Have you ever made a roasted pumpkin risotto? If not, you're in for a real treat! This vegan, creamy, and healthy roasted pumpkin risotto is the perfect Winter or Fall dish. It's easy to make, and it tastes delicious. You're going to love it!
Making roasted pumpkin is one of our go-to side dishes, as it is as simple as tossing the right-sized pumpkin cubes with your choice of herbs. Roasted pumpkin as a side dish can quickly become a fantastic ingredient for other dishes like today's one.
You can also use the puréed squash to make a creamy vegan butternut squash pasta.
If you love autumn flavors, you are up for a treat, our butternut squash risotto, which will surely gain your heart!
Springtime? Our lemon asparagus risotto is always a favorite at our Easter celebrations table!
We took the inspiration to make this dish during our travels in the Piedmont Region in Italy, where we tasted fantastic pumpkin risotto and stuffed plins (which look like a small local version of ravioli).
🧡 Why you will love it
- Autumnal Delight
- Creamy Texture
- Simple Ingredients
- Versatile Dish
- Quick & Easy
Surprisingly, just a few ingredients are needed for a Vegan Pumpkin risotto recipe. The essential ingredient is rice – for further info on the rice check below.
- Pumpkin: Adds a natural sweetness and earthy flavor, while its fiber content makes the dish more filling.
- Carnaroli rice or Arborio rice: These types of rice are starchy, which contributes to the creaminess of the risotto without needing dairy.
- Dry white wine: Elevates the dish by adding acidity and complexity, balancing out the richness of other ingredients.
- Onion or Shallot: Provides a foundational flavor that complements the pumpkin and adds a touch of sweetness.
- Garlic Cloves: Infuse the dish with a subtle, aromatic kick that pairs well with the pumpkin and sage.
- Nutritional Yeast: Offers a cheesy flavor while keeping the dish vegan, and adds a dose of B-vitamins.
- Olive Oil or Unsalted Butter (Vegan): Acts as a cooking medium and adds richness to the dish, enhancing the texture and flavor.
- Vegetable Stock: Serves as the liquid base that helps cook the rice, while adding essential flavors and nutrients.
- Fresh Sage: Gives the dish an aromatic and earthy note, making the flavors more complex and interesting.
See quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card.
You need a medium saucepan for the stock and a medium skillet to cook the risotto.
If you make the roasted pumpkin, you need a large baking sheet as well. The parchment paper is optional but makes things easier.
How to make roasted pumpkin risotto?
You'll be amazed that risotto can be made easily. The steps are outlined below. The recipe needs constant stirring, so be present! 🙂
Roast pumpkin with olive oil and salt
I like making small dice, so they cook quickly.
Don't even think about tossing those seeds—roast them up and transform them into a scrumptious, health-boosting treat!
It begins in the oven, briefly roasting the pumpkin dice with oil and salt for 20 minutes in a preheated oven.
Bring your choice of veggie stock to a simmer, and keep it close to your skillet where you will cook the risotto.
To make homemade stock you can simply bring some onions, garlic, and misfitted veggies to boil for 10-15 minutes in a large saucepan or large pot.
Chop and saute
Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic.
Then sauté on medium heat in a skillet on medium-high heat until the onions look translucent; then add the minced garlic.
Cook the rice
Add rice and stir until it looks almost toasted and it has dried out.
Pour white wine, and let the rice absorb the liquid before adding the vegetable broth using a laddle.
Keep adding the hot stock, a half cup at a time, and then add half the roasted pumpkin dice.
Then add the nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese to make it super creamy. Stir with a wooden spoon.
Add fresh sage (or herb of choice) and freshly grated nutmeg (optional). Add more stock and keep stirring occasionally, making sure the pumpkin risotto doesn't dry out.
Optionally add freshly grated nutmeg.
As soon as the rice is "al dente", reduce the heat and then turn off the hot stove.
Add a drizzle of oil or unsalted butter, optionally vegan parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir and let it sit for 2-3 minutes, then serve immediately.
💡 Expert tips
Roast Pumpkin Perfectly: For the best flavor, roast the pumpkin until it's tender and slightly caramelized. This brings out its natural sweetness and adds depth to the risotto. Avoid over-roasting, as it can make the pumpkin too mushy when mixed into the risotto.
Stir Regularly: Risotto requires attention and love. Stir it frequently to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking. This also helps release the starch from the rice, giving the risotto its signature creamy texture.
