Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto is comforting and delicious. Filled with sweet butternut squash, basil pesto, and mushrooms, it is flavored with white wine for a savory finish.
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
I continue to be inspired by the Instant Pot. Yes, it does make beans in a flash like these Pinto Beans and Black Beans, but it is very versatile. It is even possible to make pasta in the Instant Pot!
This vegan risotto butternut squash is a beautiful spring dish that cooks perfectly in the Instant Pot. Don’t feel like cutting the squash up? Some markets sell it pre-cut into cubes! Just get about 20 oz worth, and that should do the trick.
Roasted butternut squash risotto is a great dish to serve for a spring celebration, and making it in the Instant Pot frees you up to concentrate on the other dishes in your meal.
While discussing delicious food, don’t miss my new green soup made with asparagus, peas, and zucchini. It’s super tasty and made with lite coconut milk, but you can use another non-dairy milk if you prefer.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto
- Easy enough for weeknight dinners
- Fancy enough to serve to guests
- Family Friendly
- Simple step-by-step directions
Vegan Risotto Butternut Squash
Because we’re not using any cheese in this dish, as most risottos do, I think having this basil pesto topping is super important. It has just the punch of flavor you want to compliment the creamy, somewhat neutral risotto flavor. I like to make extra pesto and save it for other meals.
This basil pesto is awesome and easily made into a dressing by adding a little fresh orange juice. The orange juice really complements the basil.
In fact, you could make a salad to go on the side with the risotto and top it with this Orange Basil Dressing. How about my Arugula, Apple, Beet Salad, or Kale Brussels Sprouts Salad?
How To Make Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
This recipe makes eight servings, so cut it in half if that’s too much.
Step 1: Sauté onions
Turn the pressure cooker to Sauté and toss in onions and water. Cook until they are light brown and the water evaporates. Stir in the butternut squash and cook until the squash begins to soften.
Step 2: Add ingredients
Add the mushrooms and cook for an additional minute. Mix in the garlic and sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until the alcohol burns off. Add the rice and seasonings. Pour in the broth and deglaze the pot. Put spinach leaves on top, and do not stir.
Step 3: Cook & prepare basil pesto
Cook on manual with high pressure for 6 minutes, followed by a quick release. While the roasted butternut squash risotto is cooking, prepare the basil by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor. Add water until it reaches desired consistency.
Drizzle basil on top of vegan butternut squash risotto and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Note: I’ve included stovetop/oven directions in the Notes section below the recipe.
Vegan Risotto Butternut Squash Tips
- Make the right cuts: Cut the butternut squash evenly and into bite-sized pieces. This allows it to cook evenly and makes it easier to eat.
- Use Pre-cut: Save time by using pre-cut butternut squash. Many grocery stores have bags of it that are ready to use.
- Frozen is OK: It’s fine to use frozen squash, but you’ll need to thaw it first.
- Season well: Add additional seasonings and spices based on your flavor preferences.
Butternut Squash Risotto Instant Pot FAQs
What can I substitute for white wine?
You can swap the dry white wine for water or vegetable broth.
Do I have to use butternut squash?
No, you can substitute pumpkin or acorn squash instead of butternut squash if you’d rather.
Can I use different rice?
While I usually recommend using brown rice, I prefer the creamy texture of Arborio rice. You may be able to use brown or white rice, but I haven’t tried this butternut squash risotto Instant Pot recipe with any other rice.
Can I make it ahead?
This Instant Pot butternut squash risotto is best when served fresh. It becomes gummy as it sits; however, you can save leftovers. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet with a dash of vegetable broth or water to moisten it.
A healthy meal, plant-based and savory. Add a few more to your list:
- Classic Basil Marinara with Angel Hair Pasta
- Chili Topped Potatoes with Corn Salsa
- Moroccan Stew with Kale
- Pasta Puttanesca with Spinach
This Butternut Squash Risotto Instant Pot recipe has all the wonderful plant-based nutrition you need. With the addition of spinach for your greens, the beautiful orange squash, and medicinal mushrooms, you’re getting a healthy dose of nutrition in this meal.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for this Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto! If you have a photo, post it on my Instagram page, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking in your caption, and I won’t miss it!
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 1 Tbl garlic crushed
- 4 cups butternut squash peeled, seeded and large diced
- 2 cups Arborio rice (uncooked)
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or 4 cups homemade)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional but adds a great flavor. Add more water if you don't use it.)
