January 4, 2021

by Alyssa Rimmer

Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto

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This vegan butternut squash quinoa risotto is creamy, flavorful and the perfect comfort food. Whether you're looking for a simple meatless meal or want something healthy to serve as a vegan side, this quinoa risotto is just the thing.

When it comes to using quinoa, one of the things I love most is its versatility. And I feel like we've pretty much run the gamut for ways to make classic foods healthier. Like our quinoa pizza crust, our quinoa fried rice, and even recipes like chili. There's really no end to its possibilities!

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And now we've got this. A creamy, dreamy, cozy, “risotto”-style quinoa recipe that is going to knock your socks off. It’s rich, with earthy flavors from roasted butternut squash, it has a delicate, soft texture and couldn’t be easier to make.

A Better-For-You Butternut Rissotto

Traditionally, risotto is a not so healthy, dairy-filled, leaves-you-feeling-not-so-great type dish that takes forever to make. Yes, it’s sinfully delicious, but the fact that you have to pay so close attention to it, and it could make you cause you some major pain, gives me more than enough reasons to steer clear. Or at least find an easier, healthier way to prepare it.

Which is exactly why quinoa is a great choice for risotto.

For starters, when you’re doing it risotto-style, you can cut the cooking time down by at least 75%. So a dish that might take an hour to cook will take you 15 minutes with quinoa.

The second thing I like about quinoa is that by itself it has a fairly boring flavor (well, let’s say “plain” to be a bit nicer). Not bad, just not exciting.

But when you add in just a few ingredients, in this case, butternut squash and vegan parmesan cheese, the quinoa transforms into this luxurious dish, full of deep flavors that awaken your palate and make your taste buds smile.

And who doesn’t want smiling taste buds?

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How to Make Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto

I like to keep my recipes pretty straightforward, so this one is just a few simple steps! We start by roasting our butternut squash, then we mash it up so it's almost smooth add it to the quinoa along with some nutritional yeast and vegan parmesan cheese. Once everything is nice and creamy, you can just sprinkle it with sage and you're ready to go!

Inside this vegan risotto you'll find:

  • Butternut squash: if by chance you're not a squash fan, you can use sweet potato or pumpkin in its place
  • Veggie broth: which we'll be using as our liquid – it adds a nice flavor!
  • Quinoa: I personally like to use white quinoa since I find it has the softest texture
  • Nutritional yeast + vegan parmesan: in order to get our “creamy” risotto flavor, we're using these two ingredients!
  • Spices: we'll be roasting our butternut squash in a touch of cinnamon and smoked paprika which is subtle, but delicious in the risotto

And if you want your risotto to be extra creamy, I'd recommend stirring in some cashew cream at the end!

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What to Serve with Butternut Squash Risotto

As I said at the beginning of the post, this butternut squash and quinoa recipe is definitely on the lighter side. But it can be enjoyed as a vegan main (quinoa for protein!) or a simple side dish if you want something a little fancy. Either way, it's sure to please!

I like to serve mine with some chopped sage, a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and extra pepper. I put it in a dish like this and let people scoop their portions out! It's a crowd-pleaser and also makes amazing leftovers (sometimes I even make a double portion!).

If you do want to have is as a side dish, I think it would pair perfectly with:

  • Fish: either baked or grilled. My cinnamon and pecan crusted salmon would be INCREDIBLE!
  • Meat: since butternut squash is on the lighter side, I would say this would be best with a grilled or baked chicken dish rather than red meat
  • Vegetarian: and if you want to keep it totally vegetarian, tofu would be perfect – I'd say my herb crusted baked tofu would be the best!

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Can you Freeze Butternut Squash Risotto?

Ah, leftovers. One of my simple pleasures in life!

This butternut risotto makes amazing leftovers! It can either be stored in the fridge and reheated, or you can freeze it for a later date.

To freeze your risotto: place it in a freezer-proof container (LOVE this set!) and allow it to cool completely. Once it's cooled, pop on the lid and freeze it.

To reheat your risotto:

  • if it's refrigerated, simply pop it in the microwave or add it to a small saucepan and add a splash of water, broth, or almond milk
  • if it's frozen, allow the risotto to mostly thaw at room temperature and follow the same reheating instructions!

And that's all you need to know about making this ultra-fabulous, ultra-delicious, ultra-amazing butternut squash quinoa risotto. I can't wait to hear what you think!

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More Butternut Squash Recipes

Butternut Squash Quinoa Risotto

Butternut squash quinoa risotto with roasted squash, creamy grains and a cheesy, dairy-free flavor is a must-try easy vegan side dish.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 282kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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4.06 from 19 votes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Toss the butternut squash with coconut oil, cinnamon, paprika and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Stir the squash around a few times so it cooks evenly.
  • While squash is cooking, add quinoa and vegetable broth to a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, cover and turn down to simmer for 10 - 15 minutes. The quinoa should be soft, but there should still be some liquid in the pot.
  • Remove squash from the oven, transfer to a bowl and mash it with a fork until almost smooth. Add squash to the quinoa, stirring to combine.
  • Sprinkle in nutritional yeast (and cheese if using) and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes.
  • Serve immediately and garnish with additional nutritional yeast (or cheese) and a drizzle of honey.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 282kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 594mg | Potassium: 663mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 11595IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 2.9mg

 

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

Interested in Healthy Eating? Grab our 7-Day Vegan Meal Plan!

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  1. There is nothing Italian in this dish. Italians hardly use quinoa in their diet, it is almost inexistent. In addition, the “Romano cheese” is an American version of Pecorino, which is protected designation of origin. I would suggest re-classifying this recipe as non-Italian…

    • Hi Ilaria,

      It is a modern take on risotto and risotto is Italian. So like me, many others consider this recipe Italian. This is not written to pick on you but I honestly find your comment rude.

      I’m danish and in California, there is a danish town called Solvang. They do their best at replicating danish dishes but it doesn’t always turn out like the originals. But I wouldn’t make a big fuss about it and request them calling it American and not danish. I appreciate my culture being seen and practiced in other places besides Denmark.

      Have a nice day 😀

  2. Thanks for this. I adapted the technique a bit, halving and roasting the squash instead of peeling and cubing and omitting the cinnamon. When it was done I just scooped it out since it was mostly puree texture. It was a big squash, so there were some firmer pieces in the center, which I cubed and put aside. I also sautéed a few shallots in olive oil and mixed in some dried thyme and added that to the squash. After the quinoa was done, I stirred in a few handfuls of fresh spinach which I had chopped, and stirred in the pot until it wilted. Once it was all mixed together and the cheese was melted, I stirred in the firmer pieces and added fresh pepper. The green spinach gave such a nice contrast to the orange.

  3. Alyssa you are my new quinoa guru! Made this recipe with red quinoa, b/c that’s all we had in the house, and it was delicious! Love the simplicity and that my toddler will eat it. Thanks.

  4. i attempted to make this dish and mine did not come out so vibrant 🙁 it’s more dark orange and not as well combined!

    • I would suggest mashing the squash even more or even pureeing it in a food processor to make it super smooth 🙂

  5. […] a receita original, que me tinha deixado de água na boca, mas encontrei uma outra que me encantou pela sua simplicidade: abóbora assada, quinoa cozida e já está. Certo, tenho de […]

  6. Ooh this sounds delicious! I’m a sucker for risotto and it never occurred to me to swap it for quinoa. How about a Fava Bean Quinoa Risotto?

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