Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

 I am obsessed with squash at the moment, like really really obsessed. I’ve started eating it at almost every meal. I guess when I start eating it for breakfast I’ll know I’ve gone a little too far, but at the moment I’m loving it and this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. It’s such an amazing autumnal dish, so perfectly warming and comforting for the cold weather. Risotto, on the other hand, is something I’ve been missing a lot. I used to eat it all the time, it was my go-to cold weather dish but sadly the normal white rice just does not do good things for me, or for that matter, anyone else. This brown rice version, however, is just divine. The ultimate replacement! It’s so healthy and filled with tons of fibre, which means it keeps you happily full for hours. The flavours and textures are actually perfect. I love how the bite sized cubes of cumin and paprika roasted squash melt against the creamy risotto in each mouthful. The spices really serve to give the dish such a beautifully deep, rich flavour, while the addition of apple cider vinegar and a little lemon ensure a tanginess that intensifies all the existing aromas. Despite not having any cheese or cream this dish is still so incredibly creamy, thanks to the combination of blended squash with tahini and nutritional yeast, which are two of my favourite ingredients. I’m pretty new to nutritional yeast, but it’s amazing. It gives such an incredible flavour to dishes which are missing their traditional cheesiness. I know it sounds weird but it really does recreate that distinctive flavour. Even better, it is so good for you as it is a complete protein, which is particularly rich in the B vitamins. Don’t worry though, it’s not like adding normal yeast to your food – it’s from a totally different strain and is deactivated so it won’t turn your body into a candida feeding ground! If you feel like spicing the dish up a little, and making it even more nutritious you can always add some more veggies. I normally go for mushrooms, as they give a delicious meaty feel to it and really complement the existing deliciousness.

Serves 4:

– 2 large butternut squash (2kg)

– 3/4 of a cup of brown rice (200g)

– 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast

– 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

– a handful of fresh coriander

– 1 tablespoon of tahini

– 2 teaspoons of paprika

– 1 teaspoon of cumin

– 1 lemon

– olive oil

– salt & pepper to taste

Start by cooking the rice, this will take about forty five minutes. Once you put the rice in the pot with the boiling water add the salt, a drizzling of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkling of dried herbs to add some flavour. You’ll need to continue stirring the rice and adding more boiling water occasionally as it cooks, just make sure the rice never runs out of water until it is cooked.

While the rice cooks chop the squash into bite-sized squares, cutting off the skin as you go. Then places the squares onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake this at 190C for about 15 minutes, until the cubes are perfectly soft and delicious. Roasting the squash really brings out the flavour, making it much more delicious than it it was steamed.

Then put three quarters of the squash into a blender of food processor with about a quarter of a cup of water plus the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, tahini, salt and lemon. Blend until a smooth creamy consistency forms.

Once the rice is about 5 minutes away from being cooked, and there is very little to no water left, stir in the creamy squash mix. Then add the remaining pieces of squash and a handful of finely chopped coriander. Then enjoy!


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  • S

    What size squash are you using? How many pounds?

    • Ella Woodward

      I wish I could be more specific on the pounds of the squash but I’m afraid I never measure them precisely – I just pick a medium sized one, very standard. I’ll measure them next time though and let you know. I hope that helps! :)

      • alloneorallnone

        Love the idea of these flavors, but the apple cider vinegar overpowered. I’ll do some tweaking and let you know how I fared!

        • Ella Woodward

          Thanks for letting me know. I’ll have a look into tweaking too! :)

          • lyn

            Just made the squash risotto have to agree apple cider vinegar too much added more black pepper and sun dried tomatoes (homemade out of my veggies garden) and awesome. I am gluten intolerant and my 34 yr old daughter has just been diagnosed with MS . God bless your web site lyn

          • ellawoodward

            I’m so sorry to hear that, can I ask exactly what size your spoons are because I’ve made this a few times and given it to lots of people and I can barely taste the apple cider so wondering if you’re using much larger spoons? So glad that you’re enjoying my blog!

  • Steve

    The recipe will take some tweaking. I like the idea, but the apple cider vinegar overpowers.

  • Katrin –

    Looks so good! Perfect fall dish indeed. Beautiful colours too!

    • ellawoodward

      Thank you so much! :)

  • Alison

    Incredible! Just had this for supper and truly delicious! Added a few chilli flakes which seems to work and the fresh coriander just sets the whole thing off to perfection – thank you Ella! photo to follow xx

  • Holly

    This is fabulous!

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  • Stefanie JUNG

    Im in the kitchen making this right now! I just have one question, im not quite sure I understand correctly. Do you put 1 squash into the blender and the other one in the oven? Im a bit confused….