- 1 8 oz package Baby Bella mushrooms sliced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp dried parsley
- 1 5 oz bag baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil tightly packed
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley tightly packed
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbl light miso
- 3 Tbl nutritional yeast
- 1/8 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 Tbl fresh lemon juice
- 2-4 Tbl water more or less depending on desired consistency
- Add 1/4 cup water to the Instant Pot. Hit “Sauté.” Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes so it softens and just lightly browns when the water runs out. Then, add the butternut squash and stir with the onions for another 1-2 minutes. The squash will still be very hard but will soften.
- Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for another minute. Finally, add the garlic, stir with everything else and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Add the white wine and once it bubbles, let it do so for another 2 minutes so some of the alcohol burns off.
- Add in the rice and mix it in with everything in the pot.
- Add the broth, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, Italian seasoning and dried parsley. Stir well, deglazing (scraping) the bottom of the pot and then place the spinach on top (but do NOT mix in with everything else – just let it rest on top.)
- Secure the lid, hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and High Pressure for 6 minutes. Use the quick release when done and stir the spinach in with the risotto.
- Make the basil pesto and serve with a dollop.
- Blend basil, parsley, garlic, miso, nutritional yeast, pine nuts and lemon juice in food processor.
- Slowly drizzle in water while machine is running to desired consistency.
- Place the rice with 4 cups of the vegetable stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, along with the seasonings. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
- In the meantime, place the onions, squash and the sliced mushrooms (keep them separate) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes along with the rice. If you need to, use 2 baking sheets, but you may not have room for two and therefore, need to roast them separately from the rice. Remove the onions, squash, and mushrooms when the squash is tender.
- Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash with a fork. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is al dente, remove from the oven and place over medium heat. Add an extra 1 cup vegetable broth (not in the Instant Pot version), the spinach, the wine, salt, and pepper, and stir until the rice is thick and creamy and the spinach is wilted. (Another option is to cook the rice with the wine instead of adding it later.)
- Add the onions and butternut squash and stir again to heat through about 2-3 minutes.
How much miso added for the pesto?
Woops, that’s 1 Tbl miso. Thanks for pointing that out. I updated the ingredient list.
How would you do this without an Instant Pot?
Good question. I’ll put the directions for cooking without an Instant Pot on the recipe itself in a day or so… In the meantime, here’s what I would try, although I haven’t tested the recipe using this method and can’t say how it’ll work. Risotto typically takes tending when cooking on the stove because you add the liquid a little at a time until it’s absorbed but I’ve read that you can make risotto in the oven without tending to it so I would try baking it separately along with the onions, squash, and mushrooms. This should speed up the process and add flavor.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the rice and 4 cups of the vegetable stock in a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset, along with the seasonings. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
In the meantime, place the onions, squash and the sliced mushrooms (keep them separate) on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes along with the rice. If you need to, use 2 baking sheets, but you may not have room for two and therefore, need to roast them separately from the rice. Remove the onions, squash, and mushrooms when the squash is tender. Continue to bake the rice for the 45 minutes.
Transfer the squash to a bowl and mash with a fork. When the rice has absorbed most of the liquid and is al dente, remove from the oven and place over medium heat. Add an extra 1 cup vegetable broth (not in the Instant Pot version), the spinach, the wine, salt, and pepper, and stir until the rice is thick and creamy and the spinach is wilted. (Another option is to cook the rice with the wine instead of adding it later.) Add the onions and butternut squash and stir again to heat through about 2-3 minutes.
OK, fingers crossed that it works. One of my concerns is the amount of liquid to use. Let me know if you have any feedback.
I tried this, but it ended up with a lot of liquid left over and the rice was hard and did not fully absorb the liquid. I followed the directions exactly…any ideas? 6 minutes didn’t seem like enough time using the manual mode.
Hi Jonathan and thanks for the feedback. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what happened, but I will make this again to test it and get back to you.
I’m trying this tonight? Any insights on above “liquid” comment?
Hi Krista, I haven’t had a chance to retest the recipe, so I can’t give you a definitive answer, but I looked at a few other recipes out there. Most called for high pressure and 6 minutes, 1 at 5 minutes. If someone didn’t use arborio rice but brown rice instead, that might make the difference in cook time. As for the amount of broth, that varied a lot so I can’t say what to recommend now until I’ve retested. One note is that risotto is usually very creamy compared to a regular rice dish. Some recipes use cheese (which we don’t here) and that can help thicken the rice. The squash will become very soft during the cooking, by the way. Oh, and another note, this does make a large amount.
