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Easy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto

This easy vegan pumpkin risotto is creamy and incredibly simple to make with shortcuts using pumpkin puree and ground herbs and spices.

A plate of creamy orange rice on a white background with a black fork on it.

Why you’ll love it:

  • It’s super creamy and has that rich buttery mouth-feel that’s missing from a lot of vegan risottos.
  • The ingredients are all very easy to find.
  • The pumpkin flavor is mild but very noticeably there.
  • It’s kid approved!
  • It’s a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree.

And if you love all things vegan and pumpkin and have some extra pumpkin puree you can also use it to make my vegan pumpkin pasta, these easy vegan pumpkin pancakes, or these perfect chunky vegan pumpkin cookies.

Ingredients and substitutes

You can check out the ingredients for this vegan pumpkin risotto in the next image and below the photo, we’ll take a look at what ingredients can be changed up a bit.

labelled ingredients on a white background including: onion, canned pumpkin puree, nutmeg, coconut milk, ground garlic, arborio rice, sage, vegan butter, olive oil and vegetable broth.

Onion: I love onion in this pumpkin risotto and think it adds a lot of texture and flavor but if you’re not a fan you can just leave it out (as a bonus this will shave five minutes off cooking time).

Pumpkin puree: I use canned pumpkin puree in this recipe and that’s what I recommend as I find canned puree has a stronger flavor than fresh homemade puree but you can absolutely substitute with homemade pumpkin puree, just keep in mind that the pumpkin flavor might be more subtle.

Ground nutmeg: This adds a lovely pop of mild heat that really complements the pumpkin flavor but can be omitted if you don’t have any or you don’t like nutmeg.

Arborio rice: While you obviously do need rice to make this risotto, you can substitute carnaroli rice if you prefer. If you can’t find either carnaroli or arborio rice, then sushi rice is actually a good substitute.

Coconut milk: I don’t recommend substituting coconut milk with another plant-based milk as they don’t cook down the same way and aren’t as creamy. You can use light coconut milk to reduce calories, just keep in mind that the end result might be slightly less creamy. Rest assured that the final pumpkin risotto doesn’t taste like coconut at all.

Dried (rubbed) sage: This is the dried sage that comes in a jar and looks like little pieces of leaves. You can substitute with ground sage but you will need to reduce the quantity. This recipe calls for three teaspoons of dried sage, for ground sage I would recommend between one to one and a half teaspoons. Sage is a bully of a herb and if you use too much food can take on an unpalatable perfume-like flavor, so if using ground I would say add one teaspoon first then add the half teaspoon later to taste.

Ground garlic: I love the taste of ground garlic with pumpkin but if you’re not a fan you can omit it. If you don’t have any ground garlic you can substitute with garlic granules in the same quantity, or use three cloves of crushed garlic.

Vegan butter: Vegan butter or a good quality vegan margarine are a must for finishing off this risotto and they add a lot of texture and flavor and loosen the risotto nicely. Four tablespoons is quite a bit but it is divided among six large portions. In a pinch, you can reduce to three tablespoons to lower calories.

Olive oil: You can use any mildly-flavored oil in place of olive oil here, e.g. sunflower or canola. I don’t recommend using coconut oil unless it’s deodorized, as combined with the coconut milk it will give the risotto a coconut flavor which is not what we’re looking for.

Vegetable broth: I don’t recommend substituting this, if you don’t have any broth to hand it’s fine to make up some with stock cubes or bouillon, just follow the package directions.

Right side of a black-rimmed plate with rice on it in an orange creamy sauce.

How to make it

This vegan pumpkin risotto was designed to be easy to make with tons of shortcuts. Here I’ll go into some of the finer details accompanied by process photos which you can check if you’re a beginner cook or are having any doubts, otherwise you can scroll down to the simplified recipe card.

First, gather and measure all your ingredients. To make the stock for the risotto, add the vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, and one cup of coconut milk to a saucepan. Whisk to combine (image one below) and then heat on high. When it’s just starting to bubble reduce the heat to medium-low. You don’t want it to be simmering as some of the liquid will then cook off, but you want it kept hot.

Split image with orange pumpkin stock in a pan on the left labelled one,and a pan with rice onions and herbs on the right labelled two.

