The Best Butternut Squash & ‘Bacon’ Risotto (Gluten Free, Vegan)

Prep: 15 minutesCook: 45 minutesTotal: 60 minutes
Yield: serves 2Category: Dinners
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This delicious Butternut Squash & Bacon Risotto recipe is packed full of lovely comforting flavours that work perfectly together in this dish. The smoky vegan bacon and crispy sage compliment this creamy risotto to create the ultimate indulgent weekend dinner.

I always shied away from making risottos as I had heard horror stories and just assumed they were very complicated to make. I decided it was finally time to give it a go and, although the constant stirring can get a little tedious, the lovely dish you will be left with is well worth it. As it is fairly time consuming this is not something I would make through the week and instead would reserve it for a weekend date night at home.

Although this is a butternut squash and bacon risotto, you can actually omit the bacon and just create a tasty butternut squash and sage version which would essentially be the same as my Pumpkin & Sage Risotto recipe but with more accessible ingredients. I like the flavour the bacon adds to this recipe as it works so well with the sage and squash so I tend to use it. Obviously I use a vegan bacon but if you eat meat you can use whatever kind you want.

If you are not dairy free you can use regular butter, cream and parmesan in place of the nutritional yeast when making this recipe. The cream is optional and you can simply omit this ingredient if you are unable to find it. If you follow a vegan diet you will need to check the kind of wine that you use, there are plenty of vegan options on the market just make sure you use a dry one. Part of the alcohol will evaporate when cooking and you will just be left with a lovely flavour that adds an extra depth to this risotto. If you do not drink you can completely skip this step, you may just need to add a little bit of extra water during the cooking process. Whenever I have made this 650ml of liquid is enough, however, if you taste test your risotto and it isn’t quite cooked you can just add in some boiling water if you run out of stock.

As this needs stirring constantly, I find it helpful to ensure everything is ready and chopped before starting so I don’t get distracted when I should be cooking. When preparing the ingredients for this dish it is best to dice the butternut squash into small cubes to ensure that they all cook as you will be adding them to the pan raw.

Do not skip the last step where you replace the lid and allow the risotto to sit as this is when it will start to become creamy. This risotto is best when eaten immediately after cooking and I would not recommend making it in advance.

If you like my Butternut Squash & Bacon Risotto you may also like my Asparagus, Pea & Mint Risotto which you can find here. Alternatively, if you are looking for more recipes using butternut squash you could try my Squash & Kale Autumn Salad, my Smokey Squash & Lentil Bake or my Stuffed Butternut Squash which you can find here.

If you like this recipe and want to show some support please leave a comment below or visit my Ko-Fi account to donate! x


  • 650ml 2 + 3/4 cups boiling water
  • 250g 1 cup diced butternut squash
  • 200g 1 cup arborio rice
  • 150ml 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 4 - 5 pieces streaky vegan bacon
  • 100ml 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp dairy free single cream (optional)
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp dairy free butter
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 handful fresh sage
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • splash olive oil


  1. Place the stock cubes in a jug along with the boiling water and stir so it dissolves
  2. Add the oil and one tablespoon of the butter to a heavy bottomed skillet and allow to heat up
  3. Peel and finely slice the onion and add to the pan along with the finely diced butternut squash and a pinch of sea salt, sautee over a moderate heat for five minutes until the vegetables begin to soften
  4. Peel and mince the garlic, stir into the pan
  5. If you are using the bacon, chop it into small pieces and add to the pan, stir well
  6. Add the rice to the pan and stir for around one minute, ensuring each piece gets fully coated in the melted oil and butter
  7. Increase the heat and pour in the wine, stirring constantly until it has mostly evaporated
  8. Stir in a generous pinch of salt and pepper and the dried sage. Reduce the heat
  9. Ladle one spoonful of stock into the rice, stirring continuously until it has been fully absorbed. Repeat this until around three quarters of the stock has been used
  10. Stir in two tablespoons of the nutritional yeast
  11. Continue ladling in the stock and, just before you add the last one, check the consistency of the risotto. It should be soft with a little bite
  12. Once ready, remove the pan from the heat and add the remaining nutritional yeast, butter and cream if you are using it. Stir briefly before placing the lid on the pan and allowing it to sit for two minutes until serving
  13. In the meantime add a little bit of oil to a frying pan and quickly fry the fresh leaves for a couple of minutes until crispy. Top the risotto with these when serving


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