Saffron Risotto with Roasted Honeynut Squash

I love risotto, don’t you? I have recipes for risotto in both of my cookbooks – one in Wait, That’s Vegan?! for Creamy Risotto with Shredded Zucchini and Basil Kale Pesto and one in The Vegan ABCs Cookbook for Risotto with Peas and Fresh Herbs. If you don’t have my books yet, head over to your local bookstore or online to buy them! But I digress. Let’s talk about this gorgeous bowl of goodness!

Risotto is very easy to make once you understand the technique which is all about adding liquid slowly to Arborio rice and stirring to agitate the starches which creates a super creamy dish that is completely dairy free and 100% delicious! Trust me, I have made this in cooking classes and people are shocked that they can make creamy risotto without dairy butter and parmesan cheese. And, it only takes about 30 minutes to come together!

This saffron risotto with roasted honeynut squash is the perfect fall risotto and was inspired by Ina Garten. I took her recipe and changed two things. 1) I use honeynut squash instead of butternut because they are smaller and more manageable and I like the flavor better (but you can use butternut if you like it!) and 2) the method. I steep the saffron in the hot water which makes this risotto extra yellow, extra pretty and extra delicious.

Make this for an intimate date night or serve it at a family dinner. It is perfect for whenever you have squash on hand!

Saffron Risotto with Roasted Honeynut Squash


  • 1 honeynut squash, peeled and cut into a small dice
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 big pinch saffron threads
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 4 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup vegan white wine
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish
  • Brazil nut, for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Toss the squash with a tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 30 minutes, until very tender, about the time it takes to make the risotto!

  2. Heat the water in a small sauce pan and sprinkle the saffron threads over it. Leave it on low heat to steep.

  3. Heat a wide shallow pan over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil, shallots and garlic and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until soft and fragrant.

  4. Add the rice and toss to coat with the oil and cook until the rice starts to turn translucent.

  5. Add the wine and cook until the wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add a few ladles of saffron water to the rice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Continue to add ladles of saffron water, stirring and cooking, until the risotto is al dente and creamy, about 30 minutes. Taste for doneness starting at the 20 minute mark.

  7. Add the roasted squash, butter and parsley and mix well. Cover and let sit for 2 minutes.

  8. Shave a Brazil nut on a microplane over the top. Serve and enjoy!

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