As the leaves start to turn yellow and red and the air becomes crisper, it's time to start thinking about hearty comfort foods like this vegan butternut squash risotto recipe. The key to a great risotto is all in the stirring! Stirring allows the rice to cook evenly and releases its starch, which results in a creamy and delicious final product. This vegan version is lightened with vegetable broth instead of cream, making it perfect for those colder days when you want something comforting but not too heavy. Give it a try!
Butternut squash is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. I love its sweet and nutty flavor and the fact that it's so versatile. You can use it in soups, stews, pasta dishes, or as part of the main course. You can use leftover squash for this recipe, as the chunks can be irregular.
This blog post will show you how to make an easy butternut squash risotto recipe. Risotto is a classic component of the Italian diet made with short-grain rice, which gives it a creamy texture. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free, but you can easily adapt it to fit your dietary needs. So let's get started!
This was inspired by my roasted pumpkin risotto recipe on this site and pairs well with a fresh green salad and homemade vinaigrette.
Butternut squash risotto ingredients are vegan pantry staples and wholesome ingredients that are easy to get.
- Carnarolli rice or arborio rice
- Butternut squash
- Fresh garlic
- Vegetable stock
- Vegan butter or extra virgin olive oil
- Nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan cheese
See quantities and complete instructions in the recipe card.
To make butternut squash risotto, start by peeling and cubing the butternut squash and washing the leeks thoroughly, as they usually hold a lot of dirt.
Prepare the veggie stock.
Put your vegetable stock to simmer in a large saucepan. Using granulated store-bought veggie stock, bring the water to boil and prepare according to packaging instructions. I like adding leek's green tops.
Prepare the butternut squash and leeks.
Dice the butternut squash into cubes.
Finely slice the leeks with a sharp knife, making circles of about? Inch (¼ cm).
Prepare the seasonings
Mince the fresh garlic.
Chop parsley, zest the lemon, and mix with minced garlic.
Sautée the vegetables and seasonings
Sautée the leeks and vegan butter.
Add the parsley mixture on top of the fried leeks.
Toast rice followed by veggie stock or white wine, letting the rice with leeks absorb the liquid.
Add veggie stock, a half cup at a time, until consumed.
Then add cubed butternut squash.
Add nutritional yeast or vegan parm.
Frequently stir on medium heat until rice is slightly al dente.
Season with more parsley, salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve immediately as soon as the squash is tender, and the rice is al dente, optionally topping the butternut squash risotto recipe with pine nuts.
This creamy risotto is super versatile; here are a couple of suggestions in case you need to make some changes based on the product you have readily available.
- Rice - instead of white arborio rice or carnarolli rice, you could use short grain brown rice for additional fiber, but it will take longer to cook.
- Parsley - use fresh sage instead of parsley for a more earthy flavor. Thyme and rosemary are also great options. Another great option if using sage is to briefly fry the sage leaves and add the crispy fried sage on top while serving.
- Leeks - instead of fresh leeks, you could use leftover frozen leeks, or you can use finely chopped yellow onion or spring onions.
- Vegan cheese - we like using our homemade vegan parmesan cheese instead of the regular freshly grated parmesan cheese used on traditional risotto, as it is vegan and it is made with nutritional yeast. You can also use cashew cheese.
- Extra earthy - add sautéed mushrooms to this wonderful recipe.
- Butternut - pumpkin is an alternative to butternut squash, but sweet potato works well too. Both choices will yield this thick and sweet outcome. Add some freshness and thyme to it. This dish has a great flavor that makes for a very different experience. Using acorn or baby butternut squash also yields the same result. Our readers have told us that they have used hubbard squash, and the result was great!
- Roasted butternut squash option - if you have a few extra minutes, you can make this butternut risotto recipe with roasted butternut (see how to roast butternut squash to perfection).
🥢 How to serve
We offer some ideas for what to serve with butternut squash risotto.
We like serving our risottos with a fresh green salad or with side dishes like roasted Brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus, white asparagus, or green beans with toasted almonds.
On another note, this risotto without wine makes an excellent baby food with butternut squash because babies love rice, sweet butternut squash, and fried leeks' mild flavor. All the flavors on this recipe as kid-friendly, and we often make this vegan risotto when we visit family, with babies and toddlers; they devour it.
This baby food butternut squash recipe is also great because the arborio rice is very soft, creamy, and easy to digest.
Leftover risotto can be stored using an airtight container.
Once cool, put in containers and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Bring the risotto to its proper temperature in the microwave or stovetop with some vegetable broth or water to hydrate it.
Substitute for white wine in risotto: I decided to make this risotto without wine because I make risotto at least once a week, and sometimes I don't have it available. So I tried making it without wine and found that there wasn't any detectable difference. We even passed this risotto through our Milanese friends here in Milano, and they wouldn't notice it, even after making the point.
Our substitute simply adds vegetable broth instead of wine when the risotto rice is already lightly toasted. So, simply skip the addition of wine and jump directly into the added broth.
This also makes any risotto kid-friendly.
