Vegan pumpkin risotto is a delicious recipe that creates a flavorful, rich and creamy dinner! With added spinach and fresh thyme, this is a beautiful dish from the color contrast of orange and greens.
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How to Cook Risotto
Risotto is a recipe that is notoriously difficult to make. The process isn’t overly complicated, although it does take some time and a lot of stirring.
The basic process for cooking risotto is:
- Start with oil and aromatics to build flavor. This recipe uses onion and garlic to start.
- Toast the rice. Before adding liquid, toss the rice with the oil and cook for a minute to build flavor into the rice.
- Add flavor at the beginning (or use a flavorful liquid). Many risotto recipes use herbs or spices at the end. While some herbs or spices benefit from being added last, hearty herbs and spices can be added at the start so the flavors have time to come together!
- Don’t stop stirring. Seriously, apart from the few seconds it takes to scoop your next measure of liquid, keep that rice moving around the pot the whole time. This is key for a creamy risotto with rice that’s thoroughly and evenly cooked.
- Use warm liquid. Cold or even room temperature liquid slows the process and can prevent the rice from cooking properly. I keep vegetable broth in a separate pot over very low heat when making risotto (and add wine at room temperature rather than a chilled white wine).
- Additional flavor can be added at the end! Don’t hold back on finishing touches to the risotto at the end of the cooking process.
My best risotto tip is to not make risotto after an arm/ upper body workout haha! All jokes aside, stirring continuously is key!
Spinach and Pumpkin Risotto
Pumpkin risotto is delicious, but most recipes can benefit from a touch of green! Not only does spinach add contrasting color, it also provides a boost of nutrition which is a fabulous bonus.
Spinach and pumpkin risotto is flavorful and packed with nutrition. Pumpkin is high in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium and vitamin A whereas spinach provides folate, magnesium, calcium, iron along with extra potassium and vitamin A!
I find this risotto recipe quite filling and consider it a hearty meal. However, it’s lower in protein compared to what I typically aim for. While a lower protein meal is fine every once in a while, it’s good to add a good source of plant-based protein to most meals!
How to Serve Risotto
This risotto is so delicious it can be served as is! However, if you’re looking to create a more well-rounded meal, why not try serving this with:
- Herbed focaccia bread
- With vegan goat cheese crumbles on top
- Alongside some seitan for a protein boost
I consider risotto to be a “fancy” meal and sometimes I like to go all-out and make a full 3-4 course meal just for fun. If you’re looking to do something like that, you can make spiralized beet salad for an appetizer, or keep things classic with a vegan Caesar salad. Radicchio cups or cucumber rolls are also beautiful appetizer options!
If you make this recipe, please rate and comment below to help others benefit from your experience!
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto with Spinach and Thyme
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup onion , finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 1 tablespoon miso paste , white type
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme , stems removed (about 6 large sprigs)
- ¼ teaspoon ground sage
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup white wine (dry wine preferable)
- 3 cups vegetable broth (low sodium/ no salt added preferable)
- 1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (juice of about ¼ of a lemon)
- salt (to taste)
- Warm vegetable broth in a small pot over low heat. It doesn’t need to simmer, but should be warm to the touch/ above room temperature.3 cups vegetable broth
- Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Stir in diced onion and minced garlic. Cook until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.3 tablespoons olive oil, ½ cup onion, 2 cloves garlic
- Next, stir in Arborio rice and toss to coat the rice in oil. Allow the rice to “toast” for 1 minute.1 cup Arborio rice
- Stir in miso paste, fresh thyme leaves, ground sage, ground nutmeg and black pepper. Add white wine and stir continuously until the wine is mostly absorbed into the rice.1 tablespoon miso paste, 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, ¼ teaspoon ground sage, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ¾ cup white wine
- Once most of the liquid is absorbed, begin adding in the vegetable broth in ½ cup increments. Stir continuously until most of the liquid is absorbed before adding in the next ½ cup of broth. The liquid is ready to be added when you scrape your spoon across the bottom and there’s no liquid pooling behind the spoon (see video for visual).3 cups vegetable broth
- Continue adding the vegetable broth ½ cup at a time, stirring continuously until all the vegetable broth is absorbed. This process takes about 30 minutes.
- Then stir in canned pumpkin puree, fresh spinach and fresh lemon juice. Stir until the spinach wilts down. At this point, taste the risotto and add salt if needed (often depends on how salty the vegetable broth is).1 ½ cups canned pumpkin puree, 2 cups fresh spinach, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a vegan Registered Dietitian (RD) and founder of Lettuce Veg Out.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes and easy-to-understand nutrition science.