While your stock is heating up, finely chop the onion and fry in the olive oil in another large saucepan on medium-high until softened and lightly browned (around five minutes). Add the rice, nutmeg, sage, and ground garlic (image two above).

Mix the rice, herbs, and onion well and fry another one and a half minutes, stirring often (image three below). Now reduce the heat to medium-low and begin to add the stock. I add about two-thirds of a cup at a time. Add the stock in and stir. When it has been absorbed add more stock until all the stock has been used up.

Check your rice to see that it’s cooked through properly. If it’s still gritty chances are the heat was set too high or too much stock was added at one time so it may be slightly undercooked – this is fine, you can add hot water to finish it off until the rice grains are cooked through.

A split image with uncooked rice and herbs on the left labelled number 3 and on the right orange cooked rice with white cream on top labelled four.

You can also add extra water if you want a looser texture, but in this case, add cold water and stir through well (you don’t want to add hot water when the rice is properly cooked as the rice will absorb it easier and become over-cooked).

When the rice is cooked through, add the vegan butter, place the lid on the pot and take off the heat. Set to the side for five minutes then open, add the remaining half cup of coconut milk (image four above) and stir the melted butter and coconut milk through the risotto.

Be gentle when stirring the cooked pumpkin risotto as you don’t want to beat it into a paste! Now taste and test for salt – this will depend on how salty the vegetable broth you used was, but I find that this risotto really needs a good amount of salt to let the flavors shine.

I tend to add between three-quarters to one whole teaspoon of salt. Serve hot with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!

Top-down view of a plate with orange rice on it and a black fork.

FAQ

Is vegan pumpkin risotto healthy?

Vegan pumpkin risotto is super tasty but it does contain a good amount of fat, so it’s not particularly healthy. Everything in moderation (just don’t eat it every day!), or serve yourself a smaller portion size and accompany with a protein and a side salad to make it a balanced meal.

Can you freeze this risotto?

Technically you can but I one hundred percent do not recommend freezing it. Freezing any risotto tends to change the texture of the rice and it’s quite mushy when defrosted.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftover risotto can be stored in the fridge tightly covered for up to four days. To reheat, heat on high while covered in the microwave for three minutes. Stir, test to see if it’s warm enough, and repeat if needed. You don’t want to reheat risotto to piping hot temperatures, just until it’s warmed through. Add a little water to loosen the rice if necessary and serve.


Did you make this vegan pumpkin risotto? Let me know how much you loved it with a star rating, review, and/or comment below.

Take a picture of your finished dish and tag me on Instagram (@the_fiery_vegetarian) or connect with me on Facebook, I love seeing all your creations!

A plate of creamy orange rice on a white background with a black fork on it.

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

Yield: 6 large servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This easy creamy pumpkin risotto is kid-approved and so good you won't believe it's vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups coconut milk, divided
  • 4½ cups vegetable broth (36.5 fl. oz./1 litre)
  • 1 can pumpkin puree (8.15oz/425g)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cups arborio rice (400g)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Instructions

  1. Whisk the vegetable broth, pumpkin puree, and 1 cup of coconut milk together in a saucepan. Heat on high until beginning to simmer then reduce the heat to medium-low to keep it warm.
  2. Finely chop the onion and fry in the olive oil on medium-high heat for five minutes until softened and lightly browned.
  3. Add the rice, nutmeg, sage, and garlic powder and continue to fry for 90 seconds, stirring often so the rice doesn't burn.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and start to add the pumpkin stock, about 2/3rds of a cup at a time. Mix into the rice and when absorbed add more.
  5. When all of the stock has been absorbed (after about 18 minutes), test the rice to see if it's cooked (check notes if undercooked).
  6. Add the vegan butter, place a lid on the pan remove from the heat and let sit for five minutes.
  7. Take off the lid and add the remaining half cup of coconut milk and mix the melted vegan butter and coconut milk gently into the risotto.
  8. Taste and add salt. I usually add between 3/4 to a full teaspoon but this will differ depending on how salty the vegetable broth was, and personal preference so salt to taste.
  9. Serve hot with freshly ground black pepper. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 325Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 16gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 20mgSodium 670mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 3gSugar 4gProtein 4g

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