Wash the part of leeks you will use immediately thoroughly. Then, slice them into moons or half moons with a sharp knife, making circles of about ? inch (¼ cm).
You can store leftover leeks in the refrigerator if you plan to use them within a maximum of 8-10 days; otherwise, consider freezing them. Loosely place the unwashed and untrimmed leeks in a plastic bag, and place it in the fridge's crisper drawer. The idea is to allow some humidity to get in the bag.
If you have already washed and sliced the leeks or not planning on using them soon, you should consider freezing them. Wash them thoroughly, slice or chop them; then place them on a sheet pan until completely frozen and transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible.
This creamy rice Italian dish is traditionally made with Arborio rice, butter, onions, white wine, and Parmesan cheese. However, there are many vegan variations of risotto that can be made using vegetable broth, olive oil (or vegan butter), and different types of vegan cheeses, as we do in all the risotto recipes on this site.
📚 Vegan butternut squash recipes
Try out our roasted butternut squash recipe and our creamy soup made with pumpkin or butternut squash.
We also love making our vegan butternut squash ravioli and vegan butternut squash pasta, a creamy and delicious recipe that resembles the classic mac and cheese.
🍚 More vegan risotto recipes
As risotto lovers, we love trying out all possible risotto combinations; here are a few of our vegetarian recipes for creamy rice: creamy mushrooms risotto, lemon, and asparagus risotto, roasted pumpkin risotto, Risotto alla Milanese, zucchini risotto, and sun-dried tomato risotto.
⭐ If you try this recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Recipe for Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 cup carnarolli rice or arborio rice (7 oz, 210 grams)
- 1 lb butternut squash 454 grams (diced into ¼ inch and ¼ cubes, about 1 cm or 1.5 cm)
- 1 ½ cup leeks thinly sliced, (well cleaned and dried)
- 2 lemon small lemons, zest
- ½ bunch parsley fresh
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 6 cups vegetable broth hot
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter or olive oil
- 5 tablespoons nutritional yeast or homemade vegan parmesan cheese
Prepare the vegetable stock
- Put your vegetable stock to simmer. If using granulated store-bought veggie stock, bring the water to boil and prepare according to packaging instructions. I like adding leek's green tops, but it is not necessary.
Prepare the butternut squash, leeks, and garlic
- Finely chop your leek. Mince the garlic cloves, zest your lemon, and dice the butternut squash into small cubes.
- Make a mixture with chopped parsley, minced garlic, and lemon zest. Leave some lemon zest apart to finish up the dish.
Making the risotto (about 15 minutes)
- Add one tablespoon of vegan butter to a skillet, stir-fry the leeks on medium heat, making sure they don't burn, and then add the parsley, garlic, and lemon zest mixture.
- Add the risotto rice, stir until lightly toasted, then add the vegetable broth (or add ⅓ cup of dry white wine). Stir constantly until completely absorbed.
- Using a spoon, add hot vegetable broth ⅓ cup (80 ml) at a time and the butternut squash dice, stirring almost constantly. Keep on medium heat, and there should always be a slight simmer to prevent it from becoming gummy.
- On minute ten, add nutritional yeast or (homemade vegan parmesan) and the finely chopped parsley, followed by extra broth.
- Once the rice is al dente, turn the heat to the minimum and add the extra lemon zest if wanter. Stir until well combined.
- Taste and adjust flavor, adding a pinch of salt and pepper to taste or vegan parmesan cheese.
- To serve, divide between serving bowls and garnish with lemon zest and vegan parmesan cheese.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking points to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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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Amanda Wren-Grimwood says
Risotto is such a comforting meal and the butternut squash is perfect in this. I love the mix of vegetables and the beautiful colour too.
YUM! Made this risotto for dinner last night and we loved it! So creamy and we loved the sweetness that leeks added to it! With about half a tub of nutritional yeast on top (we are totally obsessed with it) it is one of the best vegan risottos we had in years! Thanks, guys!
Hey Ieva, that's so cool! Thank you very much for your review! It makes us really happy that you were able to enjoy this risotto as well. We are also totally obsessed with nutritional yeast on risottos!
What a perfect Fall risotto! I love all these great flavors.
I tried it and it was a huge hit at my house! Quickly became our favorite side dish!`
This vegetarian risotto was so delicious and I love how it's packed with healthy ingredients! This is perfect for Fall or anytime I'm craving comfort!
I am glad you liked the risotto. Thanks for your review!
Total comfort food and a great way to use butternut squash too.
YUM! I made this for a farm team end of year celebration last night and it was seriously delicious! I made mine with a Hubbard squash I'd been saving and I thought the dish was special. I had some confusion with when to add squash + lemon/parsley from the instructions provided but I found my flow with it and will 100% be making this again. Thank you!
Hi, Caroline; thanks for your comment. I see; I miss adding the butternut squash dice in step 3. I just reviewed it and made it more explicit. Thanks for the feedback, and I am thrilled you loved the recipe! We have added the Hubbard squash substitution as an option! 🙂