A quick and easy weeknight recipe for Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, on your stovetop or in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. 

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

The best way to predict the future is to create it. ~Abraham Lincoln 

This Butternut Risotto is perfect for cozy fall nights when time is limited. When using an instant pot, it only requires only 15 minutes of hands-on time before letting the Instant Pot take over and in the end, you’ll have a comforting nourishing meal on the table with very little fuss. You can also make this on the stovetop in about 40 minutes.

Now if you don’t have an instant pot, there is a stovetop version in the video and also in the recipe notes, and it is yummy. For the stovetop version, we roast the butternut.

How to make Butternut Risotto (on the Stovetop) | 60-sec video


I’ll be honest, I was a little surprised that this recipe turned out as good as it did. I’m not a huge fan of mushy veggies, so the idea of putting cubes of raw butternut in the Instant Pot was a little off-putting.  I much prefer them roasted and caramelized. But I just wanted to experiment and an interesting thing happened.

Well besides the obvious, yes, the butternut did get a little mushy. But what I didn’t expect was how creamy the butternut turned out, giving the risotto a lovely richness without adding cheese or butter, almost turning into a butternut sauce.

Kind of like the broccoli sauce in this Orchiette recipe.

How to make Butternut Risotto

A quick and easy weeknight recipe for Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

Step One:

The recipe starts with prepping the leeks. Cut and rinse them well. If they are very muddy, soak in a big bowl of water and separate the rings.

Save the green leek tops for Leek Oil – which is optional, but will change your life! I’m not joking here friends. It’s amazing.

Step Two:

Set the Instant Pot to the saute setting.  Heat the oil and add the leeks, stirring until they soften.

Step Three:

Add the garlic, sage and the Arborio Rice, sauteing the rice until translucent, about 2-3 minutes.

Step Four:

Then add the raw butternut squash that has been cut into cubes, salt and spices.

Step Five:

Give a few stirs then, add a splash of white wine. Add the rice and stir.

Step Six:

Scrape up all those browned bits, let the wine evaporate then add the broth. Be doubly sure to get all the browned bits. Using a wooden spoon helps.

I have been using this veggie boullion – it has great flavor.

Step Seven:

Pressure cook on high for 6 minutes.

Naturally, release for 5 minutes, then manually release.

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

Step Seven:

Give a little stir and toss in a couple of handfuls of baby spinach to bump up the nutrition.

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

Step Eight:

At this point, you could leave it vegan and drizzle with a little olive oil- or the flavorful Leek Oil.

Or you could stir in some butter, ghee, goat cheese or parmesan to taste.

If you like a looser risotto, add a little more broth or water to get the consistency how you like it.

As you keep stirring the butternut will break down a bit. It will add a nice creaminess.

Don’t over stir though, just a little. 🙂

Here I’ve topped it with the Leek oil and the Maple Pecans that you’ve seen before if you’ve been here a while. So handy!

The pecans give such good texture.

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

And the Leek Oil is just a fun way to not waste those flavorful leek tops.

Use the Leek Oil on bread, over hummus, or tossed in salads, or over soups.

I know you…. you’ll find many uses. 🙂

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

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Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

Happy cozy fall weekend! Let us know what you think of this Instant Pot Butternut Risotto in the comments below!

Be well,

xoxo

Sylvia

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Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. #butternut #butternutrisotto #instantpot #vegan

Butternut Squash Risotto ( Instant pot or stove-top)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: vegan, dinner recipe,
  • Method: Instant Pot, stove top
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Cozy up with a comforting bowl of Butternut Risotto with Leeks and Spinach made with very little fuss, in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free. Stovetop version in the notes below!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (one extra large leek)
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 8 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice or short-grain Spanish rice (Bomba)
  • 2 heaping cups butternut squash, cubed (please see notes if making on stove top!)
  • 1/4 cup white wine (or skip it)
  • 2 cups veggie stock or chicken stock or broth (or water and one teaspoon or cube veggie bouillon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8  teaspoon white pepper (or sub black pepper to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg the nutmeg makes this- don’t leave it out!
  • ——
  • 23 handfuls baby spinach or chopped kale
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 – 1/2 cup parmesan, pecorino, manchego, goat cheese, vegan cheese or cashew cheese – or the leave cheese out and use LEEK OIL for garnish. Or stir in 1-2 tablespoons of butter or ghee, or a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Optional: Maple Glazed Pecans

