This squash lentil risotto is comforting, nutritious and made in just one pot. This recipe is brought to you fresh from our travels in the north of Spain and is inspired by its Roman hot springs!
This lentil risotto recipe is a classic example of the food we create in Ronnie the Campervan’s kitchen! As we pondered whether to have risotto or lentil dal for dinner… we thought why not combine the two into one?! And so this squash lentil risotto was born!
The combination of risotto and lentils feels like a mini revelation to us. Both flavours and textures go great with each other, making this meal more than the sum of its components. Plus nutritionally, lentils and rice are natural partners to provide a balance of essential amino acids.
This vegan risotto with lentils is:
- A nutritious all in one meal. We love one pot meals that are less work and washing up!
- Ready in 40 mins on the stovetop, or just 20 mins if you use a pressure cooker
- Protein packed with 18g per serving
- Simpler to make than traditional risotto because there’s no need to keep topping it up with stock. Simply put all the liquid in in one go, and wait until it’s done.
With its fusion of flavours, this lentil risotto pays homage to the place it was created, the Roman thermal baths of Galicia. It’s comforting, steaming and nourishing – just like the hot springs!
What meal does not taste even better after a hot soak in an ancient hot mineral water pool or a walk through mossy autumnal forests?
Cooking with lentils
We’re a big fan of lentils! We once counted we had at least five different varieties in our tiny van kitchen. They are one of the best ways to get protein on a plantbased diet. Plus, they are also an excellent source of fibre and iron.
Red lentils are the quickest to cook, and tend to have a softer texture. They work great in curries and Indian dishes like our amazing Red Lentil Dal of Love.
Green and brown lentils take longer to cook and can have a more nutty and earthy flavour. Green lentils have a bit more of a peppery flavour, but generally they can be used interchangeably with brown lentils in recipes.
Soaking lentils is not necessary, but can cut down the cooking time by half. You can soak lentils overnight in cold water, or you can quick soak them for half an hour in boiling water.
Our squash lentil risotto packs carbs, protein and vegetables and lots of flavour into a quick and absolutely awesome dish. Serve it with a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds, or homemade vegan parmesan on top, and a green salad.
With love from northern Spain,
Paul & Sophie
Lentil Risotto with Butternut Squash
- 1 onion
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp za’atar spice mix
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 cup risotto rice
- 1 cup green lentils soaked
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp stock powder
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 cups water
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- vegan sunflower seed parmesan
- pumpkin seed oil
- Soak the lentils in water overnight, or quick soak for 30 mins in boiling water
- Dice the onion
- Cut the butternut squash up into 1cm cubes
- Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan
- Add the onion and fry until translucent
- Add the butternut squash and continue to fry for a few minutes
- Then add za'atar, garam masala and smoked paprika. Stir and continue to fry for another minute.
- Add the risotto rice and stir
- Add the lemon juice and soy sauce. Give it a good stir around to get all that spicy goodness off the base of the pan.
- Add the drained and rinsed green lentils, the garlic powder, stock powder and water. Stir all together.
- Put the lid on, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 20-25 minutes. You'll know it's ready at the end because most of the liquid will have been absorbed and the lentils will be tender with a bit of bite to them.
- Finally, stir in the nutritional yeast
- Serve with your choice of vegan parmesan, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil or just some more nutritional yeast on top!
Pressure Cooker Method
- Follow the above instructions up to step 10, but only add 3 cups of water instead of 4.
- Put the lid on your pressure cooker, bring up to high pressure. Turn down the heat and cook for 8 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release.
- Stir in the nutritional yeast when the lid has released.
Post and recipe updated in 2020 with clearer instructions and new pictures (not taken with an ancient phone!) Hope you agree that our food photography is getting better – here’s an old shot for you to spot the difference 🙂