Plant-based Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto – Jewish Food Hero Kitchen

Woman holding white pan with rice and orange butternut squash and red pomergranate seeds

This creamy butternut squash risotto recipe from the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen is sure to please.  I created the recipe with the idea that it would be a perfect dish to break the Yom Kippur fast. This is true, and it is also true that this dish can be served anytime of year. Our risotto recipe includes butternut squash, vegetables, and a slight sweetness from the white wine and apricots.

Traditional Risotto Recipes

A staple in Italian cuisine, risotto is a simple dish that centers around rice cooked in vegetable stock until it turns creamy and luscious. Traditionally, most risotto recipes are finished with large amounts of butter and heavy parmesan cheese.

Dairy-Free Can Be Just as Delicious

While butter and parmesan cheese are the usual suspects in a traditional risotto, you can still achieve a similar, if not identical creamy and velvety texture, by perfectly cooking the rice and finishing it with a little extra stock. If you find yourself missing that signature parmesan taste, stir in a little nutritional yeast into your risotto – it is a healthy vegan condiment that’s rich in vitamin B12 and gives a cheesy flavor.
Like most dairy products, butter and parmesan are very high in dietary cholesterol and saturated fat – two substances that are responsible for increasing your bad LDL cholesterol levels and clogging your arteries. Here is an article further explaining why you should ditch the dairy and stick to a plant-based diet.

About This Healthier Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

This butternut squash risotto recipe is creamy and delicious. It is oil-free, dairy-free, and meat-free. Replacing those fattening ingredients are hearty vegetables and sweet dried apricots. 

You can garnish the risotto with sugar snap peas and pomegranate seeds. The bright-green sugar snap peas provide some crunch and a contrasting color to the orange butternut squash and apricots. The jewel-like pomegranate arils add a refreshing note to the creamy risotto.

While the technique of constant stirring and slowly adding water to the rice might seem intimidating at the start, once you try out this method you’ll see just how easy it is to make delicious homemade risotto. However, I also love making risotto in a pressure cooker like an instant potHere is a video on how to make risotto in a pressure cooker.  If you want to use a more traditional pressure cooker like this that works well also.  If you are not familiar with using a traditional pressure cooker, watch this video first to get the lay of the pressure cooker land and then watch this quick video on how to make risotto in a pressure cooker.

This recipe is for 8 or more people, so cut the recipe in half if you are making for less people.

About the Ingredients in This Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

Arborio rice: Arborio rice is a starchy rice variety traditionally used in risotto. It is high in plant-protein, iron, and vitamins A and C. Thanks to its high content of simple starches, it is an easily digestible food.

Butternut squash: Butternut squash is a sweet winter squash with a delicate orange flesh and a mild taste. Thanks to its high beta-carotene content, it has a ton of antioxidant properties and is beneficial for your skin and eyes. It is low in calories and high in fiber – a perfect food for keeping your weight in check.
Pomegranate seeds: The beautiful pomegranate seeds are like nature’s jewelry! One serving of these little sweet and sour seeds will give you half of the recommended daily Vitamin C intake.  If you can’t access fresh pomegranate seeds, these freeze dried organic pomegranate seeds can be used as garnish to add color and crunch to your dish.

Butternut Squash Risotto Tips

  • Boost the butternut flavor: add a cup of canned unsweetened butternut squash puree to the risotto at the end of cooking
  • Add more protein: stir a couple cups of frozen green peas to the risotto right at the end
  • Add more freshness: add fresh herbs like chopped mint of parsley to give the risotto a floral flavor
  • Make it creamier: reduce the broth to 10 cups and add a can of lite coconut milk at the end of cooking

Other recipes that you might enjoy:

Healthy Noodle Kugel

Vegan Potato and Spinach Patties

Twice Baked Sweet Potato Tzimmes

If you like this recipe, you’ll love the Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Your Holiday Meals

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Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Author: Jewish Food Hero Kitchen


Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 8



12 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 

2 tablespoons water 

2 medium onions, diced

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced

4 cups raw Arborio rice (do not rinse)

2 cups white cooking wine



  1. Place the vegetable broth in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat.

  2. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of water and add the onion. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and soft.

  3. Add squash and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. 

  4. Add the rice and gently toast the rice for 3-4 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir constantly until the wine has been absorbed. 

  5. Using a soup ladle, add 1 cup of the hot vegetable broth and stir with a wooden spoon until it has been absorbed, stirring constantly.

  6. Repeat with the remaining broth, adding 1 cup at a time, until all of the broth has been absorbed and the rice is tender with a creamy consistency. This should take about 30 minutes total. Feel free to add a little more broth if you like your risotto extra creamy.

  7. In the meantime, steam the sugar snap peas until they are bright green, and then immediately remove from heat, place in a medium bowl, and set aside.

  8. Serve the risotto warm, garnished with the steamed sugar snap peas, pomegranate seeds, and thinly sliced dried apricots, in a large serving bowl or in individual bowls. Enjoy!



1–3 dried apricots, thinly sliced 

1 cup pomegranate seeds  

2 cups sugar snap peas


2 small bowls for garnishes

Medium saucepan

Large saucepan

Soup ladle

Wooden spoon

Medium pot and steamer basket

Medium bowl

Large serving bowl

Individual bowls for serving

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