Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto (Instant Pot Friendly!)

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Hand holding a fork in a bowl of butternut squash risotto

We try not to play favorites in the MB kitchen, but we’re BIG fans of butternut squash and risotto. It was only a matter of time before we brought them together. This fall-forward risotto combines the sweet and wholesome goodness of butternut squash with roasted garlic and creamy arborio rice for the ultimate comforting entrée! And with the ease of the Instant Pot? We’re obsessed. 

Did we mention the optional pine nut and sage topping? Your dinner (or holiday) guests will be stunned, friends. Just 9 ingredients required! Let us show you how it’s done! 

Olive oil, pine nuts, vegan butter, coconut milk, butternut squash, sage, white wine, arborio rice, garlic, and vegan parmesan

What is Risotto?

Risotto is a rice-based dish that’s believed to have originated in Milan, Italy. The first version was called Risotto alla Milanese, and it was traditionally made with butter, onion, white wine, stock, salt, saffron, and Parmesan. Since then, many flavor variations have been created. The following is our creamy, butternut squash-filled take!

How to Make Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto

First, we roast butternut squash and garlic until perfectly caramelized. Some of the squash gets saved for topping the finished risotto, but we smash most of it with the garlic and add it to the rice. All aboard for flavor town!

Cubed butternut squash and a head of garlic on a baking sheet

While the squash and garlic roast, we can start the risotto in the Instant Pot for some ninja-style kitchen multitasking.

Risotto in the Instant Pot is a lot like stovetop risotto but without the stirring! Vegan butter and dry white wine bring a savory-sweet balance, while coconut milk and water combine for ultra creamy results. After just 8 minutes of hands-off cook time in the Instant Pot, arborio rice blossoms into risotto!

Adding water over a creamy arborio rice mixture in the Instant Pot

While the squash is in the oven and the rice is getting creamy, there’s time for the sage and pine nut topping! Toasted sage and pine nuts combine with salt for an herby, savory, and totally delectable garnish. It is optional but highly recommended!

Crushing a pine nut and sage gremolata in a mortar and pestle

Finally, it’s time to smash some squash and garlic and add it to the creamy, dreamy risotto. Lastly we add vegan parmesan for an extra savory + salty touch, and the results are just divine!

Stirring caramelized roasted butternut squash and garlic into a pot of risotto

We hope you LOVE this butternut squash risotto! It’s:

Creamy
Comforting
Savory-sweet
Garlicky
Easy to make
& SO delicious!

It’s perfect for the holiday table, as a quick weeknight entrée or side, or any time you’re craving a savory, fall-filled dish!

What to Serve with Butternut Squash Risotto

We love this risotto with Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken or a Runny Yolk Egg for a protein-rich pairing. Or for a fiber + protein boost, top with Actually Crispy Baked Chickpeas or Tempeh Meatballs.

For more veggies, try it with our Apple Pecan Arugula SaladAbundance Kale Salad with Savory Tahini DressingLemony Arugula Salad with Crispy Shallot, or Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Love Instant Pot Recipes? Try These Next!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Cubed butternut squash and pine nut sage topping in an Instant Pot over risotto

Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto (Instant Pot Friendly!)

Creamy, comforting vegan butternut squash risotto with roasted garlic and a savory pine nut and sage topping! The perfect fall entrée, with just 9 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Spoon resting in a bowl of butternut squash risotto topped with pine nut sage gremolata
4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 (generous servings)
Course Side
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days

Ingredients

SQUASH

  • 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~3/4-inch cubes (1 large squash yields ~6 cups or 850 g)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (DIVIDED)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large bulb garlic

RISOTTO

  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (we used Miyoko’s // or sub olive oil)
  • 1 cup uncooked arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-oz.) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for topping // or sub store-bought)

TOPPING optional

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh sage (30 medium leaves yield ~3/4 cup or 24 g)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt

Instructions

INSTANT POT:

  • SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt, then spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • For the roasted garlic: Slice the top off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a small square of foil or parchment paper and top with the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Scrunch up the foil/paper to seal in the garlic and place the wrapped bulb on the baking sheet with the squash. Roast everything for 35-40 minutes, tossing the squash chunks halfway through the cooking time. The squash should be tender and golden/caramelized in places. After 40 minutes, remove the squash from the oven and place the foil-wrapped garlic directly on the oven rack for an additional 10 minutes.
  • TOPPING (optional): Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. This should take about 5 minutes — watch them closely as they go from untoasted to burned quickly! Once toasted, transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the pine nuts slightly. You should still have some whole pine nuts. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse briefly.
  • In the same skillet or saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped sage in as even a layer as possible, and don’t stir. It should sizzle immediately and begin to darken and “fry” slightly. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring infrequently, to brown the sage slightly (this allows the flavor to deepen). Be careful not to let it burn.
  • Transfer the sage to the mortar and pestle and crush the leaves to combine them well with the pine nuts. Add the salt (1/8 tsp) and toss with a spoon. Set aside your topping until ready to serve.
  • RISOTTO: When the squash and garlic are about halfway done roasting, start the risotto. Using a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot, turn on the sauté function (to the default "Normal" — not high or low) and add the vegan butter. Once melted, add the rice to the butter and stir to coat. Spread the rice into an even layer on the bottom of the pot and let it sizzle lightly for a minute to toast, then turn off the sauté function by pressing “Cancel.” Add the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Add the water, coconut milk, and salt. Stir, making sure there is no rice stuck on the bottom or sides of the pot. Put on the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to Sealing, if applicable (some models seal automatically when the lid is turned). Pressure cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to pressurize, then will begin counting down. When the timer goes off at the end of the cook time, manually release the pressure. Stir the risotto to combine — it may seem a bit watery, but it will thicken as it cools.
  • When the risotto is nearly ready, remove the garlic bulb from the foil/paper and squeeze the soft roasted garlic from its papery shells onto the baking sheet. Mash well with a fork, along with 1/3 of the roasted squash. Add this squash/garlic purée to the finished risotto, along with the vegan parmesan, and stir well to incorporate.
  • SERVING: Divide risotto between serving bowls, top with remaining roasted butternut squash, and garnish with pine nut and sage topping (optional, or use more vegan parmesan).
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat, adding vegetable broth or water as needed to rehydrate. Not freezer friendly.

