Here is a creamy and savory Pumpkin Risotto recipe made with pumpkin puree, brown rice, sage and pumpkin pie spices. It is savory, a little sweet and so comforting and cozy for a meatless main course.

I originally shared this recipe for Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto on October 12, 2010. I have updated the photos and text, but the recipe remains awesomely delicious and unchanged. I hope you enjoy it!

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

If you are looking for a delicious, easy and healthy way to enjoy pumpkin in your weekly dinner menu plan, then this Pumpkin Risotto is just what you are looking for. It is made with brown rice. and just a handful of pantry staples, so it is simple enough to prepare, and really tastes amazing.

I know I said, easy, but does the mention of making risotto conjure images of standing at the stove for a half-hour, stirring until your arm falls off?  Don’t worry, this risotto really doesn’t require much stirring at all!

So if you are just as busy as the rest of us here at the Healthy Seasonal community, then you’ll be happy to know that you can run off and do your house chores or just scroll through instagram while this risotto cooks. 

The key is that after the rice cooks most of the way, then you’ll stir it for a little while to make the rice release its starch. That is what gives it risotto’s signature creamy and gooey yum factor.

Of course this recipe is bursting with real pumpkin too! You can use either cooked and pureed pumpkin or a can of pumpkin puree. It works perfectly with either!

Do I need to mention the pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg and cinnamon or that I’ve added in shallots, garlic, sage, and Pecorino cheese to keep it savory and delicious? Read on to learn just how easy this is to make!

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

the ingredients for this recipe with text overlay and labels

Short Grain Brown Rice

Typically risotto is made with arborio rice, but today we opted for healthier whole-grain brown rice. To make the risotto creamy, you’ll need to get short grain brown rice, like the kind by Lundberg Farms.  It is starchier than long grain brown rice so it is better for making creamy risotto. You can find it in the bulk section at the health food store and in larger supermarkets. 

Pumpkin Puree

You’ll also need pureed pumpkin.  I happened to have a cooking pumpkin from my CSA, so I roasted and pureed it on the weekend and used that. If you are short on time, this recipe works with canned pumpkin. If you want to make your Pumpkin Puree from scratch, follow these instructions for Homemade Pumpkin Puree

Pecorino Romano Cheese

I love the salty briny taste of this hard Italian cheese, but if you can’t find Pecorino Romano, substitute fresh Parmesan.

Other Ingredients For This Risotto Recipe

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Garlic, minced
  • Shallots, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Reduced-sodium broth, such as chicken or vegetable
  • Nutmeg, salt, pepper, cinnamon and fresh sage

Step By Step Instruictions For The Best Creamy Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto

steps showing how to make this recipe
  1. To make this recipe, you’ll want to have a saucepan with a lid. Unlike traditional risotto where it cooks uncovered, this recipe requires a longer cooking time with the lid on.Heat the oil in the saucepan over medium heat.  Add in the garlic and shallot and cook it just until it is beginning to brown. 
  2. Next, toast the rice by cooking it in the oil. Just stir it into the garlic and shallot and cook it until the rice grains start to get translucent in spots.
  3. Stir in wine and cook, stirring often until the wine has mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Stir in broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in pumpkin, sage and cinnamon and cook, stirring often until the mixture is thickened and the rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat, stir in 3/4 cup Romano cheese, cover and let sit 5 minutes off the heat to thicken further.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, more freshly ground pepper and sage leaves for garnish.
close up of pumpkin risotto

FAQs and Expert Tips For This Recipe

What goes with Pumpkin Risotto?

The sweet and savory tastes in this recipe pair well with salads with leafy greens and fruity elements in them such as Massaged Kale Salad with Apple. We also think our Chopped Winter Salad would be a great pairing idea. Or you can top it with chicken or roasted portobellos to make it more hearty. Serve chilled dry Italian white wine with spicy notes such as Grillo or an unoaked Chardonnay.

What are some variations to try?

You can make this recipe vegan by using vegetable broth (I like Imagine No Chicken best) and skipping the Pecorino. Add in a pinch more salt and drizzle it with olive oil for added richness. If you can find it, hazelnut oil is a great way to add buttery rich flavor to vegan dishes.
You can also add pancetta or bacon to this recipe. Brown the pancetta or bacon first, then use a slotted spoon to remove it from the pan. Use the bacon grease to cook the shallot and garlic. When the risotto is finished, stir the bacon into the risotto with the Pecorino.
You can also substitute another type of roasted and pureed winter squash such as butternut squash, red kuri or kobocha.

Can this recipe be made ahead?

This recipe is great reheated, but the texture does become much thicker as it cools. It will be too thick to reheat on the stovetop, and we recomend using a microwave. Use 100% power, and stir every one to two minutes.
Leftovers can also be made into risotto cakes. Drop 2 tablespoon scoops of leftover warm risotto onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until cold. Store covered up to two days. Cook in a hot non-stick skillet with olive oil until browned on both sides. Serve with creme fraiche or apple butter.

What is the best rice to use for risotto?

Both arborio and carnaroil are traditionally used in Italian risottos. Their short grain, and high starch make them perfect for the creamy texture of risotto. We have used short grain brown rice here because it is healthy, high in fiber and a whole grain.
This recipe works with arborio or carnaroli too. You’ll want to note that these white rices are much faster cooking than brown rice. So in step 4, cook the arborio or carnaroli covered for 15 minutes. Then remove the lid, add in the pumpkin and seasoning and cook only until the arborio is al dente, creamy and thickened.

a bowl of pumpkin risotto with sage garnish

More Pumpkin and Risotto Recipes To Try

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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close up of pumpkin risotto

Healthy, Easy and Delicious Pumpkin Risotto Recipe

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This creamy and spicy pumpkin risotto with fall flavors of sage and cinnamon is a vegetarian main course for fall. Make it with homemade pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-sodium broth, such as chicken or vegetable
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 3/4 cups pureed cooked pumpkin, or 1 15-ounce can canned pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup finely shredded Pecorino Romano cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and shallot and cook, stirring often until softened and just beginning to brown, 1 to 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in rice and cook, stirring until the rice grains start to get translucent in spots, about 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in wine and cook, stirring often until the wine has mostly evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in broth, nutmeg, salt and pepper, increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer undisturbed until most of the liquid has been absorbed, 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in pumpkin, sage and cinnamon and cook, stirring often until the mixture is thickened and the rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat, stir in 3/4 cup Romano cheese, cover and let sit 5 minutes off the heat to thicken further.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, more freshly ground pepper and sage leaves for garnish.

Notes

To Make With White Arborio Rice

Note that arborio is much faster cooking than brown rice, so in step 4 cook the arborio covered for 15 minutes. Then remove the lid, add in the pumpkin and seasoning and cook only until the arborio is al dente, creamy and thickened.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3/4 cup each
  • Calories: 211
  • Sugar: 7.7 g
  • Sodium: 411 mg
  • Fat: 6.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29 g
  • Fiber: 5.8 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g