July 13, 2024


Food never sleeps.

Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto (Instant Pot Friendly!)

8 min read
Vegan Butternut Squash Risotto (Instant Pot Friendly!)

Hand holding a fork in a bowl of butternut squash risotto

We try not to play favorites in the MB kitchen, but we’re BIG fans of butternut squash and risotto. It was only a matter of time before we brought them together. This fall-forward risotto combines the sweet and wholesome goodness of butternut squash with roasted garlic and creamy arborio rice for the ultimate comforting entrée! And with the ease of the Instant Pot? We’re obsessed. 

Did we mention the optional pine nut and sage topping? Your dinner (or holiday) guests will be stunned, friends. Just 9 ingredients required! Let us show you how it’s done! 

Olive oil, pine nuts, vegan butter, coconut milk, butternut squash, sage, white wine, arborio rice, garlic, and vegan parmesan

What is Risotto?

Risotto is a rice-based dish that’s believed to have originated in Milan, Italy. The first version was called Risotto alla Milanese, and it was traditionally made with butter, onion, white wine, stock, salt, saffron, and Parmesan. Since then, many flavor variations have been created. The following is our creamy, butternut squash-filled take!

How to Make Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto

First, we roast butternut squash and garlic until perfectly caramelized. Some of the squash gets saved for topping the finished risotto, but we smash most of it with the garlic and add it to the rice. All aboard for flavor town!

Cubed butternut squash and a head of garlic on a baking sheet

While the squash and garlic roast, we can start the risotto in the Instant Pot for some ninja-style kitchen multitasking.

Risotto in the Instant Pot is a lot like stovetop risotto but without the stirring! Vegan butter and dry white wine bring a savory-sweet balance, while coconut milk and water combine for ultra creamy results. After just 8 minutes of hands-off cook time in the Instant Pot, arborio rice blossoms into risotto!

Adding water over a creamy arborio rice mixture in the Instant Pot

While the squash is in the oven and the rice is getting creamy, there’s time for the sage and pine nut topping! Toasted sage and pine nuts combine with salt for an herby, savory, and totally delectable garnish. It is optional but highly recommended!

Crushing a pine nut and sage gremolata in a mortar and pestle

Finally, it’s time to smash some squash and garlic and add it to the creamy, dreamy risotto. Lastly we add vegan parmesan for an extra savory + salty touch, and the results are just divine!

Stirring caramelized roasted butternut squash and garlic into a pot of risotto

We hope you LOVE this butternut squash risotto! It’s:

Easy to make
& SO delicious!

It’s perfect for the holiday table, as a quick weeknight entrée or side, or any time you’re craving a savory, fall-filled dish!

What to Serve with Butternut Squash Risotto

We love this risotto with Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken or a Runny Yolk Egg for a protein-rich pairing. Or for a fiber + protein boost, top with Actually Crispy Baked Chickpeas or Tempeh Meatballs.

For more veggies, try it with our Apple Pecan Arugula Salad, Abundance Kale Salad with Savory Tahini Dressing, Lemony Arugula Salad with Crispy Shallot, or Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Love Instant Pot Recipes? Try These Next!

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Cubed butternut squash and pine nut sage topping in an Instant Pot over risotto

Prep Time 25 minutes

Cook Time 50 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Servings 4 (generous servings)

Course Side

Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan

Freezer Friendly No

Does it keep? 2-3 Days


  • 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into ~3/4-inch cubes (1 large squash yields ~6 cups or 850 g)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (DIVIDED)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 large bulb garlic


  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (we used Miyoko’s // or sub olive oil)
  • 1 cup uncooked arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (14-oz.) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for topping // or sub store-bought)

TOPPING optional

  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh sage (30 medium leaves yield ~3/4 cup or 24 g)
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt


  • SQUASH: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the cubed butternut squash with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt, then spread in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.

  • For the roasted garlic: Slice the top off the garlic bulb, exposing the tops of the garlic cloves. Place on a small square of foil or parchment paper and top with the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Scrunch up the foil/paper to seal in the garlic and place the wrapped bulb on the baking sheet with the squash. Roast everything for 35-40 minutes, tossing the squash chunks halfway through the cooking time. The squash should be tender and golden/caramelized in places. After 40 minutes, remove the squash from the oven and place the foil-wrapped garlic directly on the oven rack for an additional 10 minutes.

  • TOPPING (optional): Toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly golden. This should take about 5 minutes — watch them closely as they go from untoasted to burned quickly! Once toasted, transfer to a mortar and pestle and crush the pine nuts slightly. You should still have some whole pine nuts. Alternatively, use a food processor and pulse briefly.
  • In the same skillet or saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped sage in as even a layer as possible, and don’t stir. It should sizzle immediately and begin to darken and “fry” slightly. Sauté for a few minutes, stirring infrequently, to brown the sage slightly (this allows the flavor to deepen). Be careful not to let it burn.

  • Transfer the sage to the mortar and pestle and crush the leaves to combine them well with the pine nuts. Add the salt (1/8 tsp) and toss with a spoon. Set aside your topping until ready to serve.

  • RISOTTO: When the squash and garlic are about halfway done roasting, start the risotto. Using a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot, turn on the sauté function (to the default “Normal” — not high or low) and add the vegan butter. Once melted, add the rice to the butter and stir to coat. Spread the rice into an even layer on the bottom of the pot and let it sizzle lightly for a minute to toast, then turn off the sauté function by pressing “Cancel.” Add the white wine and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the liquid is absorbed.

  • Add the water, coconut milk, and salt. Stir, making sure there is no rice stuck on the bottom or sides of the pot. Put on the Instant Pot lid and set the valve to Sealing, if applicable (some models seal automatically when the lid is turned). Pressure cook on HIGH for 8 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to pressurize, then will begin counting down. When the timer goes off at the end of the cook time, manually release the pressure. Stir the risotto to combine — it may seem a bit watery, but it will thicken as it cools.
  • When the risotto is nearly ready, remove the garlic bulb from the foil/paper and squeeze the soft roasted garlic from its papery shells onto the baking sheet. Mash well with a fork, along with 1/3 of the roasted squash. Add this squash/garlic purée to the finished risotto, along with the vegan parmesan, and stir well to incorporate.
  • SERVING: Divide risotto between serving bowls, top with remaining roasted butternut squash, and garnish with pine nut and sage topping (optional, or use more vegan parmesan).
  • Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop over medium heat, adding vegetable broth or water as needed to rehydrate. Not freezer friendly.


*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional topping.

Serving: 1 generous serving Calories: 386 Carbohydrates: 38.6 g Protein: 5.3 g Fat: 24.3 g Saturated Fat: 11.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.6 g Monounsaturated Fat: 8.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 592 mg Potassium: 715 mg Fiber: 8 g Sugar: 6.3 g Vitamin A: 23705 IU Vitamin C: 34 mg Calcium: 106 mg Iron: 2 mg

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