STOVETOP:

  • RISOTTO: In a medium saucepan, combine the water and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and then lower the heat to keep warm. This will be your broth.
  • SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt, then spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • For the roasted garlic: Slice the top off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a small square of foil or parchment paper and top with the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Scrunch up the foil/paper to seal in the garlic and place the wrapped bulb on the baking sheet with the squash. Roast everything for 35-40 minutes, tossing the squash chunks halfway through the cooking time. The squash should be tender and golden/caramelized in places, and the garlic will be soft.
  • RISOTTO: Melt the vegan butter in a large, rimmed skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the rice to the butter and stir to coat. Spread the rice into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and let it sizzle lightly for a couple of minutes to toast, then add the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Using a ladle or measuring cup, add warmed "broth" (from STOVETOP Step 1) ~1/2 cup (120 ml) at a time, stirring almost constantly, giving the risotto little breaks to come back to a simmer. The heat should be medium, and there should always be a slight simmer. You want the mixture to be cooking but not boiling, or it will get gummy and cook too fast.
  • Continue to add broth, stirring to incorporate, until the rice is al dente — cooked through but still has a slight bite. This whole process should take 20-25 minutes (time based on original recipe // adjust if altering number of servings). You should use all of the warmed broth.
  • When the risotto is nearly ready, remove the garlic bulb from the foil/paper and squeeze the soft roasted garlic from its papery shells onto the baking sheet. Mash well with a fork, along with 1/3 of the roasted squash. Add this squash/garlic purée to the risotto, along with the vegan parmesan, and stir well to incorporate. Turn the risotto to low heat and cover to keep warm while you prepare the topping (optional).
  • TOPPING (optional): Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. This should take about 5 minutes — watch them closely as they go from untoasted to burned quickly! Once toasted, transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the pine nuts slightly. You should still have some whole pine nuts. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse briefly.
  • In the same skillet or saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped sage in as even a layer as possible, and don’t stir. It should sizzle immediately and begin to darken and “fry” slightly. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring infrequently, to brown the sage slightly (this allows the flavor to deepen). Be careful not to let it burn.
  • Transfer the sage to the mortar and pestle and crush the leaves to combine them well with the pine nuts. Add the salt (1/8 tsp) and toss with a spoon. Set aside your topping until ready to serve.
  • To serve, divide risotto between serving bowls, top with remaining roasted butternut squash, and garnish with pine nut and sage topping (optional), or more vegan parmesan.
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat, adding vegetable broth or water as needed to rehydrate. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional topping.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 generous serving Calories: 386 Carbohydrates: 38.6 g Protein: 5.3 g Fat: 24.3 g Saturated Fat: 11.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 592 mg Potassium: 715 mg Fiber: 8 g Sugar: 6.3 g Vitamin A: 23705 IU Vitamin C: 34 mg Calcium: 106 mg Iron: 2 mg

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  1. Annie says

    This was amazing. Incredible. Life changing for my boyfriend who (non vegan) described it as one of the top 20 meals of his life. Great balance of sweet and savory w the topping. A few mods: doubled it, used veg broth instead of water, and used half recommended amount of lite coconut milk. Still found it plenty rich – could even have used a little less oil/butter and still been really rich. And I always love an instant pot recipe!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you and your boyfriend enjoyed it, Annie. Thank you so much for your kind words and support! xo

  2. Laurie says

    I made this last night and although we enjoyed it enough, I’m not entirely sure I would make it again the same way. The coconut milk really dominated the overall flavor – it was a bit too sweet. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and I was happy to have more practice with my Instapot but if I make this again, I think I will put vegetable broth in place of the coconut milk.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks for the feedback, Laurie. You could also try using a different thicker dairy free milk like cashew milk. Hope this helps!

  3. Kestrel says

    I made this for dinner tonight and it is simply divine!! Literally one of the best tasting risottos I’ve ever had – and it was so easy to make! Definitely making this a staple for my recipe rotation.

  4. Blake Spencer says

    I made this tonight for me and my non vegan husband. We both enjoyed. I used veg broth instead of the wine and next time I will try the wine because I think it will add an additional depth of flavor. Don’t skip the sage pine nut topping! It’s delicious!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Julie-Ann, perhaps another plain, unsweetened dairy-free milk such as hemp or hemp + oat. Or if not dairy-free/vegan, maybe half and half or whole milk? But we haven’t tested with these modifications. Let us know if you do!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Heather, we haven’t tried that so cannot guarantee results. Let us know how it goes if you try it!