This Butternut Squash Risotto recipe is wonderfully creamy and comforting. Savory leeks, paired with fresh sage, and maple pecans infuse it with delicious fall flavor. Includes a Video.

This Butternut Squash Risotto recipe couldn't be any easier. Made with leeks, and spinach with very little fuss, on your stovetop or in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Abraham Lincoln 

This Butternut Risotto is the perfect meal for cozy fall nights. You can make it in an Instant Pot when time is short – it only requires 15-20 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.

Why you will Love this recipe!

  1. Creamy and Flavorful: The butternut squash adds a creamy and rich texture to the risotto, giving it a delicious flavor without the need for cheese or butter. It almost turns into a butternut sauce, adding a unique twist to the traditional risotto.
  2. Easy and Quick: This recipe is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. With the Instant Pot method, it only requires 15-20 minutes of hands-on time before letting the Instant Pot do the rest of the work. On the stovetop, it can be ready in about 40 minutes.
  3. Versatile and Adaptable: The recipe is vegan-adaptable and gluten-free, making it suitable for various dietary preferences. You can customize it by adding your favorite toppings such as vegan cheese, cashew cheese, butter, or drizzling with olive oil.
  4. Nourishing and Satisfying: Butternut squash is packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, fiber, and antioxidants. Combined with the creamy risotto, leeks, and spinach, this dish provides a nourishing and satisfying meal that will keep you full and happy.
  5. Fall Comfort Food: The cozy combination of butternut squash, sage, and warming spices like nutmeg makes this risotto a perfect comfort food for chilly fall nights. It’s a great way to enjoy the seasonal flavors and ingredients. This could be a delicious Thanksgiving side dish.

Butternut squash Risotto Ingredients

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

Ingredient Notes

  • Butternut squash – purchasing pre-cut butternut squash makes this recipe fast and easy!
  •  Leeks-  for the best flavor or substitute onion.
  • Garlic- fresh and rough chopped.
  • Fresh Sage leaves, or substitute thyme or rosemary, but sage is tasty!
  • Arborio rice or short-grain Spanish rice (Bomba) for the creamiest texture!
  • Dry White wine (or just skip it).
  • Vegetable Broth or chicken broth (or water and one teaspoon or cube veggie bouillon).
  •  salt and pepper ( I love white pepper here). 
  •  Nutmeg the nutmeg makes this- don’t leave it out!
  •  Baby spinach or chopped kale.
  • OPTIONAL: parmesan, pecorino, manchego, vegan cheese or cashew cheese – or the leave cheese out and use LEEK OIL for garnish. Or stir in butter or ghee, or a drizzle of olive oil. Top with optional Maple Glazed Pecans.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements. 

Butternut Squash Risotto Instructions (see video for stovetop)

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

How to serve Butternut Squash Risotto

  • Leave it vegan and drizzle with a little olive oil- or the flavorful Leek Oil OR stir in some butter, ghee, goat cheese, or grated parmesan cheese 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. 🙂
  • We love it topped 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.

Butternut Squash Risotto Serving Suggestions

Serve the butternut squash risotto with flavorful leek oil, maple pecans, and a hearty green salad.

This Butternut Squash Risotto recipe couldn't be any easier. Made with leeks, and spinach with very little fuss, on your stovetop or in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free.

Butternut Squash Risotto FAQS

Can I make this recipe without an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can make this Butternut Risotto on the stovetop as well. The recipe includes instructions for both methods.

Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth?

Yes, you can use vegetable broth in this recipe to keep it vegan-friendly. If you don’t have vegetable broth, you can use water and add a teaspoon of vegetable bouillon for extra flavor.

Can I add cheese to the risotto?

The recipe is vegan-adaptable, so you can add vegan cheese or cashew cheese if you’d like. If you prefer non-vegan options, you can stir in butter, ghee, or grated parmesan cheese to taste.

What makes this risotto creamy and flavorful?

 The butternut squash in this risotto adds a creamy and rich texture, providing a delicious flavor without the need for cheese or butter. The risotto almost turns into a butternut sauce, adding a unique twist to the traditional recipe.

How long does this risotto take to cook on the stovetop?

On the stovetop, this risotto takes about 40 minutes to cook. The Instant Pot method is quicker, requiring only 15-20 minutes of hands-on time.

Can butternut squash risotto be made ahead?

Risotto is best served soon after it is made- although leftovers do taste great for up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Or freeze for up to 3 months.

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

More Favorite Risotto recipes

Butternut squash risotto in a bowl with a fork.

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

Be well,

Sylvia

Butternut Squash Risotto Video (Stovetop)

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This Butternut Squash Risotto recipe couldn't be any easier. Made with leeks, and spinach with very little fuss, on your stovetop or in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Vegan-adaptable and Gluten-free.

Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 130 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: vegan, dinner recipe,dinner idea
  • Method: Instant Pot, stove top
  • Cuisine: American
  • 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. The stovetop version in the notes below!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
  • 2 cups sliced leeks (one extra large leek) or sub one onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 8 sage leaves, chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice or short-grain Spanish rice (Bomba)
  • 2 heaping cups of butternut squash, cubed (please see notes if making on stove top!) Buying pre-cut squash saves a lot of time here!
  • 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, more to taste
  • 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: 1/41/2 cup parmesan, pecorino, manchego, 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 pressure 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. Adjust salt to taste. If you like a “looser” risotto add a bit more broth.
  10. Garnish with optional leek oil or maple glazed pecans.

