately fills with liquid, the rice isn't ready. When the space stays dry, the rice is ready for more broth. Repeat until all your broth is gone. Don't rush these steps- you want the rice to slowly release the starch and become creamy. Rushing will result in less creamy risotto.
- When you've finished adding all the broth to the risotto, and the liquid has absorbed into the rice, you're ready to add the squash.Scoop the butternut squash into the risotto and toss to incorporate. Taste the rice mixture and add remaining salt to taste if desired. Serve immediately.
- Peel: Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin.
- Halve: Using a large chef’s knife, insert the pointed part of the knife into the squash, and carefully rock the knife back and forth. When the squash begins to split, push down on the back of the knife and cut through the squash.
- Remove Seeds: Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy pieces.
- Dice: Using the large chef’s knife, dice the squash into ½″ pieces.
- Tip: Make sure to use a sharp, large chef’s knife. Avoid using a small knife or a dull knife. Alternatively, use a meat cleaver to carefully split the squash.
- Never rinse rice before making risotto. You'll wash away the starches that create the creamy texture.
- If substituting traditional risotto rice (like Arborio) for other varieties of rice, stick to other short (or even medium) grain rice. Avoid long-grain rice such as jasmine or basmati, which do not contain enough starch to make the risotto creamy.