Who is ready for the ultimate vegan comfort food?! If you answered yes, let me introduce you to the creamiest Vegan Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprout Risotto. This risotto combines roasted butternut squash, roasted brussels sprouts, and creamy arborio rice for a healthy & delicious dinner recipe with NO dairy required!
Alright, I have to admit, when I first started down the path to make vegan risotto I was a bit skeptical. I was always a HUGE fan of parmesan-filled risottos growing up (okay I still am), but I didn't believe you could make creamy risotto without any dairy, butter, or cheese. I was proven wrong the last time I made a rice-based dish- my creamy Vegan Wild Rice Mushroom Soup- but could I do it again?!
Well, not only did I prove myself wrong, but this roasted butternut squash risotto contains no dairy AND it doesn't even need coconut milk or plant-based milk to be creamy. Thanks to the magic of arborio rice and the slow cooking method used in risotto, this vegan butternut squash risotto is thick, flavorful, and SO rich!
Steps & Tips to make vegan risotto
I am SO excited to walk you through the steps and some key tips & tricks to make a creamy vegan risotto. Risotto is one of my ultimate winter comfort foods and the way you make risotto is just as important as what you add to the dish!
First roast the butternut squash & brussels sprouts
This step is pretty simple. Cut up the butternut squash into bite-sized cubes and slice the brussel sprouts in halves or fourths (depending on size) and preheat the oven to 375F. If you're unsure how to cut butternut squash, here is a great guide.
Then, add the chopped vegetables to a sheet pan with the avocado oil, dried sage, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and toss until evenly coated. After that just add to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until browned and beginning to caramelize.
P.S If you have any leftover brussels sprouts, save them to use in my Miso Glazed Brussel Sprouts or Vegan Stuffing next, or use leftover butternut squash to make my Vegan Gnocchi with Butternut Squash Sauce next!
Sauté the garlic & onion
While the veggies are roasting, you'll make the rest of the risotto. That's why I love roasting the veggies here- it ultimately saves some time!
First, add the vegan butter to a large saucepan and melt it (I used my favorite Lodge Sage Green Dutch Oven for this recipe- it's the best!). Once the butter has melted, add in the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until translucent. This step brings a ton of flavor to the dish, so definitely don't skip it!
Add in the arborio rice & lightly "toast"
Next, we add in the arborio rice and lightly toast it.
Why do we toast risotto rice?
The reason we toast the rice is that it helps to create a harder shell around the grain allowing it to cook slowly without turning into a soggy mush. It also helps to make sure the rice actually stays chewy. Seriously, DO NOT skip this step if you want your risotto to be the right texture.
Cook with the wine, broth, and spices- adding gradually!
The REAL trick to a good creamy risotto is actually to add in the wine first then to add the broth very gradually.
Once the rice is toasted, add in the wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then, add about ½ of the broth (2 cups) and all of the spices. Cook the risotto over low heat (a simmer) until the rice soaks up all the liquid and is beginning to look dry.
Then, add in another ½ cup of vegetable broth and repeat until the rice is cooked through and you have used anywhere between 3 ½-4 cups of broth total.
Do I really need to stir risotto frequently?
Yes, It's really important to stir CONSTANTLY during this process as well so the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
How do I know my risotto is done cooking?
This recipe calls for 3 ½-4 cups of vegetable broth and the entire cooking time of the risotto takes about 20-25 minutes. You will know the risotto is done when the rice is firm, yet chewy, and not crunchy at all.
What should the texture of risotto be?
Risotto should be thick, but not too thick that it resembles sticky rice. It should still spread slightly when you serve it but hold together and not be as thin as a soup. See the picture above for reference!
You can even add a bit more vegetable broth than I did for a slightly runnier risotto that will still be perfect. Here's a great article from The Kitchn on 3 signs your risotto is done with pictures that are super helpful!
Mix in the nutritional yeast, butternut squash, & brussels
Once the vegan risotto is firm and chewy it's time to add in the nutritional yeast (optional but adds a "cheesy" flavor), roasted butternut squash, and roasted brussels sprouts. Add in these three ingredients and stir everything together over low heat for about 1 minute. Then, remove from the heat and serve immediately!
