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  • Ilene Cohen

Vegetarian Brown Rice Pumpkin Risotto

Happy Fall! Tis the season of pumpkin spice latte, right? Why not also celebrate with this pumpkin risotto. I made it with organic puréed pumpkin, organic low-sodium vegetable broth, a mushroom mix from the supermarket, and shredded zucchini. This risotto tasted like fall in a dish! It was delicious and nutritious, providing an array of nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium, and thiamin.

Because this meal is primarily carbohydrate, it's important to eat the proper portion size of about 1/2-1 cup, especially if you are managing your weight or diabetes. This would go great with a 3 oz piece of chicken breast, and a large serving of a salad. If you are on the elimination fodmap diet, like many of my patients, I recommend using chicken broth instead of veggie broth (or a low-fodmap veggie broth you can order online), and eliminating mushrooms and onion (and maybe adding in scallions and kale or another leafy green). Puréed butternut squash would also be a great substitute for the pumpkin purée if need be!

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size


  • 1 1/2 cups short grain brown rice

  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped

  • 10 oz mushrooms of your choice (I had a mix of shitake & button), sliced

  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)

  • 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree (or 1 1/2 cup pureed, cooked pumpkin)

  • 1 small zucchini, 1 small yellow squash, shredded

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. In a medium pot, bring the rice and 3-4 cups of water to a boil. Let boil for 15 minutes, strain and set aside. This is called "parboiling." This lessens the cook time of the brown rice risotto.

  2. In a small pot, heat the broth so it is consistently hot but not boiling.

  3. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook until the onions become translucent, about 5-7 minutes.

  4. Add the parboiled rice and stir for about 1 minute to coat with onion and mushroom mixture.

  5. Add the wine, and stir continuously until the liquid has absorbed and the wine has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes.

  6. Add 1/3 cup of the warm broth the rice mixture at a time, and stir continuously until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat this process several times, until the mixture becomes creamy, and most or all of the broth is used. Periodically taste the rice to check the texture. If it is hard and undercooked, continue adding broth. Add water if you use up all the broth. Note that brown rice has more substance than regular risotto rice, which would normally become pretty mushy.

  7. Once the broth has been absorbed, add the pumpkin, zucchini & yellow squash, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine, then continue stirring until the mixture has thickened a little and reached the desired texture, about 5-10 minutes depending on preference.

  8. Remove risotto from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, plate, and top with the shredded parmesan.

If you are not the biggest mushroom fan, I would suggest using about 5 oz of mushrooms as opposed to 10oz.


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