Dairy-Free Butternut Squash Risotto

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It’s time for risotto! This dish is already so fulfilling, we decided to take it a step further and incorporate one of our favourite fall flavours: butternut squash. Enjoy this simple recipe tonight, just make sure that your stock is kept at a bare simmer, and that you don’t stir too much. Combine both of these rules, and you’ll have the perfect risotto, every time!

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


For the butternut squash:

  • 28 g / 2 tbsp Crystal margarine
  • 3 g / 1 g / 1 tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 930 g / 6 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 6 g / 1 tsp salt
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 g / 1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the risotto:

  • 880 ml / 3 2/3 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 57 g / 1/4 cup Crystal margarine, divided
  • 125 g / 1 cup yellow or white onion, diced
  • 70 g / 1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
  • 65 g / 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 250 g / 1 1/4 cup Arborio rice
  • 172 g / 2 cups cremini mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 3 cloves / 3 tsp garlic
  • 160 ml / 2/3 cup white wine
  • 7 g / 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 g / 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 g / 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 30 ml / 2 tbsp lemon juice


For the butternut squash:

  1. In a large dutch oven, over medium-high heat, melt the Crystal margarine until bubbly. Stir in the thyme leaves.
  2. Add the cubed butternut squash. Sautée until squash pieces are coated with Crystal margarine.
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  4. Sprinkle the squash with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir to coat. Let fry for a few minutes before stirring to brown the other sides. Cover and lower heat to medium-low, and cook until squash is tender yet still firm; about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a dish and cover to keep warm. The dutch oven will be used for the risotto, so it is not necessary to wash it.

For the risotto:

  1. In a medium pot, bring the vegetable stock and bay leaves to a simmer. Keep the stock at a low simmer.
  2. In the same dutch oven placed over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons (43 grams) of the Crystal margarine; until foamy. Add the diced onions, carrots and celery. Sautée vegetables until they are soft and the onions are lightly golden and translucent; about 5 to 7 minutes.
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  4. Add the remaining tablespoon (14 grams) of Crystal margarine to the pot. Add the Arborio rice. Stir and coat the rice with the Crystal margarine until the rice becomes slightly translucent. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Sautée until mushrooms release some of their juices and the garlic becomes fragrant; about 1 minute.
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  6. Add the white wine to the rice, gently stirring until the rice absorbs the liquid.
  7. Add a ladle (or about 1/2 cup / 120 milliliters) of the just-simmering vegetable stock to the risotto, the salt and the pepper. Stir until the liquid is absorbed. Adjust the heat, if needed, to maintain a gentle simmer on the rice. Do not boil. Repeat process until all the stock is finished and the risotto is creamy. Discard the bay leaves.
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  9. Turn off heat and immediately fold in the warm butternut squash cubes, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Garnish with chives, or fresh thyme, and/or lemon zest. Serve immediately.
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Chef Notes

  • Ensure stock is kept at a bare simmer. Too cold of a liquid going into the rice will result in the risotto taking longer to cook. Too hot of a liquid going into the rice and the rice will not allow the slow release of the starches from the grains necessary for a creamy risotto.
  • Do not vigorously stir the risotto, as this will break down the grains of rice resulting in a gummy finished product.
  • Add more stock once the liquid is absorbed by the rice and when pulling a wooden spoon through the rice leaves a liquid-free path (bottom of the pan is visible).
  • If stock used is not low-sodium, adjust the amount of salt to taste.


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