Instructions

  1. Slice and rinse leeks, separating rings (rinsing will help them to soften faster).
  2. Set Instant Pot to the “Saute” function.
  3. Heat oil in the instant pot, add the rinsed leeks and stir for 2 minutes. Add garlic, sage and rice, stir for 2 minutes.
  4. Add butternut squash, and keep stirring for a couple of minutes, until there is a bit of browning on the bottom of the instant pot.
  5. Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits-  a wooden spoon is good for this. Let all the wine cook off, about 2-3 minutes. Add the stock or broth. Scrape up more browned bits. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg, and give a good stir.
  6. Seal the instant pot and pressure cook on HIGH for 6 minutes. Naturally, release for 5 minutes, then manually release. 
  7. While the Instant pot is going you could make the leek oil and/or the maple glazed pecans.
  8. Stir the risotto, adding the spinach and cheese or butter if you like, or leave them out. As the butternut breaks down a bit, it will add a nice natural creaminess to the risotto.
  9. Garnish with optional leek oil or maple glazed pecans.

Notes

To elevate this, make the leek oil and maple glazed pecans, and perhaps top it with some additional roasted or pan-seared butternut that has been nicely caramelized.

The butternut in the instant pot will break down and almost becomes the sauce here.

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: ( you will need 4-5 cups warm stock) 

  1. ROAST BUTTERNUT: Toss the cubed butternut squash with olive oil, salt and pepper and ROAST  in a 400 F oven on a parchment-lined sheet pan until caramelized and tender 25-30 minutes. At the same time make risotto.
  2. RISOTTO: In a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the washed leeks. Saute until fragrant and tender, covering with the lid for a few minutes to let them steam a bit. Add garlic and sage, saute 2 more minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the rice and saute 1 minute, stirring. Add a splash of white wine, and cook this off. Add the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add 1-2 cups warm stock (enough to cover the rice), stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, stirring often over med-low heat, until the rice is plumped, slightly al dente, yet creamy, about 20-25 minutes. If adding kale, add it with the last cup of broth. If adding spinach, you can stir it in at the end. Keep the risotto thick and hearty or add more stock to loosen it up a bit.
  4. Stir in the roasted butternut and spinach and optional cheese or butter. Taste, season and adjust salt and pepper.  If bland, it probably needs more salt.
  5. Garnish with the leek oil and maple glazed pecans.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/4 cups. Calculated with ½ cup parmesan.
  • Calories: 321
  • Sugar: 1.9 g
  • Sodium: 471.6 mg
  • Fat: 10.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Protein: 8.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 7.2 mg

Keywords: Butternut Risotto Recipe, Vegan butternut risotto, Instant Pot risotto, Butternut Risotto, instant pot butternut risotto, vegan risotto, vegan butternut recipes, vegan instant pot recipes.

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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Comments

  1. Could I make this in a slow cooker? How long would you cook it and at high or low?
    Thanks, it looks like a really good recipe!

    1. Hi Susan- honestly, I’m not sure. I’m not a slow-cooker person, has any one else tried?

  2. A favorite, my husband said it reminded him of the best risotto he ever had at a special dinner in Alexandria Va. I did do the special maple pecans for fun too, and it is so easy to make in the pressure cooker. Can’t imagine making it any other way. We loved it!

  3. Absolutely delicious! We added some coconut cream instead of the cheese which worked great. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!

  4. Sylvia, your recipes are spectacular. Myself being a creator and a wild improvisation fan in the kitchen, I get inspired by your recipes. And I do improvised this time too 😀 This risotto is delicious without wine, on a stovetop, cooked in a regular pot.

    I made the leek oil for the first time, it came out different from your picture, but was delicious.

