This heavenly creamy vegan risotto is guaranteed to be enjoyed by vegans and the most avid meat eaters alike – it’s insanely delicious! Packed with nutty & sweet flavours from the roasted butternut squash & wild mushrooms combined with fresh pine-nut aromas of sage, this risotto is a perfect family-friendly comfort food for any time of the year. And guess what? It’s waist friendly too! A winner all around…
When I think of RISOTTO, the first things that spring to my mind is lots of butter, cream, wine, parmesan and all the delicious yet not very healthy for your waist foods… So, as I’m a little bit of a health fanatic, I set out to play in my kitchen to make this sage, squash and wild mushroom risotto a healthier dish that the whole family can enjoy. And I tell you what my friends – I couldn’t put my spoon down… It was absolutely gooooooorgeous! It’s the kind of a healthy meal that you don’t need to compromise for.
Although I’m not on a fully plant based diet (giving up fish was the hardest thing for me and my body just couldn’t sustain it in the long run), I create a lot of vegan friendly recipes because I really enjoy them, as well as the challenge of converting good old family classics into meat free options (I think we can all help the planet by eating a little less meat).
So, how do I make this creamy risotto flavoursome, healthier and vegan friendly?
- Replace parmesan cheese with fortified nutritional yeast flakes – their nutty flavour is a great low-fat replacement for the traditional parmesan cheese (although nothing will compare to the real cheese, of course!) Being a complete protein (one tablespoon contains 2 grams of protein), nutritional yeast is also a great source of B vitamins and trace minerals.
- Use vegetable stock instead of wine to shave off those extra calories
- Skip the butter – it tastes just as good without it (your cholesterol levels will thank you for it too!)
- Use porcini mushroom powder to add extra nuttiness to the risotto and make it more creamy
- Roasting the squash in the oven with a generous sprinkle of smoked paprika adds a new level of deep smokey flavours to this risotto
- Adding any kind of chopped nuts as garnish will introduce a new layer of crunchy texture – perfect for balancing out the creamy goodness
- Fresh sage adds nutty fragrant notes to this risotto and compliments the squash and mushrooms really well
If you’d like to go one step further and make this risotto even healthier, feel free to replace white Arborio rice with brown risotto rice (you might have to adjust the cooking times as it takes longer for the brown rice to cook). That was my original plan but I couldn’t find brown risotto rice in the UK supermarkets, doh…
If you’re not watching the calories or making this risotto for a special occasional, feel free to spoil yourself and use wine & parmesan to your heart’s content. It’s all about the balance, that’s what I say…
I hope you’ll get a chance to recreate this creamy and flavoursome squash, sage & wild mushroom risotto at home. If you do, I’d love it if you dropped a comment below and tag me on Instagram (@fit.foodie.nutter #fitfoodienutter), so I can see your take on this recipe.
If you’d like to try some other delicious autumnal recipes from my blog, I would really recommend
- EASY BUTTERNUT SQUASH & CHICKPEA STEW
- SUPER EASY ONE POT SQUASH & SWEET POTATO SOUP
- ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE & MUSHROOM STUFFING
- PUMPKIN SPICE WAFFLES
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Have a great week my friends!
THE TASTIEST SQUASH, SAGE & WILD MUSHROOM RISOTTO (VEGAN)
For roasted squash:
- 2 cups butternut squash peeled, de-seeded and diced into small cubes
- 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
For the risotto:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small white onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 200 g wild mushrooms roughly chopped
- 3 sage leaves plus more for garnish
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp porcini mushroom powder
- 1 cup white Arborio rice
- 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes or parmesan for non-vegan version
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups 500ml vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- Toasted almond flakes for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180C Fan/200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 & line a roasting tray with parchment paper. Place the diced butternut squash in the tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt and pepper and mix well to ensure the squash is well coated in oil and spices. Roast in the oven for 20-25 mins until the squash is just tender. You don’t want it to be too soft, otherwise it’ll turn into mash.
- In a deep casserole pan, heat up the olive oil. Fry onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent, around 2-3 minutes. Add finely chopped sage leaves and fry for another minute to allow the flavours to come through. Add the mushrooms, salt & pepper, porcini powder, nutritional yeast and lemon juice and cook for around 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms have turned golden brown.
- Stir risotto rice into the casserole dish and cook for 2 minutes to allow the rice to absorb the flavours. Add the roasted butternut squash and vegetable stock and mix well. Cover the dish with a lid and turn the heat to medium low. Cook for around 8-10minutes until all the stock is absorbed, stirring the risotto intermittently to prevent it from burning. Start adding the water, a ladle at a time, and cook until all the water is absorbed, around 20 minutes.
- Serve with toasted almond flakes and freshly chopped sage.