Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe

This is a delicious and healthy recipe that combines the nutty, chewy texture of steel-cut oats with the sweet, earthy flavors of butternut squash and kale. It's a hearty dish perfect for the colder months, and a great way to incorporate more whole grains and vegetables into your diet.

Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe

Photos of Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe

Most of the ingredients in this recipe are commonly found in supermarkets. However, you might need to look for steel-cut oats in the grains or cereal aisle if they're not a usual staple in your pantry. They differ from rolled oats due to their minimal processing, providing a chewier texture and nuttier flavor. The butternut squash and kale should be in the produce section, and the dry white wine can be found in the alcohol department.

Ingredients for Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale

Extra-virgin olive oil: Used for sauteeing the vegetables and oat, it adds a rich, fruity note to the risotto.

Red onion: Adds a sweet, mild flavor that complements the butternut squash.

Butternut squash: This adds a sweet, slightly nutty flavor and makes the risotto heartier.

Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.

Red pepper flakes: Adds a kick of heat to the risotto.

Garlic cloves: Provides a robust, aromatic flavor.

Steel-cut oats: The star of our risotto, they create a deliciously chewy and creamy texture.

Kale: Adds a burst of color, nutrition, and a slightly bitter note to balance the sweetness of the squash.

Dry white wine: Used to deglaze the pan and adds a depth of flavor to the risotto.

Water: Serves as the liquid in which the oats cook and become creamy.

Parmesan cheese: Adds a salty, creamy, and slightly nutty flavor to the risotto.

Butter: Adds a rich, creamy finish to the risotto.

Lemon juice: Brightens up the flavors with a hint of acidity.

Black pepper: Adds a bit of heat and enhances the other flavors.

One reader, Harlin Billings says:

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This steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is simply divine, and the texture is so comforting. It's a hearty and healthy dish that's perfect for a cozy night in. I highly recommend trying it out!

Harlin Billings

Mastering the Art of Risotto: Key Techniques

How to sauté the vegetables: Sauté the onion, butternut squash, and kale in olive oil until the onion is translucent and the butternut is mostly tender. This helps to develop the flavors and textures of the vegetables.

How to deglaze the pan: After adding the wine, use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any browned bits that have formed against the bottom of the pan. This helps to incorporate the flavorful browned bits into the dish.

How to simmer the risotto: After adding the water, bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture is very creamy and thick. This allows the oats to cook and absorb the liquid, creating a creamy texture.

How to finish the risotto: After removing the pot from the heat, stir in the parmesan, butter, lemon juice, and black pepper. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

How To Make Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale

No time to make traditional risotto? Oat risotto with butternut squash and kale is a healthier alternative and it’s quicker to make.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour



  • 2tbspextra-virgin olive oil
  • 1medium red onionchopped
  • 1small butternut squashpeeled and diced into 1/2” cubes
  • 1tspsaltdivided, more to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 4garlic clovespressed or minced
  • cupsQuaker Steel-Cut Oats
  • cupskalechopped, ribs removed about 1/2 bunch
  • ½cupdry white wine
  • 6cupswater
  • ozParmesan cheesefreshly grated
  • 2tbspbutter
  • 1tbsplemon juice
  • black pepperfreshly ground, to taste


  1. In a medium Dutch oven or soup pot, warm the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion, butternut, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, for about 8 to 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the butternut is mostly tender.

  2. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the oats and kale and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes until the kale has mostly wilted. 

  3. Add the wine and use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up any browned bits that have formed against the bottom of the pan. Cook, while stirring, for another 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Add the water and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.

  5. Once simmering, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes until the mixture is very creamy and thick. As time goes on, you might need to stir more frequently and reduce the heat to prevent scorching the bottom.

  6. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the Parmesan, butter, lemon juice and several twists of black pepper. Let the risotto rest for 5 minutes before serving.

  7. Once you’re ready to serve, season generously with additional salt and black pepper. Add an extra squeeze of lemon juice if it needs an extra boost of flavor. Divide into bowls and serve.


