Butternut squash risotto topped with crispy tempeh with baked asparagus with toasted walnuts

Butternut squash risotto topped with crispy tempeh with baked asparagus with toasted walnuts.

Simple comfort food packed with veggie vitamins

When I feel like something warm and nourishing risotto always does the job. Whilst the idea of cooking it sometimes puts me off as it can take a while to make,  the process of adding little ladles of stock to the cooking rice forces me to slow down a bit when I am often off buzzing about here and there…perhaps that is actually a good thing! Whilst the risotto is cooking you can cook the asparagus to make a tasty side dish for extra veggie intake, and I also love topping this risotto with a little bit of crispy fried tempeh.

Butternut squash is packed with Vitamin A, B-6,C, E & other goodies such as thiamine, niacin, folate & potassium. Asparagus is also a great source of fiber, folate, vitamins A, C, E & K,and glutathione, a compound which can help to break down carcinogens. So not only does taking the time on this one relaxes the mind a little, it also helps out the body too.

For the risotto:

  • 75g vegan butter- I use Pure spread. Oil will also do
  • 1 red onion finely chopped
  • I medium butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed, diced into chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 litre warm veggie stock
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 2 sprigs sage, leaves picked and finely sliced
  • salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • Optional extra -some rashers of tempeh, my favourite brand is Redwoods Cheatin’ Tempeh Rashers.


  1. Heat a saucepan over a medium heat. Add half the butter, and then the onion and squash chunks and a pinch of salt. Fry this up til onions are translucent and the squash has begun to get a little softer. Add the garlic and cook for 2 more mins.
  2. In a separate pan, warm the stock and half of the sage leaves.
  3. Add the rest of the butter to the onion and squash and then add the pearl barley. Turn up the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn down to medium heat and add a few spoons of the warm stock. Keep stirring and slowly add more spoonfuls of the stock as the risottos absorbs all the liquid. Keep this going for about 25-30 mins until the pearl barley is tender. As you are doing this, you can prepare and cook the baked asparagus. (See below)
  4. In the last few mins fry up the optional tempeh in a pan til a little crispy and cut into little slices. Check on the barley, and if tender, taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve the risotto garnished with the remaining sage and tempeh.

For the baked asparagus:

  • 1 pack of fresh asparagus
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut in small pieces
  • 3 tablespoons walnut oil or 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1⁄2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, toasted


    1. Preheat oven to 300F/150C/ Gas Mark 2
    2. Pop in the walnuts to toast for a few mins whilst prepping the asparagus. Remove the ends of the asparagus by gently snapping them, they will naturally break to where they need to. Once walnuts are toasted pop them to one side for later.
    3. Thin stems are perfect, slice in half those that are thicker and place in a baking dish with a little salt pepper and vegan butter.
    4. Wrap dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. You want to keep a close eye on these veggies so they stay tender and do not dry out.
    5. Make the glaze with the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper whisked together with a fork.

When asparagus is ready spoon on the glaze and then add the walnuts.

All complete – enjoy! Although I’ve been pretty slack on the blog I am a regular on instagram – say hi @katieeatsvegan  xxx

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