Vegan Pumpkin Risotto is a warm and comforting autumn meal. With a rich and creamy texture it’a a savory traditional Italian dish.
For the longest time I never attempted to make risotto at home. I was intimidated because I heard that it was one of the more challenging dishes to make.
I enjoyed it once in awhile when I went to an authentic Italian restaurant. However, after becoming vegan, I realized I could no longer enjoy restaurant risotto because it is traditionally made with butter and parmesan cheese.
That was when I decided to try making this pumpkin risotto recipe at home. Not only did I need to figure out how to get the creamy consistency, but I needed to figure out how to do it without dairy.
However, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought. In fact, with a few tips you can make your very own restaurant quality risotto at home. This delicious recipe has become one of my favorite fall dishes.
This vegan pumpkin risotto is made without oil, butter, or cheese, but it has a rich creamy texture thanks to the addition of coconut cream, and an umami undertone with the addition of nutritional yeast.
It’s a warm comforting dish full of the rich fall flavors that is sure to impress guests for a dinner party, or as a vegan option for your Thanksgiving celebration.
It’s also simple enough to make on a weeknight! You won’t want to miss this one!
What is risotto?
Risotto is a northern Italian dish made with a short-grain starchy rice known as arborio.
The texture is creamy, but not runny, and shouldn’t be stiff. It has a consistency somewhere in between.
Traditional risotto recipes begin with toasting the rice in butter, then adding dry white wine, followed by stock.
The stock is added one ladle at a time until all liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladle of broth.
Once all of the broth is used and the risotto rice is al dente, you then finish by adding a creamy element. This is traditionally done with added butter and parmesan cheese.
Why This Recipe Works
- Whole food plant-based ingredients
- Oil and dairy free
- Rich and creamy texture
- Easy to follow directions for beginners
- An impressive meal to serve at a dinner party
- A vegan main course option for Thanksgiving
- Easy enough to make on a weekday
- A warm and comforting autumn dish
- Easy Recipe
- Simple ingredients found at most grocery stores
Ingredients and Notes
Vegetable Stock: I use the vegetable stock to sauté the onions, and also to add needed liquid to the rice.
Chopped Onion and Minced Garlic: I used white onion, however, you can use red onion if you prefer.
Arborio Rice: This is an essential ingredients, and I highly recommend you use arborio rice, rather than another type of rice as arborio rice is what creates the creamy texture.
Dry White Wine: Adds an authentic Italian flavor, and added liquid.
Pumpkin Purée: Be sure to use pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling if buying canned. You can also make your own pumpkin purée by roasting fresh pumpkin.
Coconut Cream: For added creaminess rather than milk or cream.
Nutritional Yeast: Instead of using parmesan cheese to give an umami flavor, nutritional yeast makes for an excellent vegan substitute.
Fresh Herbs and Red Pepper Flakes: Add a garnish of fresh herbs, I used parsley, and red pepper flakes for added heat.
Tools and Equipment
Step 1: Add ¼ cup of vegetable stock to a large pot or large pan heated to medium-high heat. You can also use 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped white onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant stirring with a wooden spoon.
Step 2: Add arborio rice. Stir, coating the rice in the onions and stock. Reduce to medium-low heat. Add dry white wine. Cook, stirring frequently until rice has absorbed the liquid. Heat stock in a separate saucepan on low heat. Add 3 cups of warm vegetable stock. There should be enough stock that it covers the rice completely. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until all excess liquid has been absorbed.
Step 3: Add 1 cup of stock. Stir frequently until the liquid has been absorbed. Add another cup of stock. Repeat the process, stirring frequently until liquid has been absorbed. Add an additional cup of stock, and repeat the process again. Cook the rice until it is al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Note: At this time you will have added a total of 6 cups of stock. You may need more or less depending on how your rice cooks.
Step 4: Add pumpkin purée. Stir to combine. Add coconut cream and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat. Serve topped with fresh herbs and optional red pepper flakes.
- Stir the rice often enough that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, but not continuously as this adds air and makes it sticky rather than creamy.
- Use warm stock, not cold, when adding to the rice. Adding cold stock brings down the temperature of the rice. Using warm stock keeps everything at the same temperature and ensures an even cook.
- Don’t add all the stock all at once. Adding the stock a little at a time helps to create that creamy starchy texture.
- Don’t overcook the rice. Similar to pasta you want your rice to be al dente.
- Use a pot that is the same size as your burner because if your pot is too large the rice will not cook evenly.
- Cook the rice at medium heat. Not too hot and not too cold.
- Add the pumpkin, coconut cream, and nutritional yeast at the end of the cooking process once the rice is al dente. Then remove from heat so that the rice does not continue to simmer.
Check out this article from Bon Appetit for more tips on how to make the best risotto.
Yes, you do have to use arborio rice. It is necessary to create that creamy starchy texture that makes for a traditional risotto.
In order to make a risotto recipe vegan you must find substitutes for the butter and parmesan, and use vegetable stock. Since I don’t use oil, I use stock to sauté the onions and toast the rice. I used coconut cream instead of butter to make it creamy, and nutritional yeast to give it that “cheesy” flavor instead of parmesan.
How to Store and Keep
This vegan pumpkin risotto recipe will not be as creamy when reheated. It is best to enjoy risotto fresh.
If you have leftovers, store in an air tight container. When ready to reheat warm on the stove. Add additional vegetable stock to bring back some of the creaminess.
Keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
How to Serve
Serve this vegan pumpkin risotto recipe topped with fresh herbs of your choice. I topped mine with parsley, and red pepper flakes for an added kick. You could also top with pumpkin seeds for added crunch, and some vegan parmesan or vegan butter.
Next time I may add some fresh sage or fresh thyme!
Serve with an autumn salad such as this Kale Salad with Cranberries.
More vegan pumpkin recipes!
- Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- Pumpkin Pie Spiced Vegan Trail Mix
- Vegan Pumpkin Soup
- Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes
- Pumpkin Fluff: Vegan Pumpkin Dip
- Vegan Pumpkin Bread
- Vegan Pumpkin Muffins
- Vegan Pumpkin Brownies
- Pumpkin Vegan French Toast Casserole
- Vegan Pumpkin Smoothie
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
- 6 ¼ cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic mined
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 15 oz pumpkin puree
- 2 tablespoon coconut cream
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- parsley for garnish
- red pepper flakes for garnish
- Add ¼ cup of vegetable stock to a large pot heated to medium-high. Add chopped onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until translucent. Add minced garlic and sauté an additional 1-2 minutes or until fragrant. Reduce heat to medium. Add arborio rice. Coat in onions and stock.
- Add dry white wine. Cook, stirring frequently until rice has absorbed the liquid. Heat stock in a separate saucepan on low heat. Add 3 cups of warm vegetable stock. There should be enough stock that it covers the rice completely. Continue cooking, stirring frequently until all liquid has been absorbed.
- Add 1 cup of stock. Stir frequently until the liquid has been absorbed. Add another cup of stock. Repeat the process, stirring frequently until liquid has been absorbed. Add an additional cup of stock, and repeat the process again. Cook the rice until it is al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Add pumpkin purée. Stir to combine. Add coconut cream and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat. Serve topped with fresh herbs and optional red pepper flakes.
- This recipe is best enjoyed fresh. If you have leftovers store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to reheat add risotto and a bit of extra vegetable stock to bring back some of the creaminess.
- Stir the rice often enough that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan, but not continuously.
- Use warm stock.
- Don’t add all the stock all at once.