Broth Temperature Matters: Always add warm vegetable broth to the risotto. Adding cold broth can shock the rice, affecting its cooking process and texture. Warm broth maintains the cooking temperature and helps the rice cook evenly.
Al Dente Rice: Aim for 'al dente' rice – cooked yet firm to the bite. Overcooking the rice can lead to a mushy risotto. Start checking the rice for doneness a few minutes before the estimated cooking time is up.
Final Touch: Let the risotto rest for a few minutes after turning off the heat. Then, stir in olive oil or vegan butter for a creamy texture and rich flavor. In Italian, this step, known as 'mantecatura,’ is crucial for a perfect risotto.
If you loved the creamy texture of our pumpkin risotto, don't miss our latest post on making risotto, where we delve into the secrets of achieving that perfect consistency every time.
Some variations also work for this delicious risotto, including a baked pumpkin risotto in the recipe card.
Instead of using fresh pumpkin, you can use pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin; it will taste nice; it will just not have the richness that we all know roasted vegetables bring in.
Use the same quantity and add the pumpkin mixture right after you start adding the hot stock.
As explained below, arborio rice also works if you can't find carnaroli rice. They are both short-grain and starchy Italian rice varieties. Here in Italy, Carnaroli is considered the best rice for risotto as it makes a creamier dish.
If you want to use rice that has more fiber content, you could use brown arborio rice; keep in mind that the cooking time will increase to make it tender. In my experience, almost 2X.
Another popular rice variety used in the Veneto area is the vialone nano. The Vialone Nano rice comes in squat grains and is excellent rice: it absorbs seasonings well and has a good cooking yield, making it suitable for preparing risottos.
Pumpkin and spinach risotto
Immediately after adding the pumpkin dice, add one cup of shredded baby spinach per serving to the cooking rice.
Pumpkin and mushroom risotto
Before cooking, slice 50 grams (¼ cup) of sliced cremini or portabella mushrooms and stir-fry them on an oiled skillet, turning them halfway until golden brown. Then remove from heat and reserve.
Add them to the mushroom pumpkin risotto 5 minutes after you add the pumpkin dice.
You can use unsalted vegan butter; instead, we love this easy homemade vegan butter recipe.
Instead of using fresh sage, you can choose fresh thyme or rosemary; they pair very well with the pumpkin's velvety sweetness.
I have also tried using spring onion successfully.
To make a pumpkin and leek risotto, substitute the onion with one sliced leek (don't use the though green tops); then follow the exact same instructions.
We use this fantastic ingredient to add creaminess and replace the umami flavor of regular grated parmesan cheese for this vegan pumpkin risotto and all other risottos you can find on this site.
If you have some homemade vegan parmesan cheese, go for it! It is made in minutes and adds richness.
Feel free you use black pepper or white pepper for a final touch.
Got leftovers? No worries! Transfer the remaining risotto into an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheating from Fridge
To reheat, place the risotto in a saucepan over low heat. Add a splash of vegetable broth to bring back its creamy texture. Stir occasionally until it's heated through. You can also use a microwave; just remember to stir halfway through the reheating process.
Freezing the Risotto
If you're planning to enjoy this dish later, you can freeze it. Portion the cooled risotto into freezer-safe bags or containers, removing as much air as possible. Store it in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Reheating from Frozen
When you're ready to dive back into pumpkin heaven, thaw the risotto in the fridge overnight. Reheat it in a saucepan over low heat, adding a bit of vegetable broth to re-creamy it. Stir until it's hot and ready to serve.
🥢 How to serve risotto
This risotto is a complete meal, and yes, risotto means carbohydrates, but I need to let you know that people love sweeping the goodness out of their roasted pumpkin risotto plates, so there is always a piece of Pagnotta artisan bread or homemade focaccia around.
However, risotto in Italy is considered a "primo piatto", like an appetizer, as the main dish usually consists of a bigger portion of protein. That's why this risotto can make a perfect side dish as well.
Very hard to resist!
🧐 Tell me what's the best pumpkin?
In Italian cuisine, squash is called "zucca", and that term applies to the wide variety of squash they produce. You can use the same pumpkins that you would use for a pumpkin pie. They vary slightly in sweetness but are completely replaceable for this recipe.
If you use sugar pumpkin, it will decisively be a sweeter risotto, but don't worry! The flavor will be balanced out when we add the vegan parmesan (in replacement of grated parmesan cheese), sage, and the rest of the ingredients that make this pumpkin risotto fabulous.
