A deliciously creamy vegan meal this pumpkin and chestnut risotto is hearty, filling and so tasty.
Before turning vegan I would never have thought it possible that a risotto without cheese could be anywhere near as good as a traditional risotto.
This recipe changed my mind.
This pumpkin, chestnut and cranberry risotto is simply amazing.
- full of nutritious ingredients
The secret to its creaminess?
The first time I made this I could not believe how creamy it was.
The secret to the creamy texture is quite simple - the pumpkin.
There's no need to replace the cheese with vegan cheese. The pumpkin does a brilliant job of breaking down to create the perfect risotto texture.
How to make a great vegan risotto
You might think that the things that make risotto so wonderful - white wine and plenty of Parmesan cheese - are off limits for vegans. But don't worry - you can still make a great risotto.
Here are some tips for making the perfect vegan risotto.
- There are plenty of vegan white wines out there, which work wonderfully in risotto. In case you're wondering why wine wouldn't be vegan it's often clarified with egg or filtered with isinglass - a fish's swim bladder (weird, right?). Check out Barnivore if you need help working out whether your favourite tipple is vegan friendly or not.
- There are also vegan Parmesan cheese alternatives but I prefer to use nutritional yeast, which has a lovely nutty flavour and is packed full of nutrients. This is optional so don't worry if you don't have any.
- Using pumpkin or butternut squash makes your risotto really creamy. It's roasted first, before being added to the risotto. When mixed with the rice it starts to break down adding flavour, colour and a deliciously creamy texture to the rice.
- Add extra flavour boosters like nuts, seeds and dried fruit. In this recipe I've used chestnuts and cranberries. Both make it taste spectacular.
To make this risotto you will need:
- pumpkin or butternut squash
- dried sage
- olive oil
- arborio risotto rice
- vegan white wine, optional
- vegetable stock
- cooked chestnuts
- dried cranberries
- nutritional yeast, optional
- Salt and pepper
You will need:
- chopping board
- sharp knife
- roasting tin
- large saucepan with a lid
- jug (for stock)
- ladle or large spoon
How to make vegan risotto with pumpkin, chestnuts and cranberries
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Vegan risotto with pumpkin, chestnuts and cranberries
- Jug (for stock)
- Ladle or large spoon
For the roasted pumpkin
- 500 g pumpkin or butternut squash peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the risotto
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 150 g arborio risotto rice
- 150 ml vegan white wine* optional
- 800 ml hot vegetable stock
- 100 g cooked chestnuts crumbled
- 75 g dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
To roast the pumpkin
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
- Place 500g chopped butternut squash or pumpkin into a roasting tin with a teaspoon of dried sage and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir and roast for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway, until cooked. When done, set aside.
To make the risotto
- Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add a finely chopped onion and cook over a low-medium heat for 10 minutes until soft and turning golden. Stir often.
- Add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, cook for a further minute, then stir in 150g risotto rice.
- Add 150ml white wine if using - if not you may need a little more vegetable stock. Stir until it’s all been absorbed into the rice
- Next add a ladleful of vegetable stock and stir until absorbed. Repeat this adding and stirring for around 20 minutes until the rice is almost cooked through.
- Now add the cooked pumpkin or squash and stir through with a final ladleful of stock. The pumpkin will begin to break down but that’s ok - this is what’s going to give this risotto its delicious creaminess.
- Finally add 100g crumbled chestnuts, 75g dried cranberries and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast if using, stir through to warm up, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
- Not all wine is suitable for vegans. Check Barnivore if you're not sure.
- The wine is optional in this recipe. If you decide not to use it you may need a little extra vegetable stock.
- Nutritional information is approximate and is intended as a guide.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat until piping hot when ready to eat.
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