Butternut Squash Risotto


Risotto isn’t something we have too often as I always presumed it was really labour intensive. I’m not going to lie, it’s not something you can leave on the hob or in the oven, and have a relaxing bath whilst it cooks away. It is, however, pretty speedy so is an ideal midweek dinner, and you can quite easily stir one handed and placate a hungry toddler at the same time. Hang on!! Did I say that letting something bubble away on the hob and taking a relaxing bath was an option? Scrap that, every parent knows a meal that doesn’t require constant attention just gives you time to tidy up Duplo, toy food and jigsaw puzzles for the umpteenth time that afternoon!  Anyway, this risotto recipe is rather yummy, pretty flexible for alterations and additions, and isn’t too complicated. Hope you enjoy!

1 butternut squash

Olive oil

1 litre hot vegetable stock, very low salt kallo stock cubes (you could also use chicken stock) 

1 tsp thyme

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1 carrot, cubed

280g risotto rice, I use arborio rice

1 tsp dairy free spread, I use Pure Sunflower 


1. Peel the whole of the butternut squash and cube the slender end. Place the cubes into the hot stock to poach over a low heat with the thyme. Deseed the bulbous end of the squash and cut into chunks. You can save the seeds and toast them, see the end of the recipe for how). Drizzle with olive oil and pop into a preheated oven at 200 degrees to roast. 

2. In a large saucepan cook the onion, garlic and carrot in a splash of oil, over a medium heat until soft. Add the rice to the pan, stirring and coating in the oil. Cook for a couple of minutes. 

3. Add a ladle of stock (leaving the squash in the pan) to the risotto rice pan. Gentle stir through. Once the stock has been absorbed add another ladle of stock. Stirring the rice constantly and gently. Continue to add the stock one ladle at a time until all the stock has been added. The squash should be nice and softly poached, mash until smooth and fold through the risotto. Remove from the heat. Stir in the dairy free spread (or butter if not DF) and pop a lid onto the saucepan to allow the risotto to rest for five minutes. 

4. Remove the roasted butternut squash from the oven. Serve on top of the risotto and sprinkle with roasted butternut squash seeds. I also served it with roasted plum tomatoes but you could add shavings of Parmesan (check out the Violife Parmesan for a vegan option). 

Roasted seeds-

Thoroughly clean the seeds making sure the squash flesh is all removed. Pat dry with kitchen towels until the seeds are completely dry. Toss through seasoned olive oil (paprika works well!) and spread out on a lined baking tray. Cook gently in the oven until you hear popping (about 5-10 minutes)!! Keep your eye on them as they catch easily. It’s worth doing as they’re delicious! 

Important bits

Dairy, egg, nut and soya free. Vegan. 

Makes 4 servings

Total make time less than an hour

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