Risotto is a rice dish that cooks rice slowly in broth to create a creamy, porridge-like consistency.
Traditionally, risotto is cooked with white wine and cheese and flavored with saffron.
Butternut squash risotto is a variation that incorporates the taste of butternut squash.
This version of risotto has a rich, sweet flavor and creamy texture, making it the perfect comfort food for the winter months.
Unlike other types of risotto, butternut squash risotto does not have any meat or seafood in it, making it a vegetarian dish that can also be vegan if made with a plant-based broth rather than chicken stock.
You can add a sunny-side-up egg on top for a little extra protein if desired.
When it comes to side dishes, the possibilities are endless.
Popular choices for risotto include asparagus and artichokes, which can also be served with butternut squash risotto.
In this article, we will be serving butternut squash risotto with a selection of our favorite side dishes for this dish.
Why Consider Serving Side Dishes for Butternut Squash Risotto?
As a warm and comforting meal, risotto is a great option for the fall and winter months.
It’s usually served as a main dish, but chefs worldwide find creative ways to make risotto more versatile.
One of these options is to serve it in addition to side dishes – an interesting way to try something new.
Here are some pointers to help you make the most of this interesting combination.
Risotto is great because it tastes great but can also be paired with many dishes to match your unique taste preferences.
Risotto is slightly creamy and salty – two flavors that go well with many side dishes.
This is because the flavor focus in risotto is the risotto itself, and side dishes like vegetables and meats can be added to it to make the most of its neutrality.
When you pair risotto with side dishes, it’s important to think about the textures.
Different combinations of foods can result in different textures on your plate.
What to Serve with Butternut Squash Risotto – 8 BEST Side Dishes
Here are some side dishes to try with butternut squash risotto:
1 – Sauteed Spinach
As a green vegetable, spinach adds a nice bit of color.
It also makes for a healthy option.
But the best benefit that spinach has is that it’s very easy to cook.
You have to simmer it for a few minutes until it’s soft, and you can eat it as a side salad, a main dish, or even as a dip.
If you decide to serve your dish with spinach, use fresh spinach instead of frozen.
This way, you’ll get the freshest vegetables with the best flavor combination.
2 – Seared Scallops
Scallops are a great seafood option with butternut risotto.
First of all, scallops are very similar to the texture of risotto – they both have a creamy feel.
Plus, scallops have an amazing taste with just a hint of saltiness that goes well with most vegetables and meats.
Seared is another cooking method that gets a lot of use in the culinary world.
The goal is to create a brown crust on the outside while retaining as much moisture as possible inside.
This way, you’ll have perfectly-cooked scallops with a tasty exterior and tender center – something any risotto lover would want.
When using scallops for this recipe, make sure to get fresh ones.
You can usually leave them overnight in a bowl of cold water, so they’ll be ready when you want your side dish prepared.
3 – Caprese Salad
A very popular option is to combine risotto with a Caprese Salad, which contains mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil.
This is a Mediterranean-style dish, and it’s great for pairing with butternut squash risotto.
Think about how butternut squash already tastes: creamy and sweet.
Now imagine adding the smooth taste of mozzarella cheese, the tanginess of tomatoes, and the delicate flavor of basil.
Combining this salad with risotto will create a unique combination that’s perfect if you’re planning on hosting an Italian-themed dinner night for friends or family members.
4 – Pea and Mint Soup
Pea and mint soup is a great option if you want a cold dish to accompany your hot risotto.
It’s also something with a strong flavor so that it can stand on its own as a meal or side dish.
This soup recipe uses frozen peas, which means you don’t have to wait for them to be in season before you can enjoy a bowl of them.
The simplest way to make this dish? Just add your frozen peas and fresh mint to water, cook it for an hour, and blend.
You can also add some salt or sugar to the cooking process if you think it lacks flavor.
5 – Walnut Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables, which means they have cancer-fighting nutrients.
But they also taste great.
They’re easy to make, too.
To prepare this side dish, you’ll only need oil, salt, and pepper.
You can also add walnuts for some crunch – or make this recipe even healthier with bacon bits or other meats instead of walnuts.
Just cook your Brussels sprouts in a pan with a bit of oil until they’re crispy, then sprinkle some salt and pepper.
That’s all you need to make this side dish.
6 – Roasted Corn Salad
This roasted corn salad is another great option.
No matter the season, you’ll be able to get fresh corn on the cob.
The best thing about this salad is that it has a lot of fiber and protein – which means you can eat it as both a side dish and a main course if you want to.
We bet that you already have all the ingredients in your kitchen.
If not, most grocery stores sell corn on the cob.
You have to cut it up into little pieces and then toss it with some oil, salt, and pepper before roasting it at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
7 – Grilled Fish Filet
If you want something with seafood, you could always have a grilled fish filet instead.
Grilled fish is one of the healthiest options because it’s usually baked with just a tiny bit of oil – if any at all – so you can get all the savory flavors without worrying about your waistline or cholesterol levels.
Another great thing about this side dish is that it’s quick to prepare.
All you have to do is oil the fish with a coating of olive oil or butter, then grill it for about 10 minutes on each side.
Then, cut it into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle some salt on top.
8 – Cauliflower Salad
A great side dish to serve with risotto is cauliflower salad.
Even though they might sound similar, the two dishes don’t taste very much alike, so that they can complement each other well.
Cauliflower salad has a mild flavor that won’t overpower your entree and comes together quickly and easily, even if you’re throwing dinner together at the last minute.
You can prepare a cauliflower salad by mixing mayonnaise, salt, and pepper.
Then, you’ll need to chop up the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and mix it with your dressing until all the florets are coated.
Serve this fresh dish as an accompaniment to your butternut squash risotto for a light dinner that you can enjoy before your dessert.
Butternut squash risotto is a great food to pair with many of these dishes.
However, you’ll also find that it goes well with many other options on the list.
You don’t have to stick just one particular dish if you want to pair your risotto with something more unique.
The important thing is to make sure that it tastes good.
So try new options if the ones on this list don’t sound appealing – or use them as inspiration for your recipe.