FAQ & Substitutions:
I haven't tried it, but I would guess subbing it 1:1 for more veggie broth works. I will say, the white wine adds a really unique flavor and acidity to this dish, so I personally wouldn't make it without it. If you really don't want to add wine, a little lemon juice might add some flavor to the dish.
You can, but I don't recommend it! The oil helps the butternut squash and brussels sprouts to caramelize when roasting and the vegan butter adds flavor to the dish while also helping to cook the shallots and garlic. Overall I tried to use minimal oil in this recipe already while still giving this dish lots of flavor!
Yes! This is a gluten-free dairy-free risotto.
No!! In fact, unlike my Vegan Fried Rice where rinsing the rice is crucial, we do not want to wash the rice for risotto. Washing rice removes some of the starch and the starch is essentially what thickens this risotto. So, we need all of it!
Leftovers can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Just reheat on the stove or in a microwave-safe dish until warmed throughout to eat leftovers. Keep in mind, leftovers will be even thicker than the day you eat the risotto when it may be a bit smoother.
I truly hope you all love this Vegan Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts Risotto as much as I do! It's full of flavor without any dairy or coconut milk and it makes a great weeknight dinner. Enjoy!
More healthy gluten-free & vegan dinner recipes you will love:
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Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto with Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Butternut Squash & Brussels Sprouts
- 3 cups chopped butternut squash 1-inch squares
- 1 ½ cups chopped brussels sprouts sliced into bite size pieces in half or quarters depending on size of Brussels
- 1 ½ Tablespoons oil I used avocado oil, but any high heat oil works
- ½-1 teaspoon salt add more or less depending on preference
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried sage can be subbed for ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter can be subbed 1:1 with any oil or regular butter
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ arborio rice do NOT rinse
- ½ cup white wine
- 3 ½- 4 cups vegetable broth I used a salted vegetable broth so I did not have to add much additional salt to the dish
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning can be subbed 1:1 with any dried herb
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- salt & pepper to taste
Roast the Vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 375 and chop the butternut squash and brussels sprouts into bite sized pieces. Then, add to an aluminum baking tray with the oil, salt, black pepper, dried sage, and garlic powder. Use your hands or a large spoon to mix together until the vegetables are evenly coated with the oil and spices. Make sure to spread the vegetables out so they are not layered on top of one another for the best results.
- Add the tray to the oven and roast for 30-35 minutes until the vegetables are beginning to brown and caramelize. Then, remove the tray from the oven and set aside.
Make the Risotto:
- While the vegetables are roasting, make the risotto.
- First add the vegan butter to a large pot or saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add in the chopped shallot and minced garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened and translucent, stirring consistently.
- Next add in the arborio rice and stir it so the grains are coated with the butter. Then sauté about 1 minute to lightly "toast" the rice.
- Once the rice has been toasted, turn down the heat to low, add in the white wine, stir, and simmer together for 2-3 minutes. Then, add in 1.5 cups of the vegetable broth and the Italian seasoning. Simmer over low heat, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice appears almost dry.
- When the rice looks dry, add in another ½ cup of broth, stir, and continue cooking until absorbed. Continue this process adding ½ cup of broth at a time using a total of 3 ½-4 cups vegetable broth until the rice is firm, chewy, and no longer crunchy. Make sure to stir the risotto frequently so it does not stick to the bottom of the pan. This process should take about 20-25 minutes.
- Once all the liquid has been absorbed and the risotto is chewy & al dente, add in the nutritional yeast and stir. Then, add in the roasted butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and stir until evenly mixed into the rice. I like to set aside a few pieces of roasted vegetables to top my risotto, but this is optional and just for presentation purposes.
- At this point add in additional salt and pepper to season the dish to your liking if needed. Then, remove the risotto from the heat and serve immediately. While this recipe doesn't call for any vegan cheese, feel free to add some for an extra creamy dish. Enjoy!
- If you do not have brussel sprouts or do not like them, just sub for 1 cup extra butternut squash instead
- This recipe will only work with an Italian short-grain rice such as arborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo as they contain more starch and do not absorb as much liquid as other rice varieties
- Leftovers can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- Here's a great article from The Kitchn on 3 signs your risotto is done with pictures that are super helpful!
- I used my favorite Lodge Sage Green Dutch Oven for this recipe