Fall in Love with this Easy, Vegan Pumpkin Risotto! This one pot recipe features warming nutmeg, pumpkin and creamy (but dairy free!) Arborio rice. Cozy pumpkin risotto is a perfect side dish or main course for fall family dinners and the holidays!
As the leaves begin to change color and a cool breeze fills the air, there's a certain excitement that comes with the arrival of fall. It's a season that brings an abundance of delicious flavors, and one dish in particular captures the essence of this time of year: vegan pumpkin risotto!
Bursting with seasonal ingredients and irresistible aromas, this recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you yearning for more.
This dish is healthy and wholesome and just so cozy! It can easily be made oil free and is naturally gluten free & vegan as written so it will fit a variety of diets, no matter who sits at your table!
Why I LOVE this Pumpkin Risotto
One of the reasons why this vegan pumpkin risotto is the perfect fall dish for risotto lovers is its ability to perfectly capture the essence of the season.
- Easy & Cozy- This recipe requires little prep work. Most of the effort is in being patient and stirring. Take a little time to slow down and relax while watching this dish come together.
- Feels indulgent- The creamy texture of the risotto combined with the earthy flavors of pumpkin create a comforting and indulgent dish that is simply irresistible.
- Holiday Friendly- While this risotto is great for any night, it also feels like a super special side dish for fall holidays, like Thanksgiving!
- Plant based & Oil Free- The beginning of this recipe uses vegan butter, however it can be easily omitted, by sautéing in a little broth or water. The remainder of the recipe uses all healthy, wholesome and hearty ingredients.
Let's chat about the nutritious and delicious ingredients needed for this dish! Not only will you enjoy every bite, but you'll also feel good about the ingredients you're using.
- vegan butter - adds a touch of fat to this dish for an even better flavor. (Can be swapped for water or broth to keep the recipe low fat and oil free.)
- sweet onion & garlic - the classic combo to add flavor and umami
- Arborio rice
- dry sherry - adds a crisp, deep, fall flavor to this rice dish
- pumpkin puree - The star of the dish! Pumpkin is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, and its natural sweetness adds depth to the overall flavor.
- fresh sage, nutmeg, red pepper flakes - these aromatic herbs bring a subtle earthiness to the dish, complementing the creamy pumpkin base perfectly.
- sea salt
- vegetable broth
- nutritional yeast - Stirring in the nutritional yeast is where the real magic happens in this vegan pumpkin risotto recipe. This secret ingredient adds a cheesy and slightly nutty flavor to the dish, elevating it to a whole new level of deliciousness.
- aged balsamic vinegar - a touch of sweet acid drizzled over top is the perfect complement.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
First, gather all your ingredients before you start cooking. Having everything within reach will ensure a smooth cooking process and prevent any unnecessary stress in the kitchen.
- Start by sautéing the finely diced onion and minced garlic in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with some melted vegan butter (or a splash of broth). Cook them until they become translucent and fragrant, which should take about 3 minutes. The aroma that fills your kitchen at this stage will be an indication of the deliciousness that awaits.
- Next, add the Arborio rice to the saucepan and stir it gently. Allow the rice to become coated with the onion and garlic mixture for a minute or two. Pour the sherry over top and let it all get absorbed into the rice.
- Now, it's time to introduce the star of the show: the canned pumpkin puree & herbs! Add them to the saucepan and mix it with the rice, creating a beautiful orange canvas. This is where the dish starts to take on that irresistible pumpkin flavor.
- You can choose to use homemade pumpkin puree if you prefer, but the canned version offers convenience without sacrificing taste.
- Start adding in the broth, ½ cup at a time and stirring until it is all absorbed. Continue adding the broth gradually, allowing the rice to absorb each addition before pouring in more. This slow and steady process is key to achieving that creamy and velvety texture that makes risotto so indulgent.
- Keep adding the vegetable broth and stirring until the rice reaches the desired tenderness. This usually takes around 25-35 minutes, but be sure to taste and adjust as needed. You want the rice to be cooked through but still retain a slight al dente bite.
- Finally, it's time to add the finishing touches to your vegan pumpkin risotto. Stir in a generous amount of nutritional yeast, which will add a cheesy and slightly nutty flavor to the dish. Season with salt and black pepper to taste, and give everything a final stir, allowing the flavors to meld together.
And there you have it! Your very own homemade vegan pumpkin risotto, ready to be enjoyed. Serve with a light drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar for an acidic touch to finish it off!
Hint: As the rice absorbs the broth, be sure to keep stirring gently and frequently. This continuous stirring helps release the starch from the rice, giving the dish its signature creamy consistency. It also prevents the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan and ensures even cooking throughout.
- Sherry- if you don't have sherry, or like to cook without alcohol, you can substitute more broth with little effect on the flavor and results.
- Rice - Arborio rice is used in risotto for it's high starch content. That starchiness results in a creamy rice without the need to add any dairy! You can also use Carniola rice if it is available to you, but other varieties will not give you the same results.
- Butter - The vegan butter can be swapped with olive oil OR a light splash of broth to keep the fat content low and the recipe oil free.
- Broth- Vegetable broth adds a richness and depth of flavor that complements the pumpkin and other ingredients perfectly. However, if you don't have vegetable broth on hand, you can use any vegan broth, like mushroom or "no-chicken" broth as a suitable substitute.
Risotto is best served fresh right off the stove. However, leftovers can be stored in a sealed container for up to 4 days. Reheat in a pan on the stove over low heat, stirring constantly and adding a splash or too of broth, if needed, to bring it back to life.
Time Saving Hack
If you'd like to save time before the meal and prep a bit ahead of time, leave the risotto slightly under cooked! Then, when you want to serve this dish, simply add it to the sauce pan and keep cooking over medium heat, adding in the broth little bits at a time and stirring until its hot and the rice is cooked through.
Yes! Although risotto is traditionally best enjoyed fresh, you can certainly prep ahead of time. The risotto will thicken as it is stored. When you're ready to eat, simply reheat the mixture gently on the stovetop and stir in little bits of broth to bring it back to life.
To make a creamy risotto a starchy variety of rice is necessary. For the ultimate creamy risotto, Carniola rice is traditional, however it is not always accessible which is why this recipe uses Arborio. Other varieties will not give you the same results.
These are my other favorite dishes to enjoy in the fall:
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating below! Take a picture and tag me on Instagram @samcookskindness !
Vegan Pumpkin Risotto
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter* see note for oil free option
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry sherry may substitute with broth
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh sage
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups vegetable broth, divided
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- aged balsamic vinegar for serving
- Tip- Before starting to cook, set up all your ingredients nearby. A couple minutes of prepping will make your cooking experience much easier.
- Start by heating vegan butter in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add in diced onion and garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft.
- Add rice to the pan and cook while stirring for 2-3 minutes. Stir in sherry and cook until absorbed.
- Add pumpkin, sage, nutmeg and salt & pepper. Mix well.
- Start adding the broth to the saucepan, ½ cup at a time. Cook, stirring continuously. When the broth is absorbed add the next ½ cup. This usually takes around 25-35 minutes, but be sure to taste and adjust as needed. You want the rice to be cooked through but still retain a slight al dente bite.
- Remove from heat and stir in the nutritional yeast until it is completely absorbed. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately with a light drizzle of aged balsamic vinegar.
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