Follow these steps at home to make this creamy, savoury, soft, and supple vegan butternut squash risotto without the need for wine (I add a squeeze of lemon for acidity at the end). The squash roasts until tender in the oven while you stir the risotto on the stovetop. With lots of salty umami flavour from a miso-enriched vegetable stock and vegan parmesan sprinkled on top, it’s a vegan dinner with robust depth and dimension. This cozy main is one of my favourite vegan butternut squash recipes!
I love this dairy free butternut squash risotto, which is deeply inspired by Ina Garten’s saffron risotto with butternut squash in Barefoot Contessa Family Style. Her recipe calls for a lot of butter, sautéed pancetta in the base, and a heavy hand with the parmesan cheese. I do not have these things in my arsenal! For a 100% plant-based take, I borrow J. Kenji Lopez Alt’s tip of using a good amount of light miso. It’s ultra savoury and perfectly salty. I just whisk a bit of it with hot stock and then add that back into the pot before I start the risotto base in a separate pot.
We also do not use wine in this vegan butternut squash risotto recipe! I don’t really drink anymore, so never have white wine on hand. Instead, I opt to deglaze the sautéed aromatics with a bit of extra hot stock. To make up for the acid, I squeeze in some fresh lemon juice at the end of the cooking process. I find the lemon super complimentary and a bit brighter than cooked out wine.
Risotto formula & some tips:
- For every cup of arborio rice, you’ll need 3-ish cups of hot vegetable stock to stir in. I say 3-ish because there’s always little variables–whether it’s the flame under the pot, the depth/width of your pot, how much you’re stirring, or even the brand of rice itself.
- I apply this formula to any stovetop risotto, and then just fold in whatever roasted/grilled veg that I feel like at the end. The aromatics sautéed at the beginning can be changed up depending on what kind of vegetable you’re pairing with your risotto.
- I find that each addition of vegetable stock to the toasted rice takes about 4-5 minutes to cook out/absorb. Your heat should be such that the stock is lightly simmering.
- This vegan butternut risotto is not a recipe to walk away from while it’s cooking. I recommend stirring every 30 seconds or so. It’s a great recipe if you need to lose yourself in a task for a bit. Very mindful cooking! :)
I love to serve a salad with butternut squash risotto. My chopped apple, kale & parsnip salad is a perfect seasonal pairing. Hope you love this one!
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Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
- 2 lb (908 grams) butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 2-inch cubes (4 cups chopped squash)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 6 ½ cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
- 2 tablespoons light miso
- 1 large shallot, fine dice (½ cup diced shallot)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ cups arborio rice (DO NOT rinse)
- 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- vegan parmesan for serving
- This recipe is heavily inspired by Ina Garten’s classic saffron butternut squash risotto from Barefoot Contessa Family Style.
- I absolutely love using honey nut or honeypatch squash for this recipe. If you can find some where you live, I urge you to go for it.
- DO NOT rinse your rice before cooking. We need to keep as much starch as possible on the grains of rice as that’s what makes the final result so creamy.
- The heat level under the risotto as you cook and stir is key. It should be lightly simmering.
- This is not a dish that you can walk away from. I recommend stirring every 30 seconds or so.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Once the squash cubes are all coated, arrange in a single layer and roast until tender, about 25 minutes.
- Get the stock ready. Pour stock into a medium saucepan with a lid. Place a ladle to the side. Cover the stock and set it over medium heat on the stove. Bring to a simmer.
- Place the miso in a small bowl and top it with a ladleful of warm stock. Use a whisk to “dissolve” the miso into the stock. Then, pour the miso-enriched stock back into the saucepan. Keep the stock on low heat so that it stays warm and is barely simmering.
- Set a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Once hot, pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl it around. Add the shallots and sauté until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, sage, and smoked paprika. Stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the arborio rice and stir to coat in the oil and seasonings for about 30 seconds.
- Add 2 ladlefuls of warm stock and stir. It should be lightly simmering. When the pan is almost dry, add 2 more ladlefuls of stock. Keep stirring every 30 seconds or so.
- Repeat this process of stirring, waiting for the pot to almost dry up, and adding 2 ladlefuls of stock until the rice is just tender and the consistency is starting to get creamy. This takes about 25-30 minutes total. You may not need all of the stock!
- When the rice is creamy and cooked through, add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and stir. Add the roasted butternut squash cubes and stir once more. Give the risotto a taste to check the seasoning, and adjust if necessary (more salt or lemon etc). Serve the risotto hot with vegan parmesan for sprinkling.