Veganuary: Sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts

This is the second post in my vegan recipe week series. You can read more recipes from the series here.

Do you ever start out to cook one thing and end up making something totally different in the end? You have your book or tablet with tonight’s dinner recipe looking up and you. You start assembling ingredients from the cupboards and gathering up all the utensils you’re going to need to cook up a storm.

Then it hits you. You’re missing that one or may be two crucial ingredients that really make the dish. There’s no way you can prepare this recipe without them. You could go out, but it’s already just a little too late, too cold and too dark to head out to the shops. So you take a look at what you do have, what’s in the cupboard and what’s on the list and think for a minute. Then it hits you. You could make something just a little different, something which you aren’t sure whether or not it will work, but sounds good in your head.

We both had the same golden risotto

This Risotto was inspired by a fantastic one Hana had in Italy on our honeymoon.

Sometimes this works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you have total failures, just like I did when I tried to wing a kale pesto recipe recently. The short description of it would be incredibly bitter. Other times, like when Hana made this risotto, it all comes together and you end up with a fantastically moorish meal.

I had planned for Hana to make this Pumpkin farro risotto from the Homemade by you site. It’s served with a homemade pesto, which is stirred through it and gives the final dish a lot of its flavour. The only thing was, though I thought I had lots of garlic in the cupboard, we didn’t.

Squash Risotto

A pumpkin or squash would work even better than the sweet potato we used did.

I’d also had to make a few substitutions at the supermarket, out went the pumpkin and in went squash. No farro? Arborio should do right. Clearly we weren’t going to be having the dinner we intended. Luckily for me Hana is very, very good at winging things and coming up with recipes on the go and she did again by instead cooking us this lovely sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and walnuts.
Risotto, notto
Risotto didn’t used to be something I would like to have that often. In fact rice in general is not something that I used to be keen on having. I’ve always seen it as a poor and very far fourth place carb behind pasta, potatoes and bread.

So when I say that I loved this recipe, as I do any risotto which Hana cooks; you know it isn’t idle praise. I liked the combination textures. The creamy, silky rice and the crunchy chopped nuts and whole seeds. Gorgeous. The leeks and some vermouth in the background help to keep it a classic risotto.

I really liked this recipe because it was something which Hana made up on the spot. I think those are the moments in the kitchen where great or terrible things usually happen, like when I tried to make the pesto as a pasta sauce later in the week!

I don’t have exact quantities or times for things with this recipe as it was made up on the go, so you’d have to do what Hana did and feel your way through as you prepare and cook it.

Sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1.5cm cubes
  • 2 leeks, finely sliced
  • 350g arborio risotto rice
  • 100ml red vermouth
  • Olive oil
  • 1.25 litres vegan/ vegetarian stock from stock cubes
  • Small bag of pumpkin seeds (approx 75g)
  • Small bag of walnuts (approx 75g) chopped


  • Start by preparing all the ingredients as directed above. Preheat the oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / gas 6. Toss the sweet potato chunks some olive oil, enough to coat and then spread them out on a baking tray. Roast for 30 minutes until tender and golden.
  • While the potatoes are cooking, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottom, pan and heat. Toss in the leeks and stir to coat in the olive oil whilst cooking over a medium heat. Cook for around 6 minutes or till soft.
  • Add the risotto rice and the vermouth. Let it sizzle and bubble off most of the alcohol. Keep stirring the rice to prevent it from sticking at this point. Now, gradually, start to add your stock a ladle full at a time making sure that the rice absorbs each ladle full before adding the next. You need to keep stirring slowly and gently at this point. You’re trying to break up the starches on the outer coating of the rice to get that creamy quality later.
  • Once you have added in all the stock you can toss in the potatoes, nuts and seeds. Stir the sweet potato through to break it apart. If you risotto looks too dry you can always add a little more water to keep it from sticking to your pan.
  • Keep gently stirring till you have combined all the ingredients and the nuts and seeds are warmed through.

Serve with some vegetarian or vegan friendly parmesan style cheese, or if not vegan regular parmesan will do nicely too.

Check back tomorrow for the next recipe in my vegan series, Baked sweet potatoes with black bean chilli & lime.

Russell BowesText and photos By Russell Bowes Find me on Google Plus, catch up and message me on Twitter and see more great pictures on Flickr and Instagram. Pin with me on Pintrest.


3 responses to “Veganuary: Sweet potato risotto with pumpkin seeds and chopped walnuts

  1. Pingback: Veganuary: Vegan recipe week | russellskitchen·

  2. Pingback: Veganuary: Veggie Shepherd’s Pie with sweet potato mash | russellskitchen·

  3. Pingback: Valentines day recipes and treats | russellskitchen·

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