Warm and comforting, Pumpkin Risotto is made with tender grains of arborio rice in a creamy pumpkin sauce. It’s elegant enough for a holiday meal, yet easy enough to whip up on a busy weeknight. The perfect dinner to enjoy on chilly nights and can be on the table in less than an hour.
Pumpkin risotto is a flavorful vegetarian dish that works as a main course or side dish. It’s packed with delicious fall flavors and turns out so incredibly creamy. It’s great for family dinners or the holidays.
Risotto is one of those dishes offered in many high-end restaurants, and it has the reputation of being quite fussy to make. This pumpkin risotto looks and tastes fancy, but it is actually quite easy to make. We love this served with roasted turkey breast, crispy baked chicken thighs, or as a light main course option.
Why you will love this recipe
- Made healthier: The pumpkin in this recipe, makes the risotto super creamy without the need for cream or butter, like most risotto recipes. This dish is lighter and healthier, yet still so flavorful.
- Nutrient-rich: The pumpkin not only adds flavor and color to this dish but is also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making each bite tasty and nutritious.
- Perfect creaminess: Due to the naturally creamy texture of pumpkin puree and the special cooking method of the arborio rice, which releases its starches slowly, this has a perfect consistency that’s so satisfying and cozy.
- Perfect for any occasion: Serve this pumpkin risotto for a weeknight dinner or add it to the menu for a holiday side. Everyone will love the delicious fall flavors!
This fabulous pumpkin risotto recipe is packed with caramelized onions, pure pumpkin puree, and short-grain Italian rice to create a mouthwatering, fall-flavored dish! Here’s a note on all of the ingredients you’ll need:
- Olive oil: For sautéing the onion and garlic. You may also use avocado oil.
- Onions: The onions are caramelized until rich, sweet, and golden brown.
- Garlic: Cooked with the onions to add deep, complex flavor to the dish.
- Stock: Use vegetable stock or chicken stock for lots of added flavor and to get that classic creamy consistency. To keep this a vegetarian-friendly meal, use vegetable broth.
- Pumpkin puree: You can use homemade pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin puree, just be sure not to use pumpkin pie filling, which has added spices and sugar.
- Kosher salt & pepper: The only seasonings needed to bring out all of the delicious flavors.
- Arborio rice: It’s essential to use arborio rice for this recipe so that your risotto cooks up nice and creamy. Do not use regular white rice or brown rice. It will not cook the same way.
- Parmesan cheese: For the best flavor and melting, we recommend freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- Herbs: Garnish with fresh thyme or another favorite herb, like sage or rosemary for color, if you’d like.
How to make this recipe
- Sauté onions: Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onions until golden and caramelized, stirring often, for 12-15 minutes. Set aside half of the onions to use as topping.
- Simmer the pumpkin sauce: While the onions cook, heat the stock in a saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. Add in the pumpkin puree and stir well to combine. Keep the stock mixture over low heat.
- Cook garlic and rice: To the remaining onions from the skillet add the garlic and rice, and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add pumpkin stock mixture to rice: Start adding the pumpkin stock one ladle at a time, stirring after each until fully absorbed. It should take you around 20-25 minutes to finish all the stock.
- Finish with parmesan cheese: Once the rice is cooked and plumped, stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt and ground pepper if needed, and top each serving with the remaining caramelized onions. Garnish with fresh thyme or other freshly chopped herbs, if desired.
tips & variations
- Try a different squash: Feel free to substitute the pumpkin puree with butternut squash puree or even mashed sweet potato. You’ll love our delicious mushroom butternut squash risotto!
- Don’t rinse the rice: Many rice recipes, instruct you to rinse the rice, but in risotto, the extra starch is what makes this super creamy.
- Toast the rice: Be sure to follow the instructions and toast the arborio rice while sautéing the garlic. This process infuses it with flavor and helps to create a barrier around the grains, so that it absorbs the liquid slowly, which keeps the rice from becoming soggy and mushy.
Frequently asked questions
This makes a satisfying vegetarian main dish served with a fresh green side salad or roasted vegetables. You could also serve this as a side dish with parmesan oven-roasted chicken breast or crispy baked salmon if you want more protein.
Risotto is an Italian dish made with a special high-starch, short-grain rice such as Italian Arborio, Carnaroli, or Vialone Nano rice. This variety of rice can absorb quite a bit of liquid without becoming mushy. During the cooking process, the rice absorbs the liquid and releases starches creating that signature velvety, creamy texture.
Trying to make risotto with regular rice is not a good idea. Long-grain white rice, jasmine rice, and basmati rice won’t have the same texture or creaminess you get from risotto rice.
Pumpkin risotto is best enjoyed the day it is made. However, leftovers will keep for 2 to 3 days in the fridge, in an airtight container. Reheat in the microwave with a splash of vegetable broth or stock and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
More savory pumpkin recipes
- Creamy Pumpkin Pasta
- Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
- Pumpkin Spice Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Turkey Pumpkin Chili
- White Bean Pumpkin Chili
- Easy Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Recipes you may also like
- Pumpkin Hummus
- Pumpkin Oatmeal
- Chicken Cabbage Soup
- Pumpkin French Toast
- Baked Feta Dip
- Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken
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Easy Pumpkin Risotto
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions halved and sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves pressed
- 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock warm
- 2 cup pumpkin puree
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 1/4 cup arborio rice
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: fresh thyme or herbs of choice to garnish
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the onions until golden and caramelized, stirring often, for 12-15 minutes. Set aside half of the onions to use as topping.
- While the onions cook, heat the stock in a saucepan over medium-low heat until simmering. Add in the pumpkin puree and stir well to combine. Keep the stock mixture over low heat.
- To the remaining onions from the skillet add the garlic, and rice, and sauté for 1 minute.
- Start adding the pumpkin stock one ladle at a time, stirring after each until fully absorbed. It should take you around 20-25 minutes to finish all the stock.
- Once the rice is cooked and plumped, stir in the grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt and ground pepper if needed, and top each serving with the remaining caramelized onions. Garnish with fresh thyme or other freshly chopped herbs, if desired.