When I was a kid, I had a reputation for rejecting squash in all forms. Summer squash, zucchini, acorn, or butternut. You name it, I was not game. Over the years, my parents developed some creative tactics to get me to eat squash. Most of them, however, involved smothering the vegetable in either cheese or sugar. Sure, it was somewhat effective. But it’s probably not the healthiest way to enjoy squash. My parents never went the the risotto route, unfortunately. However, I can guarantee that even as a child, I would have chowed down on this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto. Basically, it’s the adult (and healthy) version of smothering your squash in cheese.
In fact, in a lot of ways, risotto is kind of like adult mac and cheese that you can serve at a fancy dinner party. This recipe uses non-fat parmesan cheese to keep things classy. And by classy I mean rich, flavorful, and also light. Yep, parmesan is something of a free pass for the health-conscious cheese lover. And stirred into this slow cooker butternut squash risotto, it provides all the rich cheesiness you (or your resident picky eater) crave with way less fat.
As usual, the slow cooker is a life saver in this recipe. Basically, this meal is a two step process. Put everything in the slow cooker, then stir in the parmesan for a cheesy finish. You can cook this dish on high for two to three hours, or on low for four to six if you want to have a little more free time to kill.
However, the slow cooker isn’t just there to make your life easier. The slow cooking process really helps this dish to fully absorb its rich flavors and seasoning. This recipe includes dried rubbed sage, garlic, and onion. The slow cooker allows these flavors to really soak into a dish, yielding a rich, full taste.
Whether you’re a squash lover or hater (or just live with one), this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto should provide some common ground. The butternut squash brings some rich, hearty flavor for its fans, while the cheesy risotto will help distract less enthusiastic squash eaters.
Make this dish for a dinner party, home-cooked weekend meal, or use it to trick your kid into eating squash. (Or use it to trick yourself into eating squash. Whatever you have to do!) Either way, it’s a creamy, cheesy crowd pleaser for even the pickiest of crowds.
If you like this Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto, definitely check out some of these other creative risotto recipes, including:
And if you’re really a butternut squash fan, be sure to check out some of these recipes as well:
- Butternut Squash and Spaghetti Alfredo
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Kale Stew
- Creamy Mac and Cheese with Butternut Squash
Oh, and for beginners, here’s a quick tutorial on How to Cut and Peel a Butternut Squash. It’s easy, I promise.
Yields: 8 servings | Serving Size: 1/2 cup | Calories: 177 | Total Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 69mg | Carbohydrates: 30g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Protein: 4g | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
- 1 1/4 cups risotto
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups butternut squash, cut into small cubes
- 1 small yellow onion, diced small
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
- 1/4 cup non-fat parmesan cheese, grated
- Place all ingredients, except the butternut squash and parmesan, in the slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or on low for 4 to 5 hours. Add butternut squash the last hour and continue cooking just until the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in the cheese and serve.