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Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto

IMG_0273 - Version 3
The Snowpocalypse Nemo
has hit Brooklyn. Looking out the window on Saturday morning was actually kinda a magical thing. It’s like our neighborhood  was frosted. And when the wind blew, the fluffy snow drifts fill the air with sparkles. It’s like living in a quiet, incredibly well produced and well lit, Sesame Street themed rave.

Dan took this opportunity to clean out our fridge and be incredibly productive. I baked banana bread and made a huge pot of risotto. Really it was a great excuse to stand near a warm oven and a simmering pot in our freezing apartment. Dan’s the apartment hero of the weekend. I’m just a food focused survivor.

This was all before I started checking our email. If you’re one of my friends on Facebook – you might have already heard about the shockingly insensitive and kinda confusingly mean email I got Saturday. You can read it here if you want. The thing is that it was such a confusing and unfounded personal attack that I kinda reread some of our posts to see what she could have ment by calling me “bitter” and “needing therapy” and really the only posts I could find that could clearly be labeled as bitter have to do with with losing our daughter Piper. Which kinda lead to me having a very small teary melt down this weekend. Not because I think I am a “bitter vegan” because I’m not. It was more revisiting the worst moment in my life and something I am trying to not let make me bitter. And I admit thinking about losing our daughter – knocked the wind out of me and Dan this weekend. These days are going to happen. That’s part of the process of recovering after a lost. I mean we can’t turn back time to who we were before we lost Piper but these bad days are fewer and farther between and we are lucky – we have each other and we have this blog where we get to share our love of vegan food with all of you.

We’ve been so happy this past week with Betty Goes Vegan coming out, having some of our closest friends come to town to celebrate with us, planning events in LA, Portland and Victoria, BC, being able to share all our hard work with all you and promote compassionate living in a easy and light hearted way – well it’s been wonderful time us!

Hence why we were so excited to make this recipe this weekend and share with you all this week! When we were in Istanbul last year, we found some really beautiful (and cheap) saffron in The Grand Bazaar. We’ve been rationing it out in special recipes over the year because saffron is pretty expensive in the US. We also thought it’d be a good week to share this because St.Valentine’s Day is during the week this year and this recipe reheats really well. So you can make it the night before and send it with your sweetheart to work on V-day and make their whole day a little bit more schamncy and sweet. It’s also pretty easy so even if you’re not a gifted chef – you can make this for that special someone in your life. For us this recipe reminds us of one of our favorite trips and walking hand in hand around the winding streets of Turkey in the snow.

Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto

February 11, 2013


  • 1 Butternut Squash, cleaned and cubed
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 6 Cups Better Than Bouillon, Vegan Chicken Broth
  • 6 Tablespoons Margarine
  • 2 Large Shallots, minced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Risotto Rice
  • 1/2 Cup White Wine (you might need more)
  • 2 teaspoons Saffron Petals
  • 1 Cup Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1 teaspoons Lemon Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 3/4 Cup Swiss Chard, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sumac (you can read more about this spice and substituting it by clicking here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Marjoram
  • Vegan Parmesan to sprinkle over the top
  • Step 1 Heat oven to 400.
  • Step 2 In an oven safe baking dish, toss Squash, Olive Oil and Lemon Pepper and bake until tender. It should take between 10-15 minutes. It may take longer if your squash is cut in larger cubes. Check on it while you make your rice.
  • Step 3 In your Dutch oven, melt your Margarine over a medium heat. Once your Margarine is melted, toss in your Shallots and cook while occasionally stirring until tender. Then add Rice and stir until your Rice is coated. Then add Wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of Broth and continue to mix your rice and simmer. Then mix in Saffron, Cumin, Paprika, Sumac and Marjoram and continue to mix your rice while letting it simmer.
  • Step 4 Once your Broth is absorbed, add another 1 of Broth and continue to stir. Allow that cup of Broth to be absorbed before adding another cup of Broth. Keep repeating this adding Broth, stirring and letting that cup absorb process until you’ve add all 6 cups of your Broth.
  • Step 5 You’ll notice your Rice has a little white center that gradually disappears as the rice cooks. You’ll know your Rice is cooked when you can no longer see that little white core. If for some reason you have reduced your Rice too much – add a little more Wine one tablespoon at a time until your Rice is nice and tender. This whole process should take around 20-25 minutes – it shouldn’t take more than 30.
  • Step 6 Then mix in your tender Squash, raw Swiss Chard and Vegan Cheese. Your greens will cook slightly and your Vegan Cheese will melt as you mix it in.
  • Step 7 Top with some Vegan Parmesan when you serve it and enjoy with a warm fuzzy feeling… this recipe was created using fond and romantic memories and for us is like sharing a little bit of our love story*.

* Yeah – It’s almost St.Valentine’s Day and I’m feeling super lovey not just towards Dan but also towards all the amazing people out there that have posted their love for our book, this blog and well – me.





8 thoughts on “Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto”

  • Wow, really? Maybe he/she doesn’t read stuff well like sarcasm… Reminds me of the quote from Mighty Ducks… Emilio: “I was being sarcastic. Do you guys know what sarcasm is?”
    Little Duck: “Noooooooooooooooooo.”

    Whatever. I know I don’t know you guys personally, but you’re one of my most FAVORITE blogs ever. Vegan food + geeking out = pure genius.

    Also….you guys were so cute on the Teevee!!! When are you coming to LA!?!? We’ve got clear skies and weather in the 70’s this week!

    Take care,

    Beth in LA

  • I never comment on blogs but I just had to publicly declare that whoever sent you that email is a projecting ahole.

    I also should mention that I love your blog and recipes. I am sautéing my Tofurkey sausage with olive oil and red wine right now. I got that from you and its awesome. Thank you.

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  • Christina do you buy Cous Cous in bulk or in box / bag? I have had a hard time finding it not fovalred. Granted I have not put a lot of effort into looking, I would like all foods to magically appear in my pantry or, hey even my shopping cart. I just think about it and there it is. It would make shopping so much less daunting.

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