    P.S. the blended leek fiber got entangled in the blades of my blender though and I can’t imagine abusing my sandwich by placing that slurry on it :))

  5. Very tasty! I added the spinach, goat cheese, and maple pecans. I subbed nutmeg for garam masala since I didn’t have nutmeg and it still turned out delicious. I also served it with a strawberry, goat cheese, pecan, spinach salad. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. This recipe was a huge hit! I added manchego cheese at the end and it’s definitely the best risotto recipe I’ve ever made. I’m sure I’ll be making this recipe often.

    I cooked this in my Thermomix so although I tweaked the instructions, I didn’t modify the ingredients at all.

    Thank you for sharing this seriously tasty recipe.

  7. Help! I kept getting a burn warning from my instant pot for this recipe. What have I done wrong? I used the recommended amount of broth and deglaze the pot twice!

    1. I’m sorry Abby, that is so frustrating! I do know some instant pots have a tendency to get the burn warning more then others☹️. Is it possible that something got on the burner under the pot?

  8. I’ve made this before and it’s been delicious! Planning on doubling the recipe and making it for my friends, how long should I pressure cook it in the instant pot for?

  9. i can’t get fresh sage where I’m at – can I use dry, and if so, how much (for instant pot)? Thanks!

  10. Recipe as is feels like it could use a bit more variety of flavors, but was still pretty good. I doubled the recipe without even thinking about whether my instant pot was big enough for the job, so I ended up having to only use 3 cups of stock bc I was really running out of space. Dish was still plenty moist in the end and paired well with maple glazed pecans. Also from beginning of prep to serving it was definitely closer to 2 hours for me hahaha (as how it usually goes).

      1. Finally got around to try it again – like it much more this time with 2x squash and some liquid aminos to taste to give it more depth. A pretty perfect dish after modification.

  11. Fantastic!! We loved it with the maple glazed pecans.

    Question…could I double the recipe in my insta pot?

    1. Great Susan! I’m not sure what size instant pot you have but I think it should work!

  12. I loved the interplay of colors in this dish – just beautiful! And delicious too. I sautéed mushrooms with the leeks on the stovetop and added freshly grated Parmesan cheese at the end. A true vegetarian feast crowned with candied pecans!

    1. Excellent! I was just thinking “this recipe needs sautéed mushrooms” and there your comment was! Can’t wait to try this, it sounds delish!

  13. Absolutely delicious! It still was a very savory meal with the butternut squash! We prepared it on the stovetop and roasted the squash in the oven at 425 degrees. I loved it and would love to post a photo but I don’t see an option for that. Thank you!!

    1. Opps Linda! I don’t really have an option on the blog for photos- but feel free to post on Instagram, I will repost!

  14. Absolutely delicious! It still was a very savory meal with the butternut squash! I loved it. Thank you!!

  15. A good recipe it needed a little more jazz so I added more garlic, and thyme, oregano and the best part chopped sun dried tomatoes! The sun dried tomatoes really gave it the extra pop that leveled up the recipe!

    1. Awesome Renee- I find using the veggie boullion paste or a really flavorful veggie broth here- goes a long ways too. 🙂

  16. Absolutely loved this! Quick, easy and delicious. So keen to try different variations now… Wondering if you need as much liquid if you leave the butternut out and do mushrooms instead?

    1. Funny you should ask Lauren! I’m working on a mushroom risotto right now. The liquid should be similar! I would carmelize the mushrooms first, add half to the risotto and save half to fold in at the end.

  17. Another winner of a recipe from Sylvia. I made this in an instant pot, my first IP risotto and I am delighted that I didn’t have to stand over a stove for 40 minutes tending to it. I served it to guests and everyone loved it. We had it with crumbled blue cheese at the recommendation of another friend and that was worth trying, especially if you like blue cheese. I also crisped up some of the sage leaves and served those on top.

  18. Is the white wine to deglaze or add flavour? If i don’t have any, can i use balsamine red wine vinegar to deglaze or just don’t use anything? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this.

    1. Hi Lydia, you can leave the wine out – don’t use balsamic, it will be way too acidic and give an off-color. 😉