Notes

Butternut: buying pre-cut butternut squash make this recipe extra fast!

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

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Comments

  1. 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. 😉

  2. So delicious! I did burn my nuts to a coal, so the only recommendation: if you don’t know how your oven does it, start watching nuts like a hawk after you turn them over. Otherwise, the recipe is easy and absolutely delicious!






  3. I made this both ways and loved both! Excellent recipe -and while I like the taste of the butternut squash roasted better – I could not believe the ease of doing it in the instant pot. This is a game changer. Thank you for posting!






  4. Absolutely love this recipe! One of my fall “go-tos” for sure. Everyone that tries it asks for the recipe. And an easy hands off risotto recipe?! Almost too good to be true!






  5. Hello, I’m so excited to make this recipe for my book club gals. There are quite a few with dietary restrictions and this checks all of the boxes.

    How many servings does this recipe yield? I plan on serving 8. Thank you!

  6. I’ve made this at least ten times. Every time is awesome. I use frozen precut butternut squash & don’t even thaw it. Sometimes I’m out of fresh sage & I’ve used dried. I always add the spinach, butter and cheese at the end. I scrape with a wooden spoon and have never had trouble with burning. The nuts don’t add that much and I only added them the first time I made this. Thanks for this recipe as it’s in on my rotation list!






  7. This has become a staple in my house. Always good as a main or a side. And a 6 minute risotto in my instant pot? I’m there 🙂






  8. Confused on the stove top method…..is it 2 heaping cups roasted or raw butternut? Also, if it’s 4-5 cups water is it also then double the bullion? 🤔

    1. Hi Amanda, I understand the confusion. Use two heaping cups raw butternut, that you will roast. I would use two teaspoons of veggie Boullion paste with 4-5 cups water. 🙂

  9. Made this tonight since my veggie box arrived with a butternut squash and spinach, and it turned out well. I don’t think I changed the recipe, but I got a burn alert on my instant pot twice. I did deglaze before turning it on. After the first alert I added more broth and scraped it clean again. Not to worry, though, it turned out yummy with the cook time that elapsed between burn alerts! I expect to make this again. Thanks for the recipe.






      1. I tried again and it all worked fine with a bit more broth added- might have been an error on my part the first time. Thanks again!






  10. Second time I made this, using a conventional pressure cooker, with the cooking time as indicated for the instant pot. I‘m filing the recipe in the soul food category, so creamy and comforting! To make it even faster, I used hokkaido pumpkin instead of butternut squash — it doesn’t need to be peeled or precooked.






  11. Hi. The stovetop instructions are listed in the recipe notes with roasting the butternut as step one. And actually, you don’t HAVE to roast it -you can toss them raw like you do in the instant pot. It will still turn out tasty.

  12. Oh my God, this was fantastic! Exactly what I needed this fall.
    I modified the recipe a fair bit, using quinoa instead of risotto since I don’t have any, and using pumpkin puree in place of butternut squash, but followed everything else and it turned out incredible! Tossed in a couple of tablespoons of leftover mozzarella cheese, then topped it with a little bit of bread crumbs which made it like a warm, pumpkiny mac n’cheese.
    Beautiful recipe! – Thank you so much for sharing! I cannot wait to make it using the proper ingredients next time.






  13. This was absolutely delicious! Both hubby and I loved it. I made the instant pot version with the baby spinach, drizzled with leek sauce, and topped with the maple pecans. I microwaved the squash before adding it to the instant pot to make it easier to get out of the skin (and save some effort trying to peel it and chop into cubes). Only problem is the microwaved mushy squash gives you a burn error, so you may want to just chop into the cubes or else do it on the stovetop. What I did to salvage was I simply opened the instant pot, used a wooden spoon to scrape up the buildup on the bottom and tried again. Although I got another burn error, I just let it natural release for five minutes and it came out just fine. Very tasty. A keeper! I think I will just do it on the stovetop next time though because I find chopping raw squash hard to do.






    1. Thanks for sharing Kelly! Glad you liked this. Yes, I think just using raw cubes prevents that error!

  14. How would I go about doubling this? I would like to possibly make it for a larger group but I know the instant pot doesn’t just allow you to double everything. Thanks for any help!






    1. Hey Karrie- I have not tried doubling this- but my guess is, it should work fine? Has anyone else tried doubling?

      1. My daughter is a vegetarian and I selected this recipe as something we could make together. It was fantastic. This is our second time making this, doubled this time because the first batch didn’t last a day. We made ours on the stovetop in a large dutch oven and doubled everything, turned out perfectly. The fresh sage makes the house smell amazing when cooking.






      2. Actually I do – after my first batch – I have doubled it. I upped the time to 10 minutes instead of 6 (using frozen butternut squash) and it hasn’t failed me yet 🙂






  15. This is sooo good!!!! Creamy and wonderful. I subbed an onion because I didn’t have leeks and used vegan parm. Do not skip the maple pecans!!!






  16. My very first risotto and definitely one of the best things I have made in a while! Will be adding to the rotation regularly 😋






  17. Finally found a vegetarian recipe that I really like. It was super easy. Used Pictsweet frozen already cut butternut squash.






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