This creamy and cozy one-pot Vegan Pumpkin Risotto is the ultimate comfort meal, but still healthy and family friendly. This 20 minute dish is sure to be a favorite entree, but also makes a fabulous side. Bonus points: it’s great for a holiday meal or just a quick weeknight favorite.
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Hey Internet, I know it seems a little too soon to publish a pumpkin recipe, seeing as it’s only September 1st when I’m publishing this, but you know what? I like pumpkin, darnit, and I’m not ashamed to eat it anytime of the year!
And I really, really like savory pumpkin dishes. Sure, it’s great as pumpkin pie… but pumpkin risotto--now that’s something special.
Maybe that seems weird to you. Risotto is supposed to be buttery and light with very Italian flavors--and white wine.
But I’m here to tell you today that risotto is a great vessel for all kinds of flavors. It’s like rice got a creamy glow-up. Seriously.
Never had risotto? You’re missing out! Even if you’ve had rice other ways, I guarantee risotto is something really different and awesome.
So risotto is typically made with arborio rice, which is a round short grain white rice. It becomes ultra creamy and smooth, and almost disappears, but still has a slight chew to it, making it a satisfying and cozy meal.
Add in some smooth, velvety pumpkin puree, some fall-ish herbs, and a generous amount of vegan Parmesan topping (tasty and protein-packed!)? Kisses fingers like a chef Beautiful.
But… is it easy?
Convinced you yet?
What You’ll Need
So let’s talk about the basics first.
Arborio rice is an Italian short grain rice, named after the town of Arborio in Italy. It can be found in most grocery stores, but if you can’t find it and buying it online isn’t an option, I’d recommend substituting it with another short grain rice.
Brown rice will work, but may require a little bit longer to cook.
I highly recommend using the onion and garlic the recipe calls for, but if you can’t have them, the recipe will still taste good without. Shallots would be really good instead of onion, too.
For the pumpkin, I just used one can of pumpkin puree. Be careful not to buy canned pumpkin pie filling as that has sweeteners and other ingredients.
You could also substitute the pumpkin with any other winter squash like butternut (yum!). If you want to use fresh pumpkin, you can, just cook it until soft, blend it, and use one and a half cups of it to replace the can of pumpkin in this recipe.
The only other things you need for this recipe are vegetable broth, dried or fresh thyme, and a pinch of salt.
But what about wine, you may ask? Can you make risotto without wine?
The answer is yes! But you could also totally swap some of the broth for a nice white wine, if you like. :)
I do recommend a few additions at the end to really take the flavors to another level: vegan Parmesan, fresh squeezed lemon juice (a vinegar like apple cider vinegar will also work), fresh chopped parsley, and a tiny bit of either coconut milk or cashew cream (carton non-dairy milks will work but be careful because they’re watery).
Tips for Making Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
This dish is really easy to make and comes together in 20 minutes or less! However I have a few tips to help you make it extra delicious--and save some time in the process!
- Chop your onion as finely as you can, so it “disappears” into the creaminess of the risotto. The same goes for the garlic. Use a garlic press if you loathe chopping garlic.
- Speaking of which, you want to saute your onion for about 3 minutes BEFORE adding the garlic, as garlic burns faster than onion does.
- If you want to keep this oil-free as I’ve written the recipe (you’re always welcome to use oil if YOU want to, I just choose not to), preheat your pan for a minute or two over medium high heat and then add the onions. Only add water or broth a tablespoon at a time, until the onion starts to stick or all the water has evaporated. I recommend using a high quality nonstick pan if you can afford it--it’s a great investment in your cooking and your health.
- Toast the rice by adding it to the pot after scraping the onion and garlic to the outer edges of the pot. Stir it around for 30 seconds to add more flavor, then dump in the broth and canned pumpkin.
- After bringing it to a boil, pop on the lid, turn down the heat, and let it simmer until the rice is soft. I highly recommend checking it every 5 minutes, though, as it cooks fairly quickly.
- When it’s done, I recommend using ALL the add-ins for tons of flavor--chopped fresh parsley, easy home vegan Parmesan (seriously it takes 2 minutes and you probably have all the ingredients already), a little creamy coconut milk or cashew cream, and some fresh lemon to brighten everything up. Now that’s bowl-licking good!
- You can prep this risotto on a Sunday and eat it throughout the week or you can even freeze it! Despite what you’ve heard, rice can be totally fine when it defrosts from being frozen. I recommend adding a tablespoon of water to the rice before reheating!
What to Serve With Risotto
We love this risotto on it’s own, but it would also be delicious with some steamed or roasted vegetables (like broccoli or green beans!) or a salad like this pomegranate salad that’s full of Fall vibes.
More Quick Vegan Meals
I’m pressed for time often, especially during the weekday evenings, so I love a quick and easy meal. Try one of my favorite quick vegan dinners listed below:
- 15 Minute Garlic Noodles
- 15 Minute Veggie Lo Mein
- 20 Minute Chinese Curry
- 25 Minute Vegan Orange Chicken
- 25 Minute Vegan Spinach Noodle Kugel
- 30 Minute Chickpea Florentine
- 30 Minute Pasta Puttanesca
As always, I hope you love this recipe--I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does, too. It’s not often we both lick the bowl after eating but we really did with this one.
This Vegan Pumpkin Risotto is:
- Kind of like a big fall hug
- And perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or holiday meal!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!