Monday, January 9, 2012

Creamy Buttercup Squash Risotto

Time for some comfort food. It has been a pretty warm and sunny winter here, and with less than an inch of snow thus far you would think I wouldn't need much hibernating comfort food to get by. Well, I don't think I am suffering from seasonal depression, but some days you just need a little extra warmth from your kitchen and food. I love a warm gooey risotto with lots of flavor and the extra bonus is that this risotto doesn't need any cheese or cream to make it scrumptious. The creamy squash and coconut milk make it absolutely divine. 
Also, if you haven't tried buttercup squash yet, you must try it soon. It is so creamy and sweeter than you think. The butternut squash would be the best substitute if you cannot get your hands on some buttercup, and I think I would try a pumpkin squash next. I still have pounds and pounds of squash in the freezer that I decided to bake, puree and freeze for the winter months. Yes, you could just let your winter squash sit in a cold dark room over the winter months. But, out of convenience I decided to get a head start and just have to defrost the squash to use. So not only is this meal comfort for a weary soul, but it is also a great meal for budget-friendly and convenience purposes. But I didn't tell you that. You won't be thinking about that after your first bite. You will be thinking about a divine second and third bite.
This risotto recipe is also extremely simple to make with just a few ingredients. Then pair this with a side spinach salad or brussels sprouts and you have yourself a nutritious and delicious meal. I also used a whole grain rice instead of a white or enriched version. So this risotto is packed full of whole grain goodness, fiber, lots of vitamins from the squash, and not to mention some healthy fats from the creamy coconut milk. It is satisfying and filling and will not have you looking for more a few hours later. That is a good test to see if your body is getting the nutrients it needs. If you feel hungry a lot and even after a large meal a few hours later then your food may be lacking nutrients and your body may be still "hungry" for more. More nutrients, vitamins and fiber.
So, you can't go wrong with a dish like this. Especially in the middle of winter. No need for extra calories or meat here, just a bowl of some sweet creamy goodness to fill you up. Seriously you won't regret this dish. You will thank me later.
Creamy Buttercup Squash Risotto Recipe (vegan)
1 medium to large sweet or yellow onion, finely chopped
1 TB of finely minced fresh garlic
2-3 TB of olive oil
4 cups of buttercup squash puree (butternut or pumpkin squash could be subs here)
1 can of full fat coconut milk (or use half of the can if you want to lower the calories)
6-7 cups of vegetable broth or homemade stock
2 ts. of wheat-free tamari sauce
cracked black pepper and sea salt to taste (start with 1/2 ts. of each)
2 cups of sweet short-grain brown rice ( I used Lundberg's)
3-4 TB of fresh thyme leaves
2-3 ts. of dried Italian herb blend (or use fresh herbs: oregano, basil, sage, margoram)

In a large pot (8 quart), saute the chopped onion and minced garlic in olive oil. Then when soft add the squash puree, coconut milk, broth, and tamari. It will look like you are making a soup and then you will add the rice and herbs. The amount of herbs you use may vary on your own liking. I like it full of herbs so I go a little bit overboard. Then stir and cover until it comes to a boil. Then turn down the heat and stir every few minutes until the rice is completely cooked and the liquids have been soaked up by the rice. This will take about 45-50 minutes completely. You do not need to constantly stir, but you do need to keep the heat lower and a close eye on it to make sure it doesn't cook too quickly or burn. Then when the rice is cooked through, turn off the heat and let the risotto sit and cool for 10-15 minutes. This remaining time with really thicken it up. Then stir well and serve warm with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, pine nuts. If you like dairy, then a sprinkle of some Parmesan cheese would be fabulous as well. 

This recipe serves 6-8 people.

Now, serve and enjoy. This dish is so simple and yet so decadent. It almost seems like it should be dessert, which is a good thing if you are trying to avoid desserts, sugar or sweet treats. A sweet and savory combo really hits the spot.

Hope you have a warm and cozy Monday.

Much love to you!


  1. I haven't made risotto in over a year and I used to make it all the time. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. This looks incredible! Love risotto. One of my go-to meals!

  3. This risotto is amazing, thanks so much for sharing ;)