Lastly, I think the basil pesto really adds a nice punch of flavor as the other ingredients are very subtle flavors, at least for my taste.
I’ll be testing this recipe again soon and will have better answers for you then.
Made this last night with 1 cup of rice and 2 cups of broth, no wine, but a little water for that step. Worked well, rice was cooked nicely. When I opened the instant pot (after quick release) it looked like there was too much water left over, but once I mixed it, the consistency was right. Had it with an arugula and pomelo salad and it made a comforting but easy weeknight meal. Thanks for the recipe, if using softer vegetables, do you think lay them on top like the spinach, or would softer not work in the instant pot?
Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad it worked well for you. I know the spinach and squash give off liquid, as well. I’m not sure about softer veggies. I’d worry they’d become too soft, but I you could give it a try.
I followed the recipe almost exactly but my instant pot kept giving me a BURN alert and I had to open up and add more liquid. Ended up adding 8 cups of broth. Not sure why it need so much more liquid! I did use frozen squash that was thawed out in water and drained, so maybe there was less liquid from the squash than it needed?
Hi Kat, I’m so sorry about that. I don’t know why that would happen as others have said there’s too much liquid. Maybe it depends on the rice if you happened to use something other than arborio. I wouldn’t think the frozen spinach would affect it as it usually has plenty of liquid. Did you use the mushroom, they have a lot of liquid. I’d better get cooking…this one I need to test again. Thanks so much for your feedback.
I got the burn alert as well! Weird, I thought I did everything to avoid it. Not sure what happened.
Well, that is weird. I wonder if it could be that different pressure cookers make the difference… maybe run hotter than others. Anyway, I’m sorry. It seems like the extra veggies would add even more moisture so I don’t think that’s it. It’s on my schedule to make next week so I can figure out this mystery. Thanks for the feedback.
I halved this recipe and left out the mushrooms (didn’t have any). I thought the rice was perfectly tender. The spinach was a little over cooked — I guess I could have just stirred it in at the end. Nice with the pesto on the top, this is a keeper — so fast. No issue with the burn message.
Hi Erika, thank you so much for the feedback. That’s super it worked out for you and that you enjoyed the recipe!! I’m started to think for people who are having trouble that perhaps it’s their Instant Pot. I can’t say for sure, but with this much variation, something’s going on.
Hi. Going to try this tonight. Is the rice uncooked when our in pressure cooker ??
Yep, that’s uncooked arborio rice.
Delicious. Followed the recipe exactly and didn’t have any issues! It’s really filling and makes a lot so this should last me for a while. It was my first time making basil pesto period, let alone a dairy free version. The nutritional yeast gave it a yellowish color but it’s delish! Thanks for the recipe!
Hey Stephanie, thanks so much for the feedback! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.
Elizabeth A Perkoski
Can’t find miso anywhere right now. Any recommendations how to adjust the recipe?
Miso mostly adds saltiness to the pesto so I think you can leave it out with good results. You’ll want to taste it for salt and perhaps add some for flavor. I hope that works for you.
Made this tonight and it was delicious! No liquid problem here – must be the rice? I made sure to get arborio, perhaps others used a different rice with less liquid absorbing abilities. Thank you for sharing! Such a fantastic vegan recipe 🙂
Hey Jordyn, thanks for your feedback! I think you’re right that the rice can made a difference. I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe. 🍎
I just made this, and it was absolutely delicious. I followed the recipe and the steps exactly, and the rice came out to the perfect consistency. I’m adding this to my weekly rotation in the winter, and already bought 15 more pounds of rice. Thanks so much for teaching me how to use my insta pot!
Fantastic, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Hi. Thinking of giving this a try tonight. But I don’t do mushrooms. Any issue if I just leave them out? Or should I replace with something else? TIA
Hi Megan, Yes, it’d be fine to leave them out. They do add some moisture so I’m not sure, but it shouldn’t dry out the risotto. 🙂
Hi. I made this for my wife on Mother’s Day and followed it to a T and it came out perfect. It’s going on top keepers list. Thank you.
Hey Fernando, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for letting me know.
I didn’t pay attention to how much this would make so I’ve ended up with way too much! It turned out really well, though. Any thoughts on how long it will be good for in the fridge?
Hey Rachel, Freezing is an option but some say it might affect the texture and become grainy or lose some creaminess. Here’s an article that goes into quite a bit of detail about freezing risotto. Otherwise, it should keep well covered in the fridge for 5 days. Glad you enjoyed the recipe.