  • Calories: 236.02kcal
  • Fat: 12.03g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.67g
  • Trans Fat: 0.16g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.31g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.19g
  • Carbohydrates: 24.14g
  • Fiber: 3.78g
  • Sugar: 2.68g
  • Protein: 6.99g
  • Cholesterol: 15.80mg
  • Sodium: 518.93mg
  • Calcium: 164.59mg
  • Potassium: 356.36mg
  • Iron: 1.71mg
  • Vitamin A: 349.77µg
  • Vitamin C: 21.48mg

Pro Tip for Achieving Perfectly Creamy Risotto

When cooking the butternut squash and onion, ensure they are cut into even pieces. This will allow them to cook uniformly and at the same rate, preventing some pieces from being undercooked while others are overcooked. Additionally, when adding the oats and kale, stir frequently to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This will also help the oats to absorb the flavors of the other ingredients, resulting in a more flavorful risotto.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Steel-Cut Oat Risotto

Plan ahead: Pre-chop ingredients, such as onions and butternut squash, to streamline the cooking process.

Multi-task: While the risotto is simmering, use that time to clean and prep other ingredients to save time.

Use pre-cut vegetables: Consider purchasing pre-cut butternut squash and kale to cut down on prep time.

Invest in a good knife: A sharp, quality knife can make chopping and prepping ingredients much quicker and easier.

Organize your workspace: Keep all your ingredients and tools within reach to avoid wasting time searching for items.

Substitute Ingredients For Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe

  • steel-cut oats - Substitute with farro: Farro has a similar chewy texture and nutty flavor, making it a great alternative for the risotto.

  • butternut squash - Substitute with acorn squash: Acorn squash has a similar sweet and nutty flavor, and its texture holds up well when cooked, making it a suitable replacement for butternut squash in the recipe.

  • kale - Substitute with swiss chard: Swiss chard has a similar earthy flavor and hearty texture, making it a good substitute for kale in the risotto recipe.

  • dry white wine - Substitute with vegetable broth: Vegetable broth can add depth of flavor and moisture to the risotto, similar to the function of dry white wine in the original recipe.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with grated pecorino: Pecorino cheese has a similar salty and tangy flavor to parmesan, making it a suitable substitute for adding depth of flavor to the risotto.

  • butter - Substitute with olive oil: Olive oil can provide a rich and smooth texture to the risotto, similar to the function of butter in the original recipe.

Plating Ideas for a Stunning Presentation

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale, focus on creating a visually appealing plate. Use a ring mold to shape the risotto into a neat round, and carefully arrange the butternut squash and kale on top for an elegant and refined presentation.

  2. Garnish with precision: Add a final touch of sophistication by garnishing the dish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. This will not only enhance the flavors but also elevate the overall aesthetic of the dish.

  3. Emphasize color contrast: Pay attention to the color composition on the plate. The vibrant orange of the butternut squash and the deep green of the kale against the creamy risotto create a visually stunning contrast. Ensure that the colors are balanced and visually appealing.

  4. Incorporate texture: Consider adding a textural element to the dish, such as a delicate kale chip or a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds. This will introduce an element of surprise and elevate the overall dining experience.

  5. Focus on symmetry: Arrange the components of the dish with precision, aiming for a balanced and symmetrical presentation. Attention to detail in the plating will demonstrate a high level of culinary finesse.

  6. Highlight the risotto: Make the steel-cut oat risotto the focal point of the plate. Ensure that it is presented in a visually appealing manner, drawing the eye to the creamy texture and rich flavors of the dish.

  7. Use elegant serving ware: Select elegant and sophisticated serving ware that complements the upscale nature of the dish. Consider using fine porcelain plates or minimalist ceramic bowls to showcase the culinary artistry.

  8. Add a touch of greenery: A subtle addition of fresh herbs or microgreens can bring a pop of color and freshness to the presentation, adding a touch of vibrancy to the overall composition.

  9. Create a focal point: Introduce a focal point on the plate, such as a carefully placed butternut squash slice or a drizzle of vibrant balsamic reduction. This will draw attention and create a visually captivating presentation.

  10. Emphasize elegance and simplicity: Strive for an elegant and refined presentation that exudes simplicity. Let the natural beauty of the ingredients shine through, showcasing the dish in a sophisticated and tasteful manner.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making Risotto

  • Medium Dutch oven or soup pot: A heavy-bottomed pot with a lid, used for cooking risotto and other dishes over low heat.
  • Wooden spoon or silicone spatula: Utensils for stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.

