Risotto is one of my favorite dishes of the Italian cuisine. But since the traditional risotto recipe usually asks for cheese, I decided to veganize it, showing once again that being a vegan doesn’t mean that you will deprive yourself but rather opens the possibility to expand the options and to make mouth-watering discoveries. So, with a little of creativity and a lot of love, I tested a few versions of vegan risottos like this one with quinoa and butternut squash.
To make this risotto, I used several ingredients that do not appear in a traditional risotto dish. First, I replaced the rice for quinoa. The end result was amazing and more nutritious. I talked about quinoa in my recipe of eggplant lasagna with quinoa bolognese (click here to see the complete recipe).
I also made a kind of vegan cheese sauce with butternut squash, cashews and nutritional yeast. I had already made this cheese sauce using pumpkin in the zucchini spaghetti recipe (see recipe here). With this sauce, the risotto turned super creamy, colorful and with an unforgettable flavor, I guarantee! But wait, it’s not over!! I also mixed some arugula to “break” the sweet taste of the squash. This risotto is a beautiful, colorful, tasty and very healthy vegan dish!
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- 2 cups of white quinoa
- ¼ of a medium butternut squash (the equivalent of 1 cup)
- 4 tablespoons of cashews
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable broth powder
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 cup arugula (I cut the leaves in half)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- - Place the quinoa in a saucepan. Add 4 cups of water (always use the 1: 2 ratio - one part of quinoa for two of water). When it begins to boil, reduce the heat. Let it cook for about 15 minutes. The quinoa will be ready when the grains are tender and all the water has dried out.
- - Wash the butternut squash and place on parchment paper. Bake for about 20 minutes at 200°C or until the squash is soft. If you prefer you can cook it in water until it is soft. Remove it from the oven and let it cool down (I bake a half of a squash, but only use 1 cup of it).
- - In a blender, add 1 cup of the cooked squash, cashews, garlic, vegetable broth, salt and 120 ml of water. Blend until you have a creamy consistency.
- - Place the quinoa in a saucepan. Add 2 cups of water (always use the 1: 2 ratio - one part of quinoa for two of water). When it begins to boil, reduce the heat. Let it cook for about 15 minutes. The quinoa will be ready when the grains are tender and all the water has dried out.
- - Heat the oil in a pan, and stir in the garlic till they turn a pale golden. Add cooked quinoa, butternut squash sauce, and nutritional yeast. Mix well, stirring constantly for about 2-4 minutes, until you have a creamy mixture. Turn off the heat and quickly add in the arugula, mixing it well. Serve it immediately.
- - Suggestion: serve it with sautéed mushrooms and a good vegan red wine!
- Renders 2 portions