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Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto

Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto is creamy and vibrant with comforting flavors. It has the natural sweetness of the squash plus sage and nutmeg, which make it warm-tasting. As quintessential slow food, the simple act of cooking this dish can be therapeutic.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Servings: 8

Ingredients

Roast

  • 20 ounces butternut squash peeled and cut into cubes (4.5 cups, 600 grams, or half a medium squash)
  • 8 ounces red onion coarsely chopped, (2 cups or 240 grams)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil see note for oil free

Saute

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil see note for oil free
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup shallot minced (about 2-3 large shallots)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced or pressed
  • 2 cups dry arborio rice (can substitute brown arborio or other short-grain rice, see note)

Garnish and Season

  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus more to taste
  • Parsley chopped
  • Sage chopped
  • Balsamic vinegar or other dark, sweet vinegar

Instructions

Roast the squash and onion

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C). Prepare a large baking pan with foil. Place the squash and onion onto the pan. Drizzle with the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and stir it to coat the ingredients as evenly as possible. Spread them into an even layer in the pan. Roast until the squash is tender and caramelized on the bottom, about 20 minutes.

Make the risotto

  • While the squash is baking, prepare a medium-sized pot and a larger heavy pot (at least 4 quarts). Pour the vegetable stock into the medium-sized pot and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce to low to keep it at a simmer.
  • Heat the other Tablespoon of olive oil in the larger heavy pot over medium-low heat. When hot, add the shallot and garlic. Stir until the shallot is translucent and tender. If either ingredient starts to brown or toast, reduce the heat.
  • Add the rice and stir it together with the onion and garlic. Allow it to toast for about 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Use a ladle to spoon about half a cup of hot stock into the pot with the rice, scraping up any rice stuck to the bottom and stirring to keep the mixture even.
  • Continue to spoon stock into the rice, roughly half a cup at a time, stirring. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid, so you’ll need to add liquid and stir frequently. You may end up not using all of the stock. This process takes 20-30 minutes for white rice and around 40 minutes for brown rice.

Combine and Garnish

  • When the rice is cooked to your preferred doneness (taste it and see) stir in the roasted squash, and onion and the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of the vinegar. Stir it again. Taste it and add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and vinegar as desired.
  • Garnish with sage and parsley and serve hot.

Notes

Short grain Italian rices are all great for this. I’ve read that it’s even possible to use sushi rice for risotto.
If using brown rice, you will need more liquid and more cooking time. You may need up to 25% more cooking liquid and cooking time, though you will be the judge of when the dish is ready.
To go oil-free, use parchment or silicone instead of foil for the roasting step. Sprinkle the squash and onion with water and stir it before roasting. You may need to sprinkle a bit more water onto it if it looks dry as you cook it. And use a small amount (1-2 Tablespoons) of the hot broth instead of the oil to “saute” the shallot and garlic.