Storing and Freezing Instructions for Risotto

  • Let the risotto cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • To reheat, add a splash of water or broth to the risotto and heat it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it's warmed through and creamy.
  • If you want to freeze the risotto, transfer it to a freezer-safe container or resealable plastic bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
  • Freeze the risotto for up to 2-3 months for best quality.
  • To reheat frozen risotto, let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat it in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding a little water or broth as needed to restore its creamy texture.
  • Keep in mind that the texture of the oats and vegetables may change slightly after freezing and reheating, but the flavor should still be delicious.
  • If you plan on freezing the risotto, you might want to undercook the butternut squash and kale slightly, as they will continue to soften when reheated.

How To Reheat Leftover Risotto

  • To reheat leftover steel-cut oat risotto in the microwave, place a single serving in a microwave-safe bowl and add a splash of water or vegetable broth to help loosen the consistency. Cover the bowl with a damp paper towel and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until heated through and creamy.

  • For a stovetop method, place the leftover risotto in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth and stir gently, breaking up any clumps. Cook, stirring frequently, until the risotto is heated through and reaches your desired consistency, about 5-7 minutes. If the risotto becomes too thick, add more liquid as needed.

  • To maintain the vibrant color of the kale and prevent it from becoming overcooked during reheating, you can remove the kale from the leftover risotto before reheating and set it aside. Reheat the risotto using either the microwave or stovetop method, then stir in the reserved kale just before serving.

  • If you have an oven-safe dish, you can also reheat the butternut squash and kale risotto in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place the risotto in a covered baking dish. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth, cover the dish with foil, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Stir the risotto halfway through the reheating process to ensure even heating.

  • Regardless of the reheating method you choose, be sure to taste the reheated steel-cut oat risotto and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may want to add a touch more salt, black pepper, parmesan cheese, or a squeeze of lemon juice to brighten up the flavors before serving.

Interesting Trivia About Steel-Cut Oats

The recipe is a unique twist on traditional risotto, using steel-cut oats instead of rice. This provides a heartier texture and a nuttier flavor to the dish. Additionally, the use of butternut squash and kale adds a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, making it a nutritious meal option. The combination of flavors and textures in this dish creates a satisfying and comforting meal, perfect for a cozy night in.

Budget-Friendly Risotto: Is This Recipe Cost-Effective?

This steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The main ingredients, such as steel-cut oats, butternut squash, and kale, are affordable and nutritious. The addition of garlic, parmesan cheese, and dry white wine adds depth of flavor without significantly increasing the cost. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $15-$20, making it a budget-friendly option. Overall, I would rate this recipe a solid 8 for its affordability and delicious, wholesome ingredients.

Is This Butternut Squash and Kale Risotto Healthy?

The steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale recipe is a nutritious and well-balanced dish. It contains several healthy ingredients:

  • Steel-cut oats: High in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates, which provide sustained energy and promote digestive health
  • Butternut squash: Rich in vitamins A and C, potassium, and fiber, supporting immune function and overall well-being
  • Kale: Packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as antioxidants and fiber, contributing to a healthy diet
  • Olive oil: A healthy source of monounsaturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health
  • Garlic and onion: Contain compounds that may boost immunity and provide anti-inflammatory benefits

However, the recipe also includes some ingredients that, when consumed in excess, may not be as healthy:

  • Parmesan cheese: High in saturated fat and sodium, which can contribute to heart disease and high blood pressure when consumed in large amounts
  • Butter: Also high in saturated fat, which should be consumed in moderation

To make this recipe even healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Reduce the amount of parmesan cheese and butter used, or replace them with lower-fat alternatives like nutritional yeast or a small amount of olive oil
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables in the dish, such as adding more kale or incorporating other nutrient-dense options like spinach or bell peppers
  • Use low-sodium vegetable broth instead of water to enhance flavor without relying on excessive salt
  • Experiment with different whole grains, such as quinoa or farro, to vary the texture and nutritional profile of the dish
  • Serve the risotto with a side salad or additional steamed vegetables to increase the overall nutrient content of the meal

Editor's Take on This Unique Risotto Recipe

The steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale recipe is a delightful twist on traditional risotto, incorporating wholesome ingredients and bold flavors. The combination of butternut squash, kale, and parmesan cheese creates a rich and creamy texture, while the addition of garlic and red pepper flakes adds a subtle kick. The use of steel-cut oats provides a unique and hearty base, making this dish both satisfying and nutritious. The incorporation of white wine and lemon juice adds brightness and depth to the overall flavor profile. This recipe is a wonderful way to elevate a classic dish with a healthy and delicious twist.

