I’m telling you now this recipe was completely a happy accident. But it’s the happiest accident I’ve made in a while, that’s for sure! I was cleaning out my fridge when I found half of a butternut squash I’d bought last week. I was trying to decide what to do with it, when I realized I should bake it and turn it into a creamy vegan cheese sauce for my favorite mac & cheese. Long story short, it then hit me that I’d run out of brown rice pasta, but there was no turning back at that point. So, I swapped the pasta for some brown rice and here you have it. The end result was this creamy, yummy vegan and gluten-free butternut squash risotto with mashed chickpea salad and dill on top.
When I first became vegan, I’d never even had butternut squash before. I quickly realized it’s the best to use when you want a creamy, cheesy sauce without any dairy in it. All you have to do is peel and cube a butternut squash, bake it in the oven, then blend it together with nutritional yeast (which is what magically gives it a cheesy flavor PLUS is completely vegan) and a little bit of salt & pepper to taste.
Once I had the sauce made, it was as easy as mixing it together in a big bowl with brown rice. I used about three cups of brown rice in this recipe, which was enough for me and my boyfriend to share. I made it for him as an early post-work dinner and he loved it! He always comes home from work absolutely starving, so I thought it’d be a nice surprise. He admitted he was skeptical at first, but after trying it he was begging for seconds.
Lately, I’ve been really into mashing up beans to make bean salads. This time, I stuck with chickpeas for a mashed chickpea salad that’s really simple. I think that’s why I like it, because it literally takes 2 minutes to make and you only need 4 ingredients. It’s a great snack if you spread it on top of rice cakes or you can use it as a topping for salads, rice dishes, pastas, tacos, or anything really.
The more carbs I eat, the more full I get and better I feel. Which is why I’ve been experimenting with more cooked meals lately that are primarily starch based. I’ve been trying to eat lots of grains, beans, and legumes on top of my usual fruits and veggies. Not to mention the endless amount of baked sweet potato I eat on a regular basis. This risotto is completely vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, dairy-free, and of course refined sugar-free. It’s different from my usual dinner, but I’ve been craving more comfort food lately and I think it’s because it’s fall now. This means there’s been lots of experimenting going on in my kitchen these days.
I really recommend trying this if you’re looking for some delicious comfort food that’s also healthy for you. I had a lot of leftovers of the butternut squash ‘cheese’ sauce which I put in a mason jar and stored in my fridge for later. But feel free to half the recipe for the sauce. I really hope you like this risotto! If you make it, please share with me on Instagram @asunshinemission and let me know what you think.
- 1/2 of a large butternut squash
- 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup of filtered water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- handful of dill, chopped
- 3 cups of brown rice, cooked
- 1 400g can of chickpeas
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp of coconut aminos
- 1/4 tsp of salt
- Preheat oven to 215 degrees Celsius.
- Peel your butternut squash and scoop out the seeds & guts with a spoon.
- Slice into 1-2 inch chunks.
- Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until tender.
- Add baked squash and nutritional yeast to a blender or food processor.
- Blend until creamy and smooth, adding water a little bit at a time until you reach desired consistency.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and blend until well combined.
- Add your cooked brown rice to a big bowl.
- Start pouring in sauce and mix well until rice is evenly coated.
- Add chickpeas to a separate bowl.
- Mash with a fork, leaving it a little bit chunky.
- Add in nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, and salt.
- Mix together until well combined.
- Scoop mashed chickpea salad on top of the risotto.
- Top with chopped dill.
- Dig in!