Sweet & Savory Butternut Squash Risotto

By October 30, 2023 Fall, Side Dish

Have you ever made risotto? It’s a starchy rice cooked in stock, a little butter and often topped with parmesan, and produces one of the creamiest rice dishes you’ll ever taste. Not the healthiest of foods, no; but paired with a nice salad it’s a balanced meal. You could also swap out the butter for olive oil and leave off the parmesan cheese to reduce the saturated fat content. (You won’t miss the cheese with the creamy yogurt on top)

As a dietitian, I love to promote healthy eating; but I also love to promote occasional indulging. Allowing yourself to indulge once in a while is far more balanced than never allowing yourself to do so.

Happiness is a big part of health you know? I was just in Michigan visiting my parents this past weekend and someone had sent my dad these amazing chocolate truffles for his birthday. I chose the dark chocolate one covered in more dark chocolate. I slowly sunk my teeth in and the moment my tastebuds registered what was happening…instant happiness. Serotonin flooded my brain and all I could focus on was how delicious each bite was.

Imagine if you could do this with all the food you ate. Guess what? You can. Ever heard the saying “stop and smell the roses?” Well, how about “stop and taste the goodness.” Because just like life, food needs appreciation too. It nourishes our bodies so we are able to walk, run, play and basically function. It’s the reason your heart beats and your lungs breathe. It creates happiness, as those truffles did for me. But in America, it’s greatly under-appreciated. It is too often manufactured, pre-packaged, and made shelf stable for years on end. In some shape or form, it’s available at every street corner. We see food as more of an inconvenience than a pleasure, and look where it’s gotten us.

I challenge you to “stop and taste the goodness” more often. It’s hard when you lead a busy life, I know. But it will change your relationship with food for the better and inevitably transform your health.

I’ll step off of my food pedestal now and get on with the recipe…

This sweet and savory risotto is to die for, if I do say so myself. And the coconut yogurt that tops it off makes it all the more creamy and satisfying. It lends a little more protein to this rather starchy dish, keeping your blood sugars in check.

Making risotto can be quite time consuming, especially if you’ve never made it or don’t make it often. With this recipe in particular, you can easily have 3 different heating elements going at once!
1 - saute pan on stovetop
2 - stock pot on stove top
3 - squash roasting in the oven

Personally, I find it fun trying to manage it all, but not everyone does. So, to make this process a bit easier, consider these tips:

Make this risotto when you have leftover roasted butternut squash. Or, plan to have roasted squash one night, and make extra (maybe even puree it so it’s ready to go) so you know you’ll have it for tomorrows risotto.
Make or heat your stock up in the microwave.


What You Need
1 TBS olive oil & a pat of butter
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic gloves, chopped
1.25 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 TBS fresh thyme
1.5 cups butternut squash puree/mash (with a dash of cinnamon & clove)
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

What To Do

Roast your Squash
- Thinly slice the ends off your squash and cut in half lengthwise. IF you have a larger squash or are having difficulty cutting it, cut it in half width-wise so that you’re left with two knobs, then cut each knob in half lengthwise.
- Remove the seeds and place squash on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over each piece and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 350 for about 25-30 minutes. Let cool (or don’t) and remove peel with fingers or knife. Mash up squash in bowl or puree using a blender, food processor or wand.

Rehydrate Dried Porcini’s
- Place mushrooms in a bowl and pour boiling water over. Cover with lid or foil and let sit for 15 minutes.

Start the Risotto
- Heat oil and butter in large sauté pan, and sauté onion until translucent (about 5-8 minutes). Lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Add the minced garlic and the arborio rice, stirring to coat each grain with oil. Sauté arborio for about 3 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of your stock and constantly stir so rice does not stick to the pan. The rice will eventually soak up all the liquid; when this happens, add a bit more stock and stir. Repeat until the arborio is al dente. Add your porcini mushrooms and the fresh thyme with one of your stock additions.
- Before adding the last round of stock, add in your butternut squash puree/mash and cook until done. Salt to taste.
Serve with sliced scallion and a dollop of greek yogurt.

The star of the show here is clearly the butternut squash. If you don’t have porcini mushrooms on hand, or simply do not care for them, leave them out. Or you could use another mushroom you like. I like them because they add a touch of earthiness to the risotto; and because fungi are good for boosting immunity.

But most importantly, don’t forget the yogurt. Siggi’s brand especially has less sugar than most brands so it won’t add a lot of sweetness, but will definitely up the creamy factor.

Enjoy 😉

(As a Siggi’s RD Ambassador, I receive coupons to purchase Siggi’s yogurt and willingly promote their products via social media. I was not compensated to write this post but my photo did win a Siggi’s Instagram contest and as a result, my fridge has been stocked with Siggis!)

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1 Comment

  • Reply 7 Healthy Thanksgiving Sides - Toby Amidor Nutrition November 24, 2023 at 7:01 am

    […] Sweet and Savory Butternut Squash Risotto Recipe and photo by Ashley Galloway MS, RD of The Fresh Beet […]

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