Farro Risotto with Walnut Cream and Roasted Butternut Squash

Close-up shot of a butternut squash farro risotto.

Post sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill. See below for more details.

There’s nothing quite like a comforting bowl of risotto. There are endless seasonal flavors and thanks to a myriad of whole grains, many bases you can use. A creamy, vegan risotto is within reach thanks to help from a bit of farro and an easy walnut cream sauce.

Whole Grain Risottos

Traditionally, risottos are made with arborio rice. This variety of rice has a high level of starch which translates into a creamy risotto everyone knows and loves. However, it’s rare I have arborio rice on hand. This has led to a lot of exploration into whole grain risottos.

Whole grains, such as spelt, farro, and einkorn work well after they’ve been cracked slightly. By cracking the grains, a small bit of flour forms which simulates the creaminess of the arborio rice.

Alternatively, pearled grains like barley and farro work without the cracking. These are whole grains that have had some of the outer layer removed which means they aren’t true whole grains, but are still delicious!

Farro for everything!

For this risotto, I’m using Bob’s Red Mill Farro. This pearled farro makes for a delightful warm and creamy risotto. Farro does take a bit of time to cook but if I’m using it in salads or grain bowls, I’ll make a large batch ahead of time. Farro holds shape and texture well even a few days after cooking.

Beyond risottos, I like to use farro in hearty salads, grain bowls, and even vegetable bakes. Try this cheesy zucchini bake, Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Pecan Vinaigrette, or as a base for this Berbere Chickpeas and Chard.

What’s with Walnut Cream?

Beyond just the arborio rice, risotto’s creaminess often comes from a bit of added cheese. However, it doesn’t always have to be this way. For this farro risotto, I’ve swapped cheese for an easy to make walnut cream sauce.

This cream sauce is a lot like the ever-popular cashew version. I love using walnuts, though, for their unique flavor. It’s the perfect fall treat and butternut squash companion. Best of all, walnuts softer texture purees into a lovely smooth cream sauce.

Squash or Sweet Potatoes

Finally, if you’re not in the mood to tackle peeling butternut squash, there are alternatives. Swap butternut squash for sweet potatoes, carrots, or another variety of squash that doesn’t peeled, like delicata. All of these work well with a good farro risotto.

Side-angle shot of farro risotto with roasted butternut squash.

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Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week. continue reading

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