Butternut Squash Risotto

This recipe has seen several variations over the course of this blog.

The first version, made when we were newly vegetarian and pre-food intolerance mayhem, was amazing. It was the first risotto I had ever made. And the first risotto I had ever had sans cheese.

Enter in a nightshade intolerance, and the recipe had to be updated. Version 2.0 swapped out the red peppers and substituted onions in it’s place. Again, amazing.

Our current variation came about because of my (ridiculously annoying) sensitivity to all forms of alcohol, including cooking wine. Meaning it had to be omitted from the recipe.

In it’s place, I use apple cider. And it honestly makes my heart sing to be able to cook with it. If I could subside of apple cider all day, every day…I totally would.

This risotto is the perfect main or side dish for Thanksgiving, and has been part of our traditional dinner for the past 4 years.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yields 6-8

Butternut Squash Risotto

10 minPrep Time

35 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

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  • 1 small butternut squash, diced into 1/2-inch cubes (approx. 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (red or white), chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbs freshly chopped parsley or basil


  1. Steam the squash over boiling water until tender, about 15 to 18 minutes. Measure out 2 cups of the squash and set aside; reserve any remaining squash for another use.
  2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, cover and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat with oil. Add the squash and apple cider and stir gently until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of the stock and cook, stirring, until it is absorbed. continue to add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring each time until the liquid is absorbed before the next addition, until the risotto is creamy and the rice is just al dente. It should take about 25 minutes total.
  4. Add in parsley or basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, gluten free, wheat free, egg free, soy free, and corn free.


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More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a meditation encourager, mama, and Pittsburgh enthusiast. She recently launched a podcast called Nourish + Flourish and is a co-pilot at Propelle.


  1. Reply That looks absolutely DELICIOUS. The first (and only) risotto I ever made was with goat cheese but I've been thinking of making another one soon. I love the way this looks creamy and golden-delicious.
    1. Reply This is a household favorite. We have been making it since we became vegetarians and never get tired of it.
  2. Reply Jason and I had some sort of frozen steamfresh risotto last night (which actually wasn't half bad) and I was saying that I wanted to try my hand at making my own sometime.
    1. Reply Risotto isn't so hard to make, it's just time intensive. This is a great one to try your hand at for a first risotto. Mostly because it's delicious. But also because it's in season.
  3. Reply This looks fab and I can't wait to try it! Could you clarify one thing for me please, what is Apple cider? I am in the uk and we have 'cider' but it is alcohol or we have 'Apple cider vinegar' - is it either of these?! Thanks in advance. Looking forward to this risotto! x x
    1. Reply Sophieβ€”Apple cider in the US is a non-alcoholic and generally seasonal (fall) beverage. I would say that apple juice (perhaps cloudy?) would be the closest thing. You could certainly try the alcoholic version or sub with white wine. Hope that helps!
  4. Reply Thank you Emily! Just made it (used pure, cloudy apple juice and it was AMAZING! Thank you so much :-)
    1. Reply HOORAY!! Glad to hear it was a success.

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