LexKook is a delightful culinary initiative founded by a passionate 16-year-old chef, B.T — a Minuteman senior with a remarkable flair for the culinary arts. The series is inspired by her volunteer work with LexEatTogether, and by her mother, also a chef.

Embark on a culinary journey with my Vegan Pumpkin Risotto, a delightful holiday twist on the Italian classic rooted in centuries of tradition. As the festive season unfolds, harness the comforting essence of pumpkin to craft a dish that marries sweetness, creaminess, and health. Originating from the lush fields of Arborio rice, this plant-based adaptation embraces the rich cultural heritage of risotto while infusing it with a contemporary and compassionate touch. Join me in celebrating the joy of the holidays with a dish that captures the essence of tradition, health, and the global flavors that make this pumpkin risotto an unforgettable addition to your seasonal festivities.

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  • Arborio Rice (¾ cup)
  • Raw pumpkin (½ cup)
  • Vegetable Broth (2 cups)
  • Wine (¼ cup) *Optional*
  • Homemade Vegetable Broth:
  • Water (2 ½ cups)
  • Carrot (½ cup)
  • White Radish(½ cup)
  • Onion (⅓ )
  • Peppercorns
  • Cinnamon (Optional) 
  • Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary)
  • Garlic (2 cloves)
  • Mushroom (½ cups )
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. If you’ve got store-bought vegetable stock, lucky you! Skip ahead; if not, let’s embark on crafting a homemade version. Feel free to toss in any sweet and sturdy veggie scraps you fancy.
  2. Begin by chunking up your carrots and radishes. For a nicer broth hue and an extra layer of taste, roast your onions and carrots at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
  3. Now, into a pot goes your water, radishes, onions, carrots, herbs, peppercorns, and a tablespoon of salt. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer on low for 50 minutes.
  4. While that simmers away, let’s deal with the pumpkin. If raw, slice it into wedges, slice away the skin, then dice it up.
  5. Heat a pan with oil on medium heat, toss in chopped garlic and raw pumpkin: saute for 5 minutes. Sauteing your pumpkin, as opposed to roasting, better preserves its inherent sweetness.
  6. Pour in ¼ cup of your simmered vegetable stock, cover, and let it steam for 10 minutes or until the pumpkin is fork tender.
  7. With the pumpkin tender, blend it into a puree – this golden concoction will be our secret weapon later.
  8. Onto the mushrooms – a quick flash fry in a hot pan with oil for 3 minutes rids them of excess moisture, ensuring our risotto doesn’t turn watery.
  9. Rinse your rice thoroughly and toss it into a pan with oil. Give it a toast over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Feeling adventurous? Add a splash of wine; if not, two ladles of your simmered veggie stock will do the trick.
  10. Let the rice dance in the stock until just a hint of liquid remains, usually around 3 minutes. Stir occasionally, ensuring every grain is cooked. When you scrape your pan, there should be a slow flow of rice and liquid as it fills up the empty area.
  11. Repeat the ladle-and-cook cycle until your stock is depleted. Don’t panic if the rice isn’t fully cooked yet; here’s where our creamy pumpkin steps in. Add it to the pan and let it cook for an additional 3-5 minutes or until your desired creaminess is achieved.
  12. Once the symphony is harmonized, season to taste with salt and pepper, introduce the mushrooms, give it all a gentle stir.
  13.  Serve and savor every aromatic, flavorful bite!

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