Enhance Your Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Roasted Broccoli: Toss broccoli florets with olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper, then roast until crispy and golden brown for a flavorful and healthy side dish.
Honey Glazed Carrots: Sauté carrots in a honey and butter glaze until tender and caramelized, then sprinkle with fresh herbs for a sweet and savory side dish.
Balsamic Grilled Asparagus: Marinate asparagus in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic, then grill until charred and tender for a smoky and tangy side dish.
Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Fries: Coat zucchini sticks in seasoned breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, then bake until crispy and golden for a delicious and addictive side dish.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Loved This Risotto

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup: This creamy tomato basil soup is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for a cozy night in. The combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy texture will leave you wanting more.
Balsamic Glazed Chicken: This balsamic glazed chicken recipe is a delicious and savory dish that is perfect for a family dinner or a special occasion. The tangy balsamic glaze pairs perfectly with the tender and juicy chicken, creating a mouthwatering meal.
Mixed Berry Crisp: This mixed berry crisp is a delightful and sweet dessert that is bursting with the flavors of fresh berries and a crispy oat topping. It's the perfect way to enjoy the abundance of summer berries in a simple and delicious dessert.

Appetizer and Dessert Ideas to Complement This Dish

Savory Stuffed Mushrooms: Create a mouthwatering appetizer by stuffing mushrooms with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Bake until golden and crispy for a delicious start to any meal.
Crispy Zucchini Fritters: Whip up a batch of crispy zucchini fritters for a light and tasty appetizer. Serve with a side of tangy dipping sauce for an extra burst of flavor.
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a velvety smooth and rich chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth after a delicious meal.
Berry Tart: Enjoy a flaky, buttery tart crust filled with a luscious pastry cream and topped with an assortment of fresh, juicy berries. This elegant dessert is a delightful way to end any dinner party.

Why trust this Steel-Cut Oat Risotto with Butternut Squash and Kale Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful twist on traditional risotto, incorporating wholesome steel-cut oats for a hearty and nutritious base. The combination of butternut squash and kale adds a vibrant array of flavors and textures, while the addition of parmesan cheese and butter lends a rich and creamy finish. The use of white wine infuses depth and complexity, elevating the dish to a gourmet level. With careful attention to detail and a focus on creating a luscious, satisfying dish, this recipe promises a delightful culinary experience that users can trust and enjoy.

Want to share your experience making this steel-cut oat risotto with butternut squash and kale? Head over to the Recipe Sharing section of our forum and join the conversation!
Can I use regular oats instead of steel-cut oats for this recipe?
Yes, you can use regular oats, but the texture and cooking time will be different. Steel-cut oats provide a chewier texture and take longer to cook, so you may need to adjust the cooking time and liquid amounts if using regular oats.
Can I substitute the butternut squash with a different type of squash?
Absolutely! You can use other types of squash such as acorn squash or kabocha squash if you prefer. Just be mindful that different squashes may have varying levels of sweetness and moisture content, which can affect the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
Can I make this recipe vegan?
Yes, you can easily make this recipe vegan by using vegetable broth instead of water, and substituting the parmesan cheese with a vegan alternative. You can also use a plant-based butter or omit it altogether. The flavors will still be delicious and satisfying.
Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?
Certainly! This dish reheats well, so you can make it ahead of time and reheat it when you're ready to serve. Just be sure to store it properly in an airtight container in the refrigerator. You may need to add a splash of water or broth when reheating to restore the creamy consistency.
Can I add other vegetables to this risotto?
Absolutely! Feel free to get creative with your vegetable choices. Mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, or even asparagus would be delightful additions to this risotto. Just be mindful of the cooking times for the additional vegetables and adjust as needed.

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