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)

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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

Share this with the world!

Subscribe
to get recipes via email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting to make this recipe for awhile….call me a savant, but I just knew it would be amazing. Finally made it tonight and it did not disappoint!! It was creamy and comforting and cheesy…..all the things 🙂 the spinach at the end was a perfect balance. This will be added to the rotation, for sure.






  2. If using frozen butternut squash does it change the time for instant pot cooking? Alternatively I guess I could pull some out the night before

    1. Hi Kathleen, I have not tried this with frozen butternut squash, but I bet it would not alter the time if frozen into cubes- may even help keep their shape better?

  3. Hi – I’m found your site looking for vegan recipes for my dinner guest. I spend over two hours scrolling your recipes. They all sound wonderful and the fact that they can be adapted so easily is great. I love when I can cook one delicious meal for everyone. I am obsessed with your recipes and how you explain in detail every step.
    The quotes at the end are a plus…I am a fan! Thank you

  4. good morning!
    planning to make this recipe today and wonder, if I use pumpkin puree instead of the butternut squash, how much puree would you recommend for the 5 cup servings?
    many thanks!

  5. I made this as described and is one of the best risottos that I’ve made. This was my first adventure with an InstaPot and it won’t be the last. Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    1. Hi- Karny! I’m not sure that barley would cook the same way with the same amount of liquid. You could precook the barley, then add broth as needed?

  6. I made this for my vegan daughter a few nights ago. I used a mix of Butternut squash and normal pumpkin. It was definitely better the day after, when the flavours had a chance to meld. And it was sensational with a bit of leek oil (which takes 24 hrs for the leeks to permeate the oil). So for best results, prepare the night before you would like to eat it, and do the leek oil! I didn’t bother with the maple pecans although that would have made it extra special.






    1. Hi Kristi, great question, I have not tried tripling this in an insant pot, so not positive? If it were me, I would robably add a few more minutes, but totally guessing here. Let us know how it goes!

  7. I used pumpkin instead of squash and it was delicious! Totally forgot to make the maple glazed pecans, so I can’t even imagine how good it would be with those added.

  8. Was given a squash from a friends garden’s so tried this. As always, wonderful results from your excellent website. Thank you for your generosity and commitment. Eric

  9. I love this recipe!! I did the stovetop method, and it turned out so delicious. Full, rich flavor, and the leak oil was a fun bonus. Really love that it’s vegan as well.






  10. I thought the recipe was quite tasty, but I also really appreciate that you include all points of view in the comments. You even are open enough to ask for suggestions! Yay!!! I had all the ingredients in my house except for the leeks and squash, which took a few minutes to buy.






  11. This recipe was pretty bland. I followed it to a T. The maple pecans were the saving grace. The ingredient requirements are not things you’ll have just laying around the house, so I would definitely say it’s not worth the time and effort.






    1. Hummmm- sorry this didn’t meet your expectations Finn. I wonder where it could be improved? Any ideas or suggestions?

  12. I tried this on my family tonight and it was a hit with all. Which was a nice surprise as we are all big meat eaters. The glazed pecans were a real treat. Thank you for sharing this recipe.






  13. Risotto in a pressure cooker? Every Italian I know is crying inside when they see this. Also, this recipe completely fails to take into account the lengthy and time consuming process of properly dicing butternut squash. If you do this properly and over the stove you’ll be far longer than an the advertised hour.






    1. What, @disappointed – you don’t have a sous chef?

      (I was thinking the same thing! Cutting up a butternut takes at least 7-8 minutes right there.)

      1. Hi there- this recipe is a whole lot faster with pre-cut butternut squash which you can usually find in the refrigerated section of your grocery store ( by the herbs and packaged greens.) That is what I based the timing on if you read through the recipe post. 🙂

    2. If you don’t want to make risotto in a pressure cooker than don’t 😊 Some people have a lot going on and appreciate an easier method. (The recipe is delicious by the way, if you want to try it 😊)

  14. Tried this recipe today. My instant pot wasn’t working but still truned out great for my dinner party. Everyone loved it!






  15. This was delicious and all the directions were very helpful!
    My husband, children 10, 8, 6 and myself all loved it. This will be a favorite 😍
    Thanks

      1. Very hesitant at first but thought I would have a go. Wow truly surprised by this diss ..!!! I love it the way it is but I’m going to put sliced squid in it next time I think it will complement you dish thank you x.






Our Latest Recipes