You can use acorn squash, as well. It will be less sweet.
The magic of this recipe is that by roasting the pumpkin in the oven, you extract that amazing caramelizing goodness from any kind of squash, so pick the one you have available; even roasted butternut squash works perfectly.
Check out our guide to choosing and cooking pumpkin, to know more about how to use this delicious vegetable.
🍚 What rice to use for risotto?
The risotto rice must be creamy. The short-grain rice Italian varieties Carnaroli and Arborio bring just that: starch! It is the high starchy contents that make the risotto creamy. The most widely available on supermarket shelves is Arborio.
Risotto is traditionally cooked using carnaroli rice. Arborio rice can also be used, but here in the Lombardia region where risotto was born, most people argue Carnaroli is definitely best.
Both Carnaroli and Arborio are short-grain and starchy varieties giving an ideal creamy texture to risotto.
To complement the creaminess, the vegan parmesan cheese replaces the traditional dairy parmesan cheese and adds a mild saltiness that offers a contrast to the sweeter pumpkin.
📚 More creamy risotto recipes
We love lemony savory dishes like our all-time crowd please lemony spaghetti recipe, but we also use it in risottos, as it is common to find here in Italy. Experiment with this ready garlic risotto or the Lemony Winter risotto, made with lemons and leeks; we promise love at first sight.
If you are into traditional recipes, the classic Risotto alla Milanese is for you. It is made with saffron and allows you to appreciate the magic of traditional Italian cuisine.
Another super quick and convenient risotto is our Dried Tomato Risotto, which is easily put together with staple pantry ingredients and fresh basil; no one can resist the flawless combination of tomato and basil.
Ready to give this vegan pumpkin risotto a try? It’s easier than you might think, and the end result is a creamy, healthy dish that will leave you feeling satisfied. So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start cooking one of our favorite recipes!
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Creamy Vegan Roasted Pumpkin Risotto
Roast the pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 425 ºF (220 ºC) and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cut the peeled fresh pumpkin into small dice. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin with a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and keep it hot.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chopped onions, followed by the minced garlic, and cook over moderately high heat, frequently stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the rice, lightly cook it until and add the wine (or ⅓ cup vegetable broth), occasionally stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, and start adding hot stock.
- Reduce the heat to moderate and gradually add 4 more cups of the hot vegetable broth, ½ cup at a time, stirring and cooking until the stock is almost absorbed before adding the next, about 15 minutes.
- Add half of the pumpkin dice (save some for garnishing) and the nutritional yeast. Smash some of the pumpkins, so it contributes to the creaminess of the risotto, and leave some dice whole.
- Stir in the fresh sage and grate some nutmeg (optional).
- Adjust: Taste the rice and when it is al dente, turn off the heat, add a drizzle of olive oil and black pepper and adjust the salt.
- Serve: Spoon the risotto into plates and sprinkle the Vegan Parmesan on top. Serve immediately.
Baked pumpkin risotto variation
- Preheat Oven. Preheat your oven to 375 ºF (190 ºC). This is a bit lower than the original recipe because we're going for a slow, even cook.
- Prep Pumpkin. Just like in the original, dice your peeled fresh pumpkin and toss it in a teaspoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
- Prep Broth. In a medium saucepan, bring your vegetable stock to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Keep it hot; we'll need it soon.
- Sauté Veggies. In your Dutch oven or oven-friendly pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Toss in your chopped onions and minced garlic. Cook until the onions are translucent.
- Add Rice and Liquid. Throw in your rice and give it a quick stir. Pour in a splash of white wine (or vegetable broth) and stir until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Combine Ingredients. Add half of your prepped pumpkin dice to the pot. Also, pour in 4 cups of your hot vegetable broth. Stir in some nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor.
- Into the Oven. Cover your Dutch oven with its lid or aluminum foil. Place it in your preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. This allows all the flavors to meld together and the rice to absorb the broth, giving you that creamy texture we all love.
- Check & Season. After baking, carefully remove the Dutch oven (it's hot!). Stir in the remaining pumpkin dice, fresh sage, and a grating of nutmeg if you're feeling it. Give it a taste; if the rice is al dente, you're good to go. Drizzle a bit more olive oil, add some black pepper, and adjust the salt to your liking.
- Serve it Up. Spoon that deliciousness into plates and sprinkle some vegan Parmesan on top. Serve immediately and watch it disappear!
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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