    • ellawoodward

      You put both in the oven, and then once cooked one goes in the blender and the other stays as small pieces :)

  • Sarah

    Hi Ella,
    I made this last night for a friend of mine who just started a gluten free diet and another friend who said he didn’t like risotto and the both loved it!! I didn’t actually read all the comments but I was running out of apple cider vinegar so I probably only put in about half a tablespoon in the rice and half in the mixture and with the lemon made it just right amount of tangy. I also added some toasted pine nuts which really added to the taste and texture will definitely do that again. This was so easy and such yummy dish even for a dinner party.
    I just love your blog and all your recipes. xx

  • Liz

    Hi Ella,

    This recipe sounds delicious, but I’m supposed to steer clear of yeast. Is there anything I can substitute for it?

    Thanks, Liz

    • ellawoodward

      You can just leave it out, it will still be delicious!

  • Hannah

    Hi Ella, so happy to have found your blog! Such an inspiring story, and me and my housemate are now obsessed – currently both in the kitchen making something from the blog! I’m making this risotto today, and the squash is currently in the oven. Its been in for about 20 minutes and still not that soft, I’d say another 20 mins before they are done. My chunks look about the same size as yours, so I’m just wondering what I’ve done wrong? Oven is on the right temperature..

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Hannah, it may just be different ovens cooking it differently – as long as it tastes good I wouldn’t worry!

  • Lou Bailey

    You should definitely try butternut for breakfast. I love it with cinnamon – its divine. Or add some greek yogurt and honey too …mmmmm Pumpkin is great too. I bet it would mix well with oat bake too!
    I’d love you to come up with a recipe…. 😉

  • Anja

    Another beautifully presented, delicious looking recipe Ella – thank you! It’s gone onto my list of recipes to try. You’re so incredibly creative! What sort of dried herbs do you usually add when cooking the rice? I also wanted to ask, I’m in Australia and our tablespoons (metric) are 20ml as oppose to those used in the US (imperial) which are only 15ml. I’m pretty sure the UK also uses the metric system but thought it would be worth checking just to make sure.

  • Fern

    Hey Ella,

    I just made your Butternut Squash Risotto for the first time and it was delicious. I’ve found your story and recipes to be inspiring. One question, your recipe states it serve 2 people however, I’m sure I had enough for 4 or 5.. I followed the ingredients precisely.. are the portions supposed to be large?


    • ellawoodward

      I’m glad you like it. I don’t think my portions are particularly big but you can always half the quantities if you like!
      Ella x

  • Kate

    Hi Ella,

    I have just made this and it is delicious. Well, I actually said YUM! When I had the first mouthful. I substituted tahini for homemade almond butter as I have no tahini and it was great. I
    The coriander is the perfect foil to the sweet creamy taste.


  • Lauren

    Hi Ella,

    This is delicious! How long does it normally last in the fridge? I made mine last week and wasn’t sure if it is still good to eat.


  • caoimhe

    This is so yummy. One of the nicest meals I’ve ever eaten, and so easy to make! I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.x

  • Jess

    Hi Ella, I love your website and recipes :) I was wondering what brand of nutritional yeast you use?

  • ellawoodward

    I’m not actually too sure as I’m away from home at the moment but I just buy it from my local whole food store.

  • Jasmine Stephanie

    Is the nutritional yeast just for flavour in this recipe? I was wondering if it would still work if I took it out.

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Jasmine, yes the nutritional yeast adds extra flavour but it will still work if you omit it :) ella x

    • Jasmine Stephanie

      Thanks Ella (:

      I have a few questions. I’ve been having problems with low blood pressure, dizziness and confusion when I lie down for the past 3 months. I get super dizzy and exhausted then I have to take a nap and my blood pressure goes super low. If I get up when I feel like this I pass out or become extremely confused. I’m in the process of seeing dr’s and trying to get a diagnosis. I thought it may be POTS but it could also be something else. Did you experience low blood pressure from POTS? If you did I’m wondering do you make electrolytes drinks or have any strategies to deal with these kinds of symptoms?

      And also super random… do you eat honey? And why not if you don’t. I’ve been attempting to eat Vegan 5 days out of the week to see if I notice a difference in health. I already had a really healthy diet (no sugar, dairy, wheat) so I thought I might experiment with being cutting meat and eggs out. Do you see any reason to cut honey out while doing this?

      – Jasmine

  • Taylor Konigseder

    Hi Ella,

    Do you use 3/4 cup of uncooked brown rice? Or is that measurement the amount of cooked rice that goes in to the recipe?


  • Kathy Gower

    This looks divine and I have been meaning to make it for a few weeks now. I am having to improvise as I don’t have Tahini, but have Toasted Sesame seeds. I am also unsure of the quantity of water? However, I am sure it’ll work out just fine.

  • Lisa Stevens

    Just made this, absolutely delicious, roasted up the squash seeds in salt and pepper and sprinkled on top for added crunch, just found a new family favourite, thanks Ella x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Jasmine,
    Sorry to hear your experiencing those kind of symptoms, it can be a really horrible time and yes, I experienced low blood pressure with my illness, and a lot of dizziness and being out of breath. To answer your honey question, yes I definitely it :) honey has many antibacterial and antiseptic properties as well as being a great natural source of sweetness.
    I really hope you start to feel better soon, and get a diagnosis for what’s going on. Take care, Ella x

  • ellawoodward

    Sounds yum! So glad you’re loving it Lisa :) Ella x

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Taylor,
    It’s 3/4 of a cup of uncooked brown rice that goes in to be cooked in the risotto! Hope that’s clearer :) and have a lovely day, Ella x

  • Michelle

    Ella, this totally inspired me to start using all the seasonal squash and pumpkins available and I have made this a few times as well as adding squash to lots of other meals. thank you so much!

    • ellawoodward

      So glad it’s inspiring! Ella :) x

  • Frances

    Ella, how much water should I be using?

  • ellawoodward

    The amount directed on the rice :)

  • Kitty H

    Hello, just wanted to say that I found a great use for the leftover risotto… My attempt turned out rather stodgy and by the next day was completely solid, so I rolled it into balls and fried them in coconut oil – like arancini or felafel style! – and served these with spinach and baked aubergine (following you Warm Winter Salad recipe). An amazing supper! Thanks.

  • Emily Meath

    made this last night for vday – quite yum! although with our 2 large butternut squash it made WAY more of the puree than needed for the rice. I’m going to thin it with some veg broth and try making it into a squash soup. will let you know how it turns out. thanks for the recipe!

  • Felicia Gullstrand

    Just made this with sweet potato instead of butternut and it was great.Really fun and delicious recipe. It’s a bit “too much” but next time I´ll make some fresh salad to serve with it :) x

  • Sharon Sutcliffe

    Is it just the juice of the lemon, or the whole thing blitzed?

  • ellawoodward

    The juice of the lemon. Hope you love the risotto! Ella x

    • Sharon Sutcliffe

      Ah, thanks for clarifying. It was delicious! ☺️

  • Rebecca

    Hi Ella, by not adding nutritional yeast will it ruin the flavour?

    Love the blog!
    Thanks, Rebecca

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Rebecca, the nutritional yeast adds a great cheesy flavour to the risotto. Sadly there isn’t a good enough substitute for it. Have a lovely day x

    • Ann Devlin

      Hi Rebecca, I made it workout the nutritional yeast and it was still delicious. May not have had the ‘cheesy’ flavour as Ella describes but it was still a winner. Ann

  • Lesley

    Hi, is there anything you can use in place of nutritional yeast? X

    • ellawoodward

      HI Lesley, I’m so sorry but there isn’t a good enough substitute for nutritional yeast for this recipe. Hope you love it! X

  • ellawoodward

    Oops! It serves 4 x

  • ellawoodward

    I haven’t tried but I think it would work fine.

  • ellawoodward

    Hi Katie, I like using short grain brown rice for this recipe. Hope you enjoy it! X

  • Carly De La Salle

    Could you tell me where I can buy nutritional yeast from please?

    • ellawoodward

      Hi Carly, you can buy it in most health food stores or online at Amazon x

  • ellawoodward

    I haven’t tried this with quinoa before. I don’t think the consistency will be the same but I imagine it would still taste good! X

  • Laura Kelly

    This is amazing dish, such a comfort food.

  • Nicola

    Ella, what is nutritional yeast? I have searched Holland and Barret but I cannot find it. Nicola

    • ellawoodward

      You can buy it online from Amazon x

  • ellawoodward

    I am so happy to hear this, thanks so much for your lovely message. This risotto is one of my favourites too :) Really hope you continue to enjoy each recipe you make! X

  • Victoria

    Oh my god Ella, I tried this recipe for the first time last night for my dad and
    we both loved it SO much, seriously MIND-BLOWING!!! Thank you so much for sharing!
    Keep up the good work, you’re doing so well, it’s inspiring :-)
    I send you all my love from Brussels, Victoria

    • ellawoodward

      That’s awesome, so happy you both loved it x

  • Rachel Maude

    Made this last night, just beautiful! I served with a few asparagus spears on top with the stalk chopped up and stirred in the risotto itself. My boyfriend who is not a fan of risotto generally said it was the “best he had ever had”. Keep up the amazing work, going Vegan has been so much easier with your book and blog :-)

  • ellawoodward

    You could use sunflower seeds as a cheaper alternative x

  • ellawoodward

    So sorry no I haven’t. Hope you enjoy the recipe x

  • ellawoodward

    This should keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days, I imagine this would free well too! X

  • ellawoodward

    I would try adding more tahini to help balance it out. You may need a little more rice too to help soak it up. Hope it turns out delicious x

  • ellawoodward

    I tend to use them both interchangeably, it shouldn’t really affect the recipe x