Try This Comforting Butternut Squash And Miso Risotto

The addition of homemade sage pesto and vegan parmesan elevates this tasty dish


3 Minutes Read

A bowl of vegan butternut squash risotto topped with roasted butternut squash cubes This dish is rich in umami flavors thanks to the use of miso - Media Credit: Plant Baes

Risotto is one of those meals you either love or hate, but we are certain everyone will love this vegan butternut squash and miso risotto.

It has all the wonderful creaminess of a good risotto but with the lovely umami flavors of miso and nutritional yeast, and the added texture of crispy roasted butternut squash. The addition of homemade sage pesto makes this a risotto like no other!

This butternut squash risotto recipe requires a little love and attention but it is worth that extra work. Overall, this recipe should take you 1 hour and 30 minutes to prepare and cook, making it the perfect weekend dinner.

What is usually in a risotto?

Risotto is an Italian dish that is traditionally made with a special type of short-grain rice called Arborio. Other common ingredients include butter, onion, white wine, chicken or vegetable broth, and grated Parmesan cheese. The dish is often flavored with various herbs, vegetables, and proteins such as mushrooms, asparagus, shrimp, and chicken.

Not much of that is vegan-friendly. But that doesn’t mean vegans can’t eat risotto!

Is risotto vegan-friendly?

Traditional risotto contains a lot of animal-based ingredients, like butter and cheese, as well as seafood and meat. However, it is really easy to veganise risotto.

Instead of using butter, you can use a vegan butter alternative, or simply olive oil. We like to cook risotto in vegetable or mushroom stock and top it with vegetables and plant-based meat alternatives.

In this vegan risotto recipe, Sarah Cobacho of Plant Baes uses cubed and roasted butternut squash to add texture to this dish, and she makes the sauce with a base of miso which adds a lovely umami flavor. She then tops it with a homemade vegan parmesan, but you can use a store-bought vegan cheese instead.

What rice do you use in a risotto?

Arborio rice is the most commonly used rice in risotto because it has a high starch content which helps to give risotto its creamy texture.

You can try out using other types of rice and grains, such as barley and farro, both of which will add a slightly different texture and flavor profile to the risotto. However, it’s important to note that you may need to adjust the cooking time and liquid ratios when using different types of rice or grains.

Recipe variations

Whether you don’t have all the ingredients needed to create this recipe, or you want to experiment with the flavors and textures, there are some easy variations you can try:

  • Make it quicker: Use a prebought vegan parmesan and pesto if you don’t have time to make them from scratch
  • Substitute the butternut squash: If you don’t have any butternut squash, try using sweet potato or another root vegetable
  • Experiment with the flavor combinations: Use this recipe as a base for your favorite flavors, we recommend trying earthy mushrooms and truffle

Vegan butternut squash risotto recipe

A comforting butternut squash risotto, perfect for a fall or winter night. Paired with sage and vegan parmesan for a cheesy finish. Easy to prepare and gluten-free.
A bowl of vegan butternut squash risotto topped with roasted butternut squash cubes
5 from 1 vote
Duration1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Prep Time30 mins
Servings2 people


Main Ingredients
  • 3 cups butternut squash diced into 2cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil EVOO (divided)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • 4 cups vegetable stock warm and preferably sodium-reduced (divided)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 2 leeks finely chopped (white and light green parts only )
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 2 tbsp vegan parmesan
Walnut Sage Pesto
  • ½ cup walnut
  • ¼ cup sage
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan
Vegan Parmesan
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Toss the diced squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and a dash of salt. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Cut 1 cm from the top of the garlic to expose the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, and bake in the oven for 35 minutes. Allow to cool, then squeeze the garlic out of the skin.
  • Divide the cooked squash into two portions. Blend one portion with the roasted garlic, miso paste, and 1.5 cups of stock.
  • On medium heat, add 1.5 tbsp of olive oil to a pan. Add the leeks and cook for 5 minutes until golden. Stir in the rice and sage.
  • Once the rice is translucent (about 3 minutes), reduce to low heat and add in the blended pumpkin. Gradually add the rest of the vegetable stock ¼ cup at a time, stirring continuously. Monitor the pot closely to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom.
  • While the risotto is cooking, prepare the Vegan Parmesan by blending cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt, until you reach a fine powder consistency.
  • For the pesto, blend the walnut, sage, parsley, olive oil, and 2 tbsp of the Vegan Parmesan.
  • Once all the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, taste it to ensure it’s cooked and al dente. Stir in 2 tbps of Vegan Parmesan.
  • Plate the risotto, top with the remaining roasted pumpkin, and the walnut sage pesto. Enjoy!

This recipe was created by Sarah Cobacho of Plant Baes. You can find the original recipe here.

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