Vegan Butternut Risotto
Eating seasonal vegetables gets harder as you progress through the fall and winter seasons. The variety gets a little more sparse, but we do have all these wonderfully starchy vegetables that are just so deliciously versatile. The butternut squash is one of my personal favorites. Everyone loves a good butternut squash soup in the colder month, but who wants to have soup everyday? Squash can be used in many recipes. It’s a shame that we often just stick to the classics. So, to widen my wheelhouse of recipes and culinary skills, I decided that I would try something a little different this time around. This Butternut Squash Risotto was creamy, filling, and full of yummy flavor. My only regret is that I didn’t make a larger batch. However, I only used up 2 cups of the squash purée, yet the full squash produced at least 5 ½ cups. Let’s just say there was lots leftover. So, feel free to double up on that. And since it is a time-consuming recipe, you’ll want to enjoy it for few more days anyway. Even if you scale up the recipe, you’ll still have a good portion leftover, for a butternut linguini (recipe is coming up).
This was my first time making risotto and discovered a lot of things about this process. Risotto, to my surprise, is the process of cooking the rice in the broth and white wine and not a recipe itself. There are many variations on the recipes, but most of these include cream, cheese, and butter as main ingredients. Since we are doing it vegan style, I replaced all of that with their vegan versions. However, you don’t need to add the cheese to the recipe if you don’t have. The rice’s starch, the butternut squash, the coconut cream, and nutritional yeast all add enough creamy cheesiness to the dish that it is not necessary. Myself, I didn’t have any on hand, so it still has a lot of taste without it. Also, the Italians make risotto with white wine. If you would like to try this with white wine, add 2 cups to the rice before the broth and wait until all the liquid is absorbed. Then continue the recipe as indicated.
Of course, this butternut squash risotto always taste best immediately after cooking, but you can still keep it for several days. However, you’ll probably have to add water to it since the rice acts like a sponge and absorbs most of the liquid. I hope you enjoy this! Bon appétit!
Vegan Butternut Risotto
- 1 Medium-sized butternut squash cut lengthwise
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
- 2 tbsp Vegan butter
- 8 Fresh sage leaves
- 4 Garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 Medium sized onion finely chopped
- 2 cups Short-grain brown rice preferably arborio rice
- 6 cups Vegetable broth boiled
- 1 pinch Saffron
- ½ cup Coconut milk
- ¼ tsp Ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast
- salt & pepper to taste
- 2 cups quality melting vegan cheese grated
- Vegan bacon See recipe link below
- Pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Cut the butternut squash in half, remove the seed and brush with olive oil, then place face down on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes until the squash starts to cave in or you can easily pass a fork through it. Set aside and let cool.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium-high heat. Add the sage and fry until crispy (about 5 minutes). Remove sage from pan then add onions and garlic to the sage flavored butter. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until translucent.
- Add the rice, letting it toast for about a minute, then slowly add the heated broth with saffron, a 1/2 cup at a time, frequently stirring until the liquid is completely absorbed before adding more broth. This will take about 45 minutes to an hour. Add more broth as needed.
- While your rice is cooking, when your squash has cooled enough to touch, peel and cut into cubes and add coconut milk to blender. Blend till smooth. A high-powered blender would work well here. If you have a smaller blender, then you might need to do it in multiple batches. Never fill your blender more than ½ full, or you'll risk having a big mess.
- When the risotto is almost done and rice no longer has crunch, add in 2 cups of the squash purée, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, cheese (if using), salt, and pepper. Garnish with sage vegan bacon bits, pine